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Allergic to pertussis vaccine and PCN. Should still proceed with other vaccinations ?

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Hi, just need some advice regarding immunizations for our three year old boy. He has only had his first set of shots. He had those at two months and had a moderate adverse reaction to what was suspected to be the pertussis vaccine. My husband is 100% against vaccines. I was 100% for them until I saw the reaction myself which was the typical high pitched screaming for three hours after recieving his vaccines. Since then he has not had any others. I myself am a healthcare worker and feel adequately trained to recognize an adverse reaction though our physician and others we have consulted all still want to give the pertussis vaccine to our boy again. We are refusing it. However, after much anguish and research, we are going to go ahead with other vaccines. There is very little information I have found once a person alters from the fixed schedule. Now that he is three, I would like to know what is still necessary since he has passed many of the most XXXXXXX times for some of the diseases that the vaccines would prevent. We also have a younger child of nine months, but she is being fully vaccinated and has had no issues with it. Our three year old also had a reaction to PCN and in general tends to be more sensitive to medications. His health overall is good. No diseases or chronic issues. Just some cold or flu symptoms occasionally. We have no problem getting medical treatment, but I feel the advice to give a substance that he has reacted to before could very well create a worse reaction next time. Your advice would be appreciated. Thanks
Posted Wed, 18 Apr 2012 in Vaccinations
Answered by Dr. Taher Kagalwala 10 hours later
Thanks for the query.

I congratulate you on electing to give vaccines to your older boy, even if late. Better late than never.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, on its web-site WWW.WWWW.WW gives guidelines on vaccinating children who are brought at a later date than the usual.

I believe that your child developed the reaction against the WHOLE cell pertussis DTP(diptheria,pertussis,polio) vaccine, because the ACELLULAR DTaP vaccine rarely if ever causes high fever and severe reactions as the reaction causing cell-wall of the killed pertussis bacilli has been removed from the acellular DTaP.

You should probably have taken the DTaP after the first incident of reactions, in which case, there would not have been the severe reactions you saw the first time, and so much heartache would have been avoided.

Now, no vaccine can guarantee 100% efficacy and 0% side-effects, as also, there is no guarantee that an unvaccinated child WILL have ALL the diseases that vaccines can prevent, so it is always the decision of well-informed parents that guides the child's life! Hence, please stop feeling guilty or complacent about not giving or choosing to give vaccines or any other medications to your child(ren).

You have indeed hit the nail on the head when you write " I would like to know what is still necessary since he has passed many of the most XXXXXXX times for some of the diseases that the vaccines would prevent."

It is true that all the missed vaccines are no longer needed as he has passed the age for potentially XXXXXXX infections caused by some of the bacteria against which vaccines are currently available and licensed/recommended for use.

In addition, lack of safety data will make certain other vaccines "un-giveable" at this age, for example, the rota-virus vaccine, which is only licensed for use below the age of 6 months.

Having said this, here, then, are the vaccines that you may still be able to give to your 3 year old son:

MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) - 1 shot now and 1 at 5 years
Chicken pox - 1 shot now and 1 more after a minimum gap of 3 months
Hepatitis A - 1 shot now, and the next between 6-12 months after the first one
Hepatitis B - 1 shot now, 1 after a month and a third after 6 months from the date of the first shot
Influenza (seasonal) - 2 shots this year, and 1 shot each year thereafter
Booster of DTaP - 1 shot
Injectable Polio vaccine - 3 shots, spaced 2 months apart

In tropical countries, we also give a Typhoid vaccine at 2 years, but I don't think that is recommended by the AAP in the US.

I hope I have answered your question satisfactorily. If you have any follow-up queries, please feel free to ask them to me.

With best wishes,

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