Parenting

My Child Had A Legit Vaccine Reaction — Don't Use Her As An Excuse To Be An Anti-Vaxxer

Updated: 
Originally Published: 
fizkes/Shutterstock

We have multiple children, all of whom are vaccinated. We opted to spread out their vaccines, just in case any of them caused a reaction. After all, it would be easier to pinpoint which vaccine caused the reaction if we spread out the kids’ vaccine schedule. This turned out to be unnecessary — until it wasn’t.

Our baby, our last child, received two vaccines at her eighteen-month vaccine appointment. Within a day, she was having an all-out reaction. She had a fever, head-to-toe rash, was fussy, and vomited several times. It was rough, for her and for me.

Before I share more of her story, I want you to know that I’m not anti-vax. I believe in modern medicine, in ethical scientific studies, and research. Some think that when my baby had her reaction, I would flip the switch, joining the anti-vax crew. I didn’t. Now with Covid, with all our eligible family members vaccinated, I’m feeling really salty about anti-vaxxers using people like my child, people who have had legit vaccine reactions, as their antidotal excuse not to get vaccinated against Covid.

Listen, we all know that vaccines have potential side effects. These side effects are easily found on any vaccine brand’s website, government sites like the FDA and CDC, and on pediatrician websites, too. Vaccines are not without risk. Newsflash: nothing in life is without risk.

We have learned from the CDC that mRNA vaccines, those by Pfizer and Moderna, have caused some cases of myocarditis, mostly in teen and young adult males, shortly after they’ve been vaccinated. Another potential side effect comes from the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. According to the CDC, they’ve seen cases of “thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)” in “adult women younger than 50 years old.” Though these are reported to be rare cases, they still happened. And just like I don’t want anyone discounting my daughter’s vaccine reaction, I absolutely won’t discount these individuals’ experiences. Their situations are valid. Behind the numbers are real people.

I also won’t attempt to minimize the stories of others who, like us, had a child who had a legitimate vaccine reaction. Vaccines are made of many ingredients. It’s always possible that a person who receives a vaccine may have a reaction. Children who have been vaccine-injured have my deepest empathy.

However: When our best scientists and medical professionals are imploring the masses who haven’t had a previous vaccine reaction to get vaccinated, to help protect their health and the health of others, as well as to stop our medical system from completely crumbling, I cannot deal with them using people like my child as their excuse.

First, it just doesn’t make any sense. Another person’s reaction has nothing to do with the possibility of having your own—especially when you have no biological relation. Second, the benefits of the vaccines far outweigh the risks when you don’t have a personal history of vaccine reaction.

The very reason I’m writing this article anonymously is because I won’t let someone on the Internet use me or my daughter’s name as their excuse. Keep us out of it. We aren’t your poster people for anti-vaccine rhetoric.

The absolute worst anti-vaxxers are my fellow Christians. The Bible is clear that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. How is it “loving thy neighbor” to pretend we’re not in the midst of a pandemic? Protesting masks, refusing the vaccine, and ignoring social distancing recommendations is simply anti-God, in my humble opinion.

I also question if those who refuse the vaccine will then go to the hospital when they are deathly ill with Covid. Will they just sit at home and breathe in essential oil fumes and pray? I know. I’ve heard it all. We should just let our immune systems work the way God intended. This comes from the same people wolfing down drive-thru, overindulging in alcohol, and refusing to exercise. I guess they think God will just magically redeem them from anything, no matter how dumb and unhealthy their choices are. Insert eye roll.

There are people in our society who legitimately cannot get vaccinated. There are also people in our society, such as some people with a disability, who cannot wear a mask. This means that the rest of us need to suck it up, do our part, and protect “the least of these.”

When my daughter had her reaction, we spent years (yes, years) in and out of medical offices to untangle the puzzle of what, exactly, she reacted to in the vaccine. We are actually still in the process of figuring this out. We’re checking titers for the illnesses she was getting vaccinated against. We’ve done allergy testing, and we’ve seen an immunologist and dermatologist. Yes, this has taken a lot of time, money, and effort. However, I’m committed to my child, to her health, and to our entire family. Therefore, I’m doing what is necessary.

So when someone who is anti-vax pipes up that they aren’t getting “the jab” because there’s a chance they could have a severe reaction or an irreversible side effect, I sigh (loudly.) Again, it is always possible that any of us could experience minor, moderate, or major side effects from a vaccination. This is also true of a medication, a supplement, a food, an environmental toxin, or anything else. Unless there’s “proof in the pudding,” meaning, they’ve had a past vaccine severe reaction (as the CDC has emphasized), their argument is just pathetic. It’s also, quite frankly, infuriating.

I’d love for more people who can get vaccinated to do so in order to protect those who truly cannot—those like my daughter. I wish they’d use less of their time and energy spewing misinformation and parroting QANON nonsense and instead, have some common sense. Instead, I’d love for them to show up for those who need our collective protection and care.

I’ve simply not heard any person—especially not any medical professional—say that vaccines are 100% safe. That simply wouldn’t be scientific. There are some—few—people who have reactions. They are the minority, but they certainly still matter. That said, they—like my child—aren’t up for anti-vaccine tokenism. Do your part, people. We’re all sick of (pun intended) the pandemic. Let’s get out of this mess … together.

This article was originally published on