This post was originally written several months ago, as a Note on facebook.
I am SO angry!
I just got finished searching the VAERS system. I was trying to make sure my daughter’s reaction to the DTaP vaccine was reported. Our family doctor convinced me (against my better judgment) that Rachel needed a tetanus booster after she was bitten by a Brown Recluse spider and developed MRSA at the site. I was in that place where so many parents find themselves when we are scared about our kids and pressured into doing something we “know” in our guts we should not do, but feel panicked because we are so afraid of what might happen if we don’t follow the doctor’s orders. As much as I know and as much as I have written about vaccines, when it came down to the wire, I STILL had that little voice in my head that said, “What if I’m wrong?” As tough as I am, I caved.
Three hours after the vaccine (Adacel, made by Sanofi Pasteur), Rachel had a grand-mal seizure, during which she fell off her bed, her eyes rolled back in her head and she stopped breathing as I held her head in my hands. I thought she was dead. Thank God our neighbor is a fireman and heard the 911 call. He was there in less than 60 seconds and the ambulance was there in less than three minutes. Fortunately, she regained consiousness and after a few hours in the emergency room she was released and we returned home.
I called our doctor’s office from the ambulance and DEMANDED that they file a report with VAERS, documenting the vaccine reaction. That was in May of 2009.
A couple of months ago I called Dr. Lee’s office to follow up and make sure the report had been filed. I was told there was no record of it in her file and when I pressed the issue, was told that since we did not return to Dr. Lee’s office for treatment after the reaction occurred, it was the responsibility of the physician at the hospital (Deaconess Gateway in Newburgh) to make the report. Well, I just went through the VAERS system and no report was ever made by them, either.
It’s there now, because I just did it.
After filing the report myself, I called VAERS and spoke to a woman named Brittany. I asked Brittany, “Since it is the law for physicians to report serious adverse reactions, including those listed in the manufacturer’s insert as indications against future vaccination (this includes seizures), what are the penalties for physicians who fail to report?”
Guess what? According to Brittany (“we don’t give out our last names”) “There is NO PENALTY specified in the law for providers who fail to report vaccine reactions.”
Pardon me, but WTF????
If there is NO PENALTY, then it’s NOT A LAW, it’s just a suggestion.
This needs to change!
No wonder only one out of ten (or one out of 100?) vaccine reactions gets reported.
Oh, and guess who I have to call to find out further information about the specifics of the law?
Here is the list of MANDATORY REPORTING EVENTS:
If you or your child has suffered a vaccine reaction, (get the manufacturer’s insert here: http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/package_inserts.htm ) YOU MUST REPORT IT! If we don’t do this, it is not going to be done.
If you have reported a reaction to your doctor, please check the VAERS data base to make sure it’s there, and if it isn’t, do it yourself. If you’re not sure what vaccines your child reacted to, call your doctor and find out – they have the records. You need the vaccine type and manufacturer. Lot number helps but it’s not necessary.