I Called the Health Department on My Own Kids

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Parenting is hard stuff.

Balancing baby’s needs and new mommy’s needs is hard, figuring out when to start feeding solid food and what kind is hard, watching a child get sick is hard.

Deciding on boundaries is hard, using consistent discipline is hard, facing down a stubborn 4-year-old who is screaming at the top of her lungs in the library is hard.

Getting up in the middle of the night – five times in an hour – is hard, finding regular prayer/homework/piano practice/chore time is hard, and making the kids do all their responsibilities consistently is hard too.

Hugs and kisses from my favorite 2-year-old seems to make all the hard stuff melt into a puddle in my heart, but that doesn’t diminish the real fact that parenthood is packed with difficult decisions, and even with all the research in the world, there is often not a clear-cut ideal answer.

When to let our 8-year-old start the Harry Potter series? Watch Star Wars? Have his own tablet or laptop?

How to get a 5-year-old dressed for church when she only wants to wear holey jeans and a tank top in 43F weather? To teach her how to hold a pencil properly? To make sure she’s in bed early enough for her temperament without it seeming like a punishment every day?

What to say to a toddler who screams his head off every time Mommy leaves the house? How to get him to keep his bib on or lean more effectively? And whether to put toxins and animal proteins directly into his bloodstream or risk debilitating and sometimes fatal diseases, not only for his little body but for the rest of society, including weak souls we don’t even know?

No, bibs aren’t on the same order of magnitude as vaccinations. Parenting is challenging and taxing both on a day-to-day mundane basis and in a big-life-decision way, mostly because there’s rarely a black-and-white issue to be found. (top photo source)

What to Bet on Your Child’s Life?

Both sides are a gamble. We hate casinos and never go to Vegas, but we’re stuck with this life-changing decision, having to weigh the statistics and ultimately, take a leap of faith.

To vaccinate or  not to vaccinate?

We look at each vaccine as an individual decision, because we’re weighing the severity of the disease being vaccinated against plus the chance we might contract it with the severity and frequency of vaccine side effects and injuries, all on the backdrop of the child’s age and immunity and complicated by the question of the good of society vs. the good of my child. (And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.)

We had to weigh how awful whooping cough is, for example, with potential issues that can arise because of vaccines. An egg allergy or autism or Crohn’s Disease would be as much of a pain in the butt (and more) as whooping cough, every day, for the rest of our child’s life.

At least whooping cough has an end. For us. But we also have to remember that although we feel like we played roulette and lost, we really landed somewhere in the middle. If our child was the one in four who ended up in the hospital, or the 1 in 100 of those kids who died…clearly there is more to lose than just sleep and clean clothing.

But it’s not even as black and white as that.

The Vaccine Decisions and Indecisions

When we’re making our vaccine decisions at the Kimball house, we (parents) sit down with information, statistics about the disease, the vaccine, etc. the week of the child’s well checkup. (Okay, it’s usually the night before at 10 p.m. I said parenting was hard!)

One of our main sources was The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears. Finding reputable sources is next to impossible on this issue, because it seems like so many of the studies done were funded by vaccine companies and many of the major voices in the debate have a money trail as well. I can’t keep up, I really can’t.

But I never really thought to mistrust the statistics…until my own kids got whooping cough.

I said in the other parts of my whooping cough story that I never called the doctor because we were too far into the disease for antibiotics to be of any help, but that wasn’t entirely true.

I actually did call our pediatrician’s office when I first diagnosed my kids to ask them if there was anything we should do, particularly as far as notifying people who might need to count things like this, and even more importantly, what to do about any vaccination shots we had been considering for the 2-year well child checkup, at which time he would still be fighting the 100 Days Cough.

I was told that we could talk with the doctor when we got there.

(I was actually trying to ask if we should start the Vaccishield vaccine preparation immune-boosting powder we had on hand, and the nurse did not understand what I was going for, after repeated attempts to explain. I guess no one has prepared for vaccines before, or at least didn’t talk about it. I figure that since John was regularly taking a pretty high-potency probiotic that it would have to be enough.)

No one in the office seemed to think that having an active case of whooping cough was a good reason not to get a vaccination. (Looking back, this seems a bit ridiculous. We postponed vaccines at the 12-month checkup because of a cold, but we let the little guy get a shot when he had whooping cough. I have some buyer’s remorse on that one…Parenting is hard!)

When we sat down with our notes from The Vaccine Book and some selective Internet searches to touch on unaddressed issues, we decided that diphtheria or tetanus (maybe both) were the most important shots to receive.

Can you see the irony coming here?

That’s right: diphtheria and tetanus are bundled up with pertussis – whooping cough. The one shot we needed least of all. Not at all.

I can’t even remember why we chose those vaccines over others, and why we decided we should start right then and there in spite of the current pertussis infection.

Is that awful? No, I don’t think so – I don’t remember why I chose certain classes in college or exactly what it was that made me sure I wanted to marry my husband, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t important decisions.

We don’t take our children’s health lightly, but our research on vaccines is always “just in time learning.” We learn what we need to know when we need to know it. We write down some of it to refer to later, and we seem to promptly forget the rest.

But we made an informed decision to the best of our sleep-deprived, emotionally charged ability while in the midst of the family battle with pertussis.

Am I going to look up our notes so I can explain our decision to you?

Surprisingly, no.

I do a lot of teaching here at Kitchen Stewardship, but this time, I’m opting out. This whole series is just an invitation to walk with me, to observe.

I just don’t know enough to teach much of anything about vaccines, which is why the only time in almost five years of blogging vaccines have been addressed here was wayyyyy back in 2009 when I did a series on aluminum.

I do read a lot about vaccines in between checkups too, but it seems that there’s always a conflicting study to everything, so I read, I bookmark, and I move on.

The Statistics Game

The real problem is that I don’t trust statistics one whit anymore, not after my experience with the health department. And statistics are the only thing upon which parents can really base their decisions.

In Michigan for 2013, whooping cough statistics are slightly more accurate than they would have been without this kitchen steward making some phone calls.

I was shocked and a bit disconcerted when my doctor’s office said they weren’t going to report our cases of whooping cough to anyone who keeps statistics.

My wheels started turning – if my kids aren’t going to be counted, then there must be hundreds, maybe thousands, of others who also had whooping cough who were not on the registered list, the one statistics are pulled from:

  • all the kids whose parents recognized the cough but didn’t need/want medical intervention, like me
  • all those with mild cases, especially without the “whoop,” who thought they just had a wicked cold and didn’t know what was going on
  • and now that I’m reading the comments on the other two posts, all the kids and adults who were misdiagnosed with bronchitis or other infections, in part because people don’t expect whooping cough, since “there’s a vaccination for that.” I’ve also heard from dozens of people who know people who were fully vaccinated and got whooping cough anyway, by the way.

Statistics say that about 50% of cases don’t have the “whoop” sound, making it harder to diagnose now that doctors don’t always have experience with the other symptoms of whooping cough. Of course, that stat could be off too. *eye roll*

I decided that someone had to stand up for accurate statistics, and of course, you all would expect me to do the right thing. So I did.

I called the health department to report my own kids’ cases of whooping cough, since the doctors wouldn’t do it.

It was a bit of an awkward start to the conversation, but the lady I was talking to soon complimented me on how much I knew about the disease and we ended up having a very enjoyable and enlightening chat. I shared my kids’ names, ages, vaccine schedules and symptoms, along with our neighbor, who I’m quite sure we infected.

I spoke about the public situations my oldest son had been in where he may have contracted whooping cough: his school, summer camp, etc.

I shared a lot of information for the health department’s records so they could attempt to track any potential outbreak and so that the statistics were four kids more accurate.

I also received some information, and this is what the health department said:’

“We know it’s [whooping cough] underdiagnosed and we know the tests aren’t all that accurate. We use clinical symptoms – vomiting, turning blue, cough over two weeks. Transmission rate within a family is high. Also in a community, in daycares.

If they were in school or daycare at the time (it was summer so they weren’t), the child would have to take antibiotics in order to be allowed back. Whooping cough can take up to 21 days to transmit.

The vaccinations are not fully effective—we’d like to think they all are, but they’re not. Pertussis might be one of the worst as far as effectiveness.

Our kids meet a “probable case” as per government definition, so even though they weren’t lab-proven, they will be counted in the stats.


Should I throw a victory party?

I don’t really feel like celebrating. The experience just cemented for me how little I can trust any statistics on health. If many mild and misdiagnosed cases aren’t counted, it skews the statistics in key directions:

  • It makes whooping cough seem more severe than it really is, since many of the mild cases probably aren’t in the total number. If current statistics say 1 in 4 toddlers with whooping cough are hospitalized, it’s possible that number should really be 1 in 40, or 1 in 80.
  • It makes vaccines seem more effective than they are: “Look how few people get this disease!” When really, plenty of people probably have gotten it and didn’t even know it.
  • It makes the world more dangerous for babies. The point of the pertussis vaccine is to protect babies under 6 months who can’t really be vaccinated (the first 2 months at least) and who are most likely to perish from complications. Here’s the thing – if whooping cough is so underdiagnosed and under-reported, aren’t there lots of people walking around with bad colds who actually have whooping cough, who are probably exposing little babies to the disease? Partly perhaps because of the vaccine’s existence, we are less equipped as a society because we aren’t looking for whooping cough. We think it can’t get us – a sort of “mental herd immunity” if you will. Besides, if the symptoms are lessened by vaccinations, as the CDC states, I would think adults would be more likely to be out and about exposing everyone else, since their cough and cold won’t seem as severe as they would expect with anything more than “just a cold.”

If 1 in 100 known cases die, sure, that’s scary. But for every 100 cases we know about and have counted, how many hundreds of people actually had the disease and didn’t have a clue? Or did know but simply weren’t included in the statistics?

That alone makes the disease seem both more and less scary – more because a whole bunch more people actually get it that we’re not expecting, so it’s actually more prevalent than we think. But less scary because that means plenty of people have mild cases and that one in 100 is really one in some much bigger number.

Are Vaccine Injuries Real?

If the accurate reporting of whooping cough is a moving target, try vaccine injuries. It’s almost impossible for me to believe any statistic about what happens to kids after vaccines, because I know they have to be missing so many data points.

The hype is there, but not the research. There’s no one to pay for it, so parents are left wondering:

  • Do vaccines cause autism? Can they be in the least a contributing player, a causal factor? Dr. Wakefield’s studies have been called into question so harshly that I don’t know if I’ll ever find a source on that question that I trust, but I know there are a lot of parents out there whose intuition tells them their child was a victim of a vaccine injury that put them on the autism spectrum.

    As someone who had negative amounts of intuition before I became a mother but now have a few poignant moments where mine kicked in, I cannot discount those stories.

  • Are vaccines linked to food allergies? Putting egg protein directly into the bloodstream might be a little problem…
  • Do vaccines depress the immune system, making the person more susceptible to asthma or autoimmune diseases, etc.?
  • Is there a risk of aluminum toxicity with vaccines?
  • Do vaccines impact the child’s growing brain?
  • Vaccines DO sometimes contain aborted fetal stem cells, which for us as pro-life Catholics, IS finally a black-and-white issue. We won’t allow those vaccines or certain brands of vaccines to be on the table when making our decisions.


Is “Immunity” Real?

Whether you get immunity to whooping cough from a vaccine or from living through the disease, like my kids, there’s still a chance you could contract it again (higher for vaccinated kids than those with natural immunity). Still – I wish I could at least say that we have the silver lining of knowing our kids will never get whooping cough again, but there’s no guarantee.

We keep wondering why my husband and I didn’t get whooping cough. Our vaccines should have long worn off by now!

My theory is that we probably were exposed to pertussis at some point in our teenage or adult lives, had a horrible cough that we thought would never end, and then eventually it did, not leaving a lasting enough impression for it to be in our memories. How else could we have been coughed on, shared food (before we knew what was going on) and caught so much vomit without contracting the disease?

That many parents probably don’t realize that with vaccines they’re only lessening their children’s chances of contracting a disease like whooping cough, not preventing it entirely, is a travesty. So many make the vaccine decisions without doing their own research, and it’s really a shame.

Is Herd Immunity Real?

The British doc from whom we learned a lot on our initial forays into whooping cough information says that the only prevention for whooping cough is vaccines, and that about 80-90% of kids have to be vaccinated to give infants any sort of protection. (Note that the benefit of herd immunity is conferred onto the weak population.)

Many will say that for similar reasons as I mentioned above (the vaccine not working very reliably, for example), herd immunity is no more than a figment of the imagination. It is true that cases of whooping cough have decreased dramatically since the advent of the vaccine, but I’d like to see statistics about how many babies dies in percentages of those who contracted it. (Oh, drat – I don’t trust statistics anymore!)

I’m guessing that we have to take into account medicinal advances and technological feats, plus an understanding of the importance of basic hand-washing. Correlation is not necessarily causation.

But the fact remains that many signs point to the fact that babies are safer if more children are vaccinated in the population at large.

What might Catholic social teaching say about the altruistic sacrifice for other babies? It’s human nature to preserve our OWN young, but perhaps it’s not the Christian way. Are Christian parents called to think outside their own families, to risk the health of their own children for the potential good of the society as a whole, to protect the most vulnerable, the newborns?

On the other hand, our neighbors, who are fully vaccinated, clearly caught the bacteria from my oldest son. So they should be totally dangerous to a young baby, even though they also subjected themselves to the vaccine.

There are no guarantees.

An Unbiased Expert

My husband and I don’t have time to exhaustively research every decision we have to make as parents. Every time we read something, we can find the opposite, and the time it would take to determine “legitimate” and “trustworthy” sources extends as well, since it’s almost impossible to find studies not funded by a group with an interest in the outcome.

We have trouble trusting any old doctor, since it seems that there is so much Big Money in the medical field these days. The medical community should be the ones doing authentic research, reading about it and sharing that news with us – it’s their job. And yet here we are, amateur researchers, just parents on the Internet, trying to come to complicated medical solutions because we have no idea who to trust.

It’s frustrating beyond belief, and it’s why I’ve written thousands of words on whooping cough this week and have practically nothing to show for it.

Did we question our decision to selectively vaccinate our kids when we were in the throes of whooping cough? Absolutely!

Did we have a terrible time deciding what to do about the 2-year checkup and if John should receive a vax, and if so, which one? Horrible time.

Do we know what direction we want to take the vaccination question as our kids get older, or even what we’d do in an instant if we’re blessed with another newborn?

You might think that after my raw, emotional story of what whooping cough was like for our family and then how scary it was to think of possibly infecting others, that I would be pro-vaccination. Certainly I wouldn’t want a baby of mine to have that horrible cough, right?

Not so.

I am pretty firm that I don’t like putting toxins into a baby’s bloodstream before they’re one. I don’t know how I feel about that phase between one and two. And I don’t have a clue if I’d get the pertussis shot next go round.

Since all my big kids have had whooping cough already – a newborn should be supremely safe in our house, to be honest.

So really, the only thing I know about vaccines is that they make parenting even harder than it already was.

They embody one more difficult, confusing decision with no good answer. Either you’re willingly putting something in your child’s body that doesn’t belong there, that may or may not protect them and others around them from a horrible disease and that may or may not hurt them for life – or you’re opting out, risking disease (again), potentially throwing herd immunity out of balance, getting the snake eye from every school secretary in the world and many friends and family, and still sitting there wondering if you did the right thing.

Everywhere you look, you’ll find a different answer and different numbers and opinions.

Vaccines make me mad, quite frankly, and I hate thinking about or writing about them.

The math is impossible because of all the “what ifs.”

The bottom line is that you have to make an informed decision. You have to do some research.

If you’re going to opt out of a given vaccine, you have to imagine GETTING the disease and embrace that, be ready for it, own it. If you’re going to get a certain vaccine, you should read up on vaccine injuries and make sure you’re willing to accept (and be on the lookout for) those.

And then you have to gamble, and just choose something, hopefully after prayerful discernment.

In the long run, it might not matter anyway.

You can’t protect them from everything.

Yes…Parenting is hard stuff.

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85 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. Amanda says

    Thank you for your honesty. Your experience is one that needs to be shared.
    I do want to point out that herd immunity does not actually come from vaccines – the theory of herd immunity is from people exposed to and naturally immune to disease (such as your family with pertussis now). I am very concerned about the increase in pertussis cases, and even more concerned that the medical fields only response is: get the vaccine. Well, I don’t think the vaccine has been working! Yet they will not admit that’s a problem, they’re too prideful to look to other solutions.
    So glad you and your family are doing better.

    • Carrie says

      Thanks, Amanda, for pointing out that herd immunity has only ever been observed in those who are NOT vaccinated. The idea of herd immunity among the vaccinated is a complete fallacy that the medical establishment likes to trot out without any basis in fact. My guess is that Katie’s children, like my son, were infected with a VACCINE STRAIN OF PERTUSSIS, and not a wild strain. If we all had the money to test our children so that we could procure the evidence that proves that most of what goes around today is vaccine-induced illness, not natural wild strains of the various childhood illnesses, I believe it would be one of the final nails in the coffin that vaccines should all be thrown into. Vaccine theory is flawed, which is why it does not work. It’s all about the body terrain, not the invading germ… And we are all responsible for our own health, so if we allow ourselves to grow a crummy immune system, the fault lies with us, not the germ floating around or anyone else around us who’s carrying it. I realize that some – the elderly, infants, the infirm – have less control over their healthy functionality, but vaccinating people around them is not the answer. Everyone should look at the statistics that prove out that when mass populations are vaccinated in a given area there will be numerous people infected and ill afterward… Childhood diseases function to strengthen a child’s immune system – just as when we lift weights to strengthen a muscle… We can all use homeopathy, herbs, and immune-strengthening foods to combat everything out there, courtesy of God, to gently assist the body to do its job to heal us.

  2. Ozana says


    Just to let you know, I found myself nodding approvingly while reading your post.

    I don’t know if you saw my comment on the previous post. I want to talk about homeopathy and vaccines. Note that I am not a homeopath, just an enthusiast.
    1. homeopathy can help manage all the diseases that we have vaccines for
    2. homeopathy can help strengthen the immune system and make it more susceptible to the diseases we have vaccines for. This is called homeoprophylaxis. I am considering this for my children. Links: http://www.homstudy.net/Research/index.html
    3. Homeopathy can help clear out the (bad) effects of vaccines, this also helps children that are on the autistic spectrum. This is CEASE therapy: http://www.cease-therapy.com


      • Ozana says

        I wouldn’t have known anything about homeopathy if I wouldn’t have search for a naturopath half year ago – and that was inspired by one of your posts! Homeopathy is truly amazing and I plan to study to become a homeopath (I am currently a SAHM with a PhD in computer science 😀 )
        There is a wonderful group on Facebook for parents interested in natural health. It’s so nice to have people throw information and research at you when you are asking for it! Let me know if you want to join, I will give you the link, it’s an open group. It’s UK based, but hey, it’s the same language even if people say brilliant and lovely instead of awesome and nice :p .

    • says

      Excellent comment. I too am a strong backer of homeopathy. I’ve been studying it in an online course with Joette Calabrese. It’s a course designed for MOMS to take the health of their families into their own hands via homeopath It’s awesome. The course is called Drug Free Family or something of that nature.

      I literally own the prophylaxis for whooping cough and influenza. SO important to use and know how to use. Also, I strongly feel that the more one learns about homeopathy, the better able they will be able to kick disease before it gets worse (if it is contracted). I had a pretty serious strep throat that was completely reversed via homeopathy. So here are some little pieces of advice as far as whooping cough goes:
      1. If my friend’s kids had whooping cough, I would immediately give all my kids pertussinum, one dose every other month (odd months). On the even month, I would give them 3 doses of the pertussinum throughout one day. I would do this pattern until the threat of whooping cough had passed.
      2. If my kids did contract whooping cough, I have a whole homeopathic regimen I would ensue to help them. I can’t explain it all here, but I learned it from my online course from Joette. But I will say that right as symptoms appear, I would give my kids Aconite 30 twice a day for the first 24-48 hours. Many time this remedy (which helps one handle a shock to the system like the onset of an illness, for example, or a burn on the skin), will abort the illness before it even gets work.
      Homeopathy is seriously awesome, and it is so worthwhile to learn everything there is to know about it!

  3. Carrie de says

    Lots of food for thought. Thank you or sharing your unfortunate experience with us. I hope your posts are met with open minds and sympathy. Parenting is indeed hard stuff.

  4. Val says


    thank you so much for this post. We also find vaccines to be one of the most difficult decisions we make for our young children. Thank you so much for your honesty in this series, for being real about the wrestling through the decisions and about the fact that there are no easy or risk-free solutions.

    All we can do, in the end, is our best and ask God to bless and protect, right?

    anyway, thanks again!

  5. Laura says

    After reading the Vaccine Safety Manual, I learned there are a lot of words we use synonymously that are not synonymous: vaccination, immunization, inoculation. Vaccines vaccinate, small pox was the only inoculation that I can recall right now, and immunization is the process of becoming immune: vaccines (as a general rule) do NOT do this.
    You are not immune from a disease by the vaccine, only by actually getting the disease, and usually only against the actual strain of the disease which you acquired. (Many diseases have multiple strains and even vaccines do not protect against all strains of any disease with multiple known strains.) Therefore, like Amanda said, there is NO herd immunity with vaccines.
    And furthermore with all the vaccines that they are discovering need boosters after 5-10 years, even if there was herd immunity with them, the vast majority of the population would not have been covered for years and most for decades.

  6. Cherie says

    Katie, I really appreciate you taking the time to write these articles. For those of us who have similar stories it is an emotional relief to read of your journey and identify. In retrospect I am glad that we have experienced this disease, and were successful in developing immunity while surviving. With a 6 week old going into it there were times, after not sleeping for almost a week, that I didn’t know if we were going to make it. We are not one of the statistics you see. My vaccinated teenager got it first from a friend who had been diagnosed with bronchitis. Then our 4 little ones and then Mom and Dad (vaccinated)! I am still glad that though that we were able to experience this. We have done our part to develop herd immunity. My daughters and myself, if blessed with babies will be able to protect them through our breastmilk. That was something I couldn’t do for my baby because the immunizations are effecting this real herd immunity. I also learned what to do. Vitamin C at saturation levels is amazing and quick. If this was practised at the hospitals I do not believe we would see infant mortality from pertussis. A homeopathic pellet “drosera” cured by 2 year old with one dose, but not the others. Chestnut Leaf helped alot too. There was a learning curve for me that doesn’t need to be there. This information should be readily available through the medical community. Dr Suzanne Humphries has done her part in a well written article the vaccination council has published on their website. When I found this information the whole process of the disease turned around. I now had the tools not only to cope but to triumph. God puts people, situations and knowledge in our lives. He does supply our needs. We only need to recognize this. His way is supreme and in His system of immunity I will trust. And through the judgements of the untrusting I will walk…

  7. shannon says

    Thank you again so very much for this series. We have chosen to not vaccinate our children, for now, though I have never felt 100% confident in that decision. I am opposed to all vaccines that were created with aborted fetal “tissue” so that ruled a few out for us. Then, I researched some into herd immunity and certainly questioned that then too. When talking vaccines with others, I am often surprised at those who take a real staunch position on either side though I certainly respect those who have made that decision and done their research. This issue is just a little gray to me so I appreciate your sharing your story. It has made me want to look up some new information as it’s been awhile since I cracked open a book about vaccines.

  8. Jen says

    I have never read a post that so accurately reflects my sentiments. I agree wholeheartedly. After two years of researching and grasping for unbiased research and TRUTH in this matter, I, too, have landed on the fact that it is a calculated risk either way. We can only research, decide whom and what we trust, and pray that we are making the best decision for our families. Such a tough parenting decision, indeed. This is why I believe it is so important that parents maintain the right to choose. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this.

  9. Vanessa says

    Thank you for this. I have 3 young children: 4, 2, and 5 months. And personally I too have fund the vaccine debate to be the hardest issue of parenting so far. I have opted to do an alternative schedule, which is what I’ve been most comfortable with. But the honest truth is I’m not comfortable giving vaccines, and I’m not comfortable NOT giving them. It is such a hard decision. And I too have been so frustrated with the information out there. There is way too much conflicting information and not enough reliable sources. Thank you for sharing your experience. I love that you are so real and honest. Thank you.

  10. Jessica says

    Thank you. This might be the most thorough thing I’ve ever read on vaccines. I never thought before your previous article and comments about vaccines causing the disease (although pertussis vaccine is dead, so doesn’t seem likely I guess) but since almost all cases of pertussis seem to be at the beginning of the school year, right after everyone’s gotten their boosters, it seems like something for me to think about. That’s when we got our case last year. But who knows. That’s when all colds start too just because of all the little germy ones getting together.

    Thanks again. this is a great resource, even though you don’t necessarily come to conclusions (I never do either). My son has a severe nut allergy, and it makes his life threatened on a daily basis. Since the childhood diseases don’t threaten us on a daily basis I have to choose in favor of no vaccines, even if there’s a chance that they are related to allergy cause/trigger/risk. I wish there were more reliable science to show these things.

    • Laurel says

      I understood the vaccine doesn’t cause the disease directly, but can lower immunity (dead virus plus all the additives shot directly into the blood stream.) Plus there is some controversy as to whether pertussis is adapting and changing, which makes me think it might be similar to antibiotic resistance. Not sure, but either way doesn’t sound like it’s doing it’s job.

  11. Maryanne says

    I have followed this story with a great amount of interest. I am a retired nurse and last year got very ill and was diagnosed with bronchitis, pneumonia and strep throat. What started it all was a cold with violent coughing spells and all of the other symptoms of ‘whooping cough’. I was never tested and really didn’t even consider pertussis as a diagnosis! Obviously, neither did my doctor….I even ended up in the hospital with a diagnosis of severe bronchitis! As I read your story, I realized that indeed what I had was indeed whooping cough. The 100 day cough was the clencher! Wow! I am 63 and it really laid me really low for months! Because I worked as a Trauma nurse and because the doctor didn’t seem alarmed, pertussis just wasn’t on my radar and I am certainly feeling a bit embarrassed to admit how totally clueless I was!

    I have never taken flu shots or vaccines and was seriously debating with myself whether or not to change my thoughts on that due to how sick I was last year. Everyone, and I mean everyone that knew how sick I was, played the “You should have gotten the flu shot and the pneumonia vaccine ” card and some had the attitude that I only had myself to blame for getting sick.

    Thank you for writing your account of your experience with whooping cough and the children! I can only imagine how hard that time was for you and how much you and your husband agonize over the vaccination issues. It is very hard being a parent, but the Lord blesses you with wisdom and discernment and strength to do you best. That is all He asks – that you do your best — and it appears you are! Blessings!

    • says

      I, too, had my family come down with whooping cough and didn’t realize it until I read this series. I kept statistics that year on my calender of how many days that we had to miss activities due to illness and found that somebody was sick 80% of the time. The good news is that we stayed home most of that time.

      Actually I had a doctor who tried to diagnose us with whooping cough, but I didn’t believe him since I knew that we never heard a “whoop” sound. I brought my daughter into a children’s hospital since she was coughing until she passed out. After numerous tests in both the neurological department and the pulmonary department, they told me that she was just holding her breath, and she probably had caught whooping cough 2 months before that. Feeling humbled now

  12. BeccaM says

    So true. We can’t, in our own strength, prevent our kids from everything. (Sometimes I wish we could!) But we have a heavenly Father that we can trust, that provides us with wisdom and discernment for our individual situations, if we yield to His direction for our lives. That’s the only thing that can bring us peace in this very messed up world!

    We considered the whooping cough vaccine for our now almost 3 year old son this spring, since we had our second newborn son in the house at that point also. But we just didn’t feel that the benefits outweighed the negatives. And there are so many “ifs” related to vaccines…. Will they even prevent the illness? Will it actually suppress their immune system so that they can’t fight off disease? Will it introduce foreign bodies and proteins into their blood stream and cause food allergies, etc… I personally had all my shots on the typical medical schedule (I am 24 years old) and I have a lot of food sensitivities and intolerances, which cause me fatigue and migraines and other frustrating symptoms. Were they the fault of the shots? Probably not completely, but certainly they may have contributed.

    We are open to certain vaccines for our kids if we feel a specific one is right for our family, but so far neither of our two boys have received a single shot.

    Statistics and information on health topics (particularly vaccinations) can frustrate me too. It’s because there is no clear and logical answer. It’s not black and white. I guess it’s a good opportunity to learn to trust God even more for our well being and our future! :-)

  13. says

    I never gave it a 2nd thought about getting vaccines for my kids. I guess we’re the lucky ones? All 3 are healthy, with amazing immune systems (we’re talking a 6th grader that’s missed less than 5 days of school-EVER), & no allergies or complications. All are very intelligent & two have been recognized as gifted through school (youngest is too young to tell still). It never occurred to me that my kids might end up with complications or anything seriously wrong with them. I thought I was protecting them. So I guess I need to thank God for getting “good” vaccines & genetics to go with them!?

  14. says

    I have been pondering on your posts, wondering how often we have had whooping cough in our family or circle of friends, but haven’t recognized it. There always seems to be someone who has had a cough for three months and just can’t shake it.

    And as far as the statistics go – you are absolutely right. My son had an adverse reaction to his one-year MMR shot. We talked to the health authority about it. We talked to the doctor about it. No one was willing to take any action on it (retrospectively, he should have been hospitalized, had a CT scan, etc.) because he did not have a high fever. But according to the research that I did when he was 6 years and due for his MMR booster, something like 20% of cases of meningalencephalitis caused by the MMR vaccine are “aseptic” or have no fever.

    We did go in, and he had his Dpt shot, but I refused the MMR, explaining about his previous reaction. The health nurse was very good about it. She called me back a couple of days later and informed me that she had checked our vaccines reaction database (like VAERS in the USA) and his reaction had never been recorded, even though I had reported it both to the health authority and the doctor. She asked if she could have my permission to enter it retroactively.

    Did you know that *any* illness following a vaccination is supposed to be reported as an adverse reaction? I don’t remember the qualifications – seven days to six weeks following the vaccination? Or maybe only up to 30 days? And if any child shows up in the emergency room with an illness, the parents should be asked when their last vaccination was?

    As it is, only the most acute cases get reported on the database, and sometimes not even then. Various lots of MMR vaccine are pulled off of the market when there is a sudden influx of six years old in the emergency room with encephalitis. It is the six year olds that they count, because the one year olds generally aren’t able to communicate clearly what is wrong. They are just deemed to be “irritable” or “have a virus”. The public health nurse actually laughed at me and demanded to know how I knew my one year old had a headache a week after the vax. Poor thing was holding his head and crying “ow, ow, ow”.

    And think about it – 95% of six year olds are supposed to be immune already. The six year old booster is just to catch the 5% who didn’t develop immunity after the first shot. 95% of six year olds should have no adverse reaction.

    Remember that these vaccinations are live viruses. We are intentionally giving our children a mild form of the disease in the hopes that they will develop immunity and not get a severe case of the disease. Forget for the moment about any other chemicals or agents in the vaccine. We are intentionally giving our child measles, mumps, and rubella all at the same time. Go look up the symptoms of those diseases. Then go look up the common adverse reactions to the vaccine. Those adverse reactions are not an allergic reaction to the vax, they are the symptoms of a mild case of the disease.

    Now go look up the possible long-term effects of the diseases. And the possible long-term effects of individual adverse reactions like encephalitis. Forget autism for a moment and just look at the possible results of measles, mumps, and rubella. Yes, we are trying to prevent our children from getting a bad case of the diseases. And I am not anti-vaccine. But know what it is you are doing. Understand that you are making them sick in hopes that they won’t get really sick. But they could still have permanent damage or die. Make sure that adverse effects get recorded. You can record them on VAERS yourself. Let’s insist that the stats be properly tracked. How can anyone be expected to make an informed decision with the stats as skewed as they are?

  15. Andrea says

    Thank you for this article! We are in the midst of this debate ourselves. The school has given us 2 weeks to have the vaccines done or my son will not be allowed back in school. We have the option of religious exemption in our state and I consider the definition of that as broadly as possible. While I still am not sure what we’ll do, your article helped me realize we are not alone and there is no perfect answer.

  16. says

    I hear you about underreporting. When I was a kid, I had a severe cough for months and my aunt (who is a nurse) said it sounded like pertussis, but my mom said we were all fully vaccinated so it couldn’t be that. Years later, after I’d left home, my younger siblings all had a horrible cough — my mom was up with one or another of the four of them at night for weeks. I heard them coughing on the phone and was horrified at the hacking, gagging, and whooping. But when I suggested it might be whooping cough, my mom dismissed the idea because there hadn’t been any outbreaks in her area. She even had my grandma over for an extended stay! I didn’t know what to say.

    The bright side of this is that if many cases go unreported, than a smaller percentage of cases are serious than previously thought. But the dark side is that if people assume they don’t have it, they’ll be spreading it because they assume it’s just a cold.

  17. Melanie L says

    Thank you for your insights. I really hate the way our medical community is balanced in this country. It always seems to be about gaining a huge reputation through whatever means possible; not necessarily about improving the lives of those in our society. We are just numbers, and if we question the normal, it’s nearly impossible to get answers. As far as vaccinations go, it is SO hard to make informed decisions because it is a gamble either way you choose. For me, the chances of an adverse effect to a vaccine are almost always preferable to the chance of contracting a disease.

  18. Carrie says

    Thanks again for a thoughtful grappling with the issue – even if there are no easy answers. I wanted to add one more note on the concerns for fetal-tissue vaccines. As you mentioned, some people question whether injecting people with egg products can affect their allergies. In fact, similar concerns have been raised about the fetal-tissue-based vaccines.

    Even for those who aren’t concerned about these vaccines’ provenance (or believe the cooperation with the evil of abortion in this case is sufficiently remote to make them ethically useable), there is the questions whether the human tissue in the vaccines and our response to it might be causing the autism and other problems associated with vaccine usage. Sound Choice Pharmaceuticals, a company promoting fetal-tissue-free products, has an overview of some of the research: http://soundchoice.org/autism/.

  19. Amy says

    Thanks Katie for this series…..it is helpful to hear a first hand account of making these difficult decisions and the gamble it is. We always struggle when it comes time for the check-up about what to do. Sadly, I was one of those parents who just blindly did whatever you were supposed to do, without knowing why, so we had all the shots done up until she was 15 months. We are still waiting on the MMRV…maybe forever?? Anyway…I appreciated your perspective and I am so sorry that your family had to go through whooping cough!

  20. Karen says

    I think our perceptions of how serious the risks are has a lot to do with personal experience. I got every vaccine that was offered as a child. I have zero allergies, no chronic illnesses, and no neurological problems. Perhaps I am an anomaly. I was bottle fed and graduated summa cum laude. I grew up on typical American food and have never had a weight problem. Back to vaccines, I never even knew it was such a hot topic. I never questioned if they were safe because they were safe for me. I thought the only danger involved would be an anaphylactic reaction, which is rare. I thought I was doing my boys right by making sure they got all their shots on time and filled out their little cards. Thankfully, both seem very healthy but now I wonder if I did the right thing. My 18 month old has received 25 injections over his lifetime. Seems like a lot. I will definitely be looking at this issue from both angles before doing their boosters down the road.

    • says

      Me too, really! I had all my shots, bottle fed, fairly standard american food (Crisco, skim milk, sugar, etc). Some people just get through it (or there are some goodies waiting for us as we age, who knows) but also the shots are much more numerous for our kids’ generation and the environment, I think, has more bullets to dodge too. :) Katie

  21. Hannah says

    Thank you for this series of posts. Having read it, I think you’ve confirmed the suspicions that I already had: we had whooping cough go through our family this summer, too. In fact, it was almost exactly the same time frame. The two-year-old came down with it in June; almost three weeks later, my six-month-old and I came down with it, and about a week after us, my husband finally succumbed.

    Fortunately for us, we did not experience any vomiting, and the only one who went to the doctor for symptoms was the six-month-old. After almost a month of the cough, and a raspy sound that wouldn’t go away, I ended up taking him in with concerns about pneumonia, simply because he was not very mobile, and I was worried about phlegm buildup in his lungs. When I took him in, I commented that I didn’t think it was croup (not barky) or whooping cough (no whoop), but that I was concerned about pneumonia. They didn’t contradict me; they didn’t inform me that in 50% of the cases, -there is no whoop-. He didn’t cough while we were there (oh yeah, there’s that “long time between coughing fits” part). They didn’t test him for anything.

    They just gave him a nebulizer treatment while I was there, and sent me home with a nebulizer, a couple of packets of albuterol, and a prescription for more if we needed it. I think I ended up using the nebulizer two times during the night with him, to no real effect.

    Eventually, it faded away – after weeks. All four of us contracted it; I was the only one who escaped it without any cough at all. (Then again, I was also the only one willing to take fermented cod liver oil, for what that’s worth.) I was fully vaccinated as a child, my husband was vaccinated for tetanus and thus, also for pertussis, as a child, and neither of my children have been vaccinated. Of the four of us, the two-year-old had the longest-lasting cough, but he also probably has the weakest immune system of all of us, so.

    Add us to the lack of statistics, I suppose. Thanks again for sharing this. At the very least I think we can be comforted by the idea that we have gained some immunity for ourselves for down the road, and that perhaps any newborns in my future will get passive immunity from my breast milk, now that I’ve had it.

  22. Emily R. says

    What a fantastic article. I look forward to reading the comments soon. I appreciated all that you said. I like your closing thought that if we don’t vaccinate, we need to own it if you get the disease. Same for not getting the vaccination. I was just talking with my chiropractor about this, realizing I was questioning my decisions not to vax (4.5 and nearly 2 yo) when I thought one might have contracted pertussis a couple years ago. I freaked out! I have a new baby coming soon and I talked to the doctor about getting the older kids vaccinated to help protect the little one, esp since the oldest is in preschool. I kept dragging my feet out of fear and now even if I do get them vaccinated, it they won’t get the last dose until the baby is a month old. I realize I parented a lot out of fear when my first was born and I kind of just stuck with a lot of those decisions with the second. I get gung ho about research and then all the overwhelming (conflicting) info just overwhelms me and I slowly grind to a halt. I will take this to prayer tonight and really look for guidance. Thank you.

  23. Jenny says

    Me too. Fully vaccinated but whooping cough at 35. Didn’t know it til my boss got it 6 years later and had an older doctor that recognized it. Truly you don’t see what your not Looking for. I was vaccinated therefore I could not have whooping cough. No one else in my family got it. But, since I didn’t know it I spread it. Has really, really, really made me wonder about Any statistics put out, especially about vaccines, drugs, side effects, etc. So if the.stats aren’t right, how do we know or trust Any of it is right, harm, deaths, incidences, any of it. One thing I do know whether admitted or not, there seems more health , emotional, physical and mental problem in our young, prolly should include to about 40. I don’t need government statistics. Its right before my eyes, if I want to see it. Thank you for this series. It truly is a Parents choice. By the way, I’m a Christian and I do Not believe I’m asked nor would I expect anyone to sacrifice their child for mine or me, nor would I return the favor. I’ll be held accountable? Maybe. I’ll take the chance. I care but I’m Not Sacrificing My Children Or Grandchildren for anyone. That we would think that as Christian, in my opinion, is sick. My ancestors didn’t and neither am I. Wonder what my great grandparents would have said about that one. I can guess.

  24. says

    Two of my children got whooping cough at the same time. One vaxed, one not.

    If I had it to do over again, I’d not have gotten any vaccinations for any of them.

  25. MammaJ says

    I am a long time follower of KS, but have felt uneasy about several points in this blog series. I am sorry you had to go through this ordeal, vaccinated or not. You did make mention in this last post about the potential link between vaccinations and autism. I feel that on a platform of your magnitude, it is downright irresponsible to perpetuate this myth which has no basis in actual scientific evidence. I see you made mention to the questionability of the original case study, but you failed to mention the man who initially made the claim linking the two has since come out admitting he made it all up. Mom’s intuition is all well and good, but it is not evidence. In fact, there currently is NO evidence linking the two. I understand that there are many reasons a mom may choose to skip or spread out vaccinations, but given the actual scientific evidence, I don’t think the threat of causing autism should be one of them. For what it is worth, my DH works in special education, keeps up on all if the research, and does not remotely believe there to be a correlation. In fact, studies show signs of autism can be recognized as early as 2 months old, long before many parents have given any or all vaccinations to their babies. I also have a dear friend who is a former chemist for a major pharmaceutical company, who has nothing to gain from his views, who understands the components used. He reminds me often that the once the individual components are grouped together, the chemistry changes, ( like separate ingredients in a cake) and it becomes unfair to judge their individual effects on the human body.

    I personally enjoy when you report to us about your summaries of various reliable sources, rather than pose questions for us to answer based on speculation. I miss those old posts, but understand you are trying your best. Thanks!

    • says

      Thanks for reading! It’s always fun to hear from long time readers…and I do understand that it can be more helpful to have super thorough research and come to a conclusion, but on this issue, I just didn’t have it in me. Everything I learn is going to be contradicted anyway, it feels like.

      I love this: when ” individual components are grouped together, the chemistry changes, ( like separate ingredients in a cake) and it becomes unfair to judge their individual effects on the human body.”

      Certainly I have a lot to learn about vaccines, but for now, I’m among the questioners. Thanks for putting up with me! :) Katie

      • Carrie says

        Hi Katie: I am suprised and disappointed that MammaJ would suggest that it is “downright irresponsible to perpetuate this myth which has no basis in actual scientific evidence” when there has NEVER been ANY evidence proffered by the scientific community that vaccines work AND that they are not harmful. Of course there is none to offer because it does not exist. “Mom’s intuition” may not be evidence in her book, but the truth of her experience sure is – mothers know their children and they know if their previously healthy, normal, neuro-typical child changed after vaccines. Flour, sugar, milk and eggs are not toxic, and though we would not eat them separately in the state in which they get thrown into the bowl, they do yield something wonderful when combined and cooked. But I find it ludicrous that anyone would say that combining several toxic things together (toxic from the start, unlike flour, sugar, etc.) and injecting it into the body just might yield something non-toxic. That is utterly absurd. You cannot expect a good result when you assault the immune system with toxic material never intended to be in the human body, particularly in the bloodstream. Trust God to give you the answer, to refine you into the beautiful mother he created you to be (and so obviously already are), and to hold your family in the palm of His might hand. You did the right thing, as did I, based on the knowledge you/I had of pertussis at the time your kids/my son got ill. We can’t unring the bell; we can only be honest about our actions before God to the full extent of our consciousness and ability. Your transparency about all of this is a gift, and I believe it is wholly appropriate for what your work at Kitchen Stewardship is all about.

        • says

          We also need to bust the myth that those of us who choose to vaccinate do so under some bizarre conviction that our kids cannot/will not get sick. I *do* believe that unvaccinated children are typically healthier overall than vaccinated children, because their immune systems are more *balanced*. But I do not for a moment believe that my children cannot get whooping cough, or measles, or whatever. My decision to not vaccinate is not based on that kind of delusion. I simply believe that the chances that my child will come down with one of these illnesses *and suffer severe life-long or life-ending side effects from it* do not reasonably balance the harm the vaccine itself is likely to do to my child. The biggest difference is that vaccine damage is usually more of a chronic effect that we either don’t see right away or don’t recognize as tied to the vaccine. (All kinds of autoimmune diseases are *known* to be connected to some vaccinations; how many more *probably* are that we just haven’t made the connections to yet?)

  26. says

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I like your comment about how vaccinations make you mad, and I quite agree. Making vaccination decisions has definitely stressed this mama out, and I would definitely prefer not to have something else that makes parenting any more difficult!

    I don’t know if you have read these articles about vaccines, but I have found them to be very informative. The first is about the myth of herd immunity: http://gianelloni.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/the-myth-of-herd-immunity/

    This next one is a fascinating history of vaccines:

    I have also read How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, written by pediatrician Robert S. Mendelsohn M.D. It’s an older book, but full of great information about specific vaccines. He actually states that the pertussis vax is one of the more dangerous vaccines!

    So glad your family is feeling better! Many blessings to you all!

      • Stephanie says

        I so sincerely appreciate your writing, and this series in particular really solidified your character. It takes a lot to write something this gut wrenching and honest, and I love that you are willing to look at vaccination as something that affects not only your own children, but other people’s children as well – whatever the decision ends up being.

        I would do a little research on Mendelsohn before jumping on his bandwagon. He seems to have had some REALLY extreme views against the medical establishment and made a nice little career being the “anti-doctor.” I, too, have been on the fence many times about vaccines, and reading Dr. Paul Offit’s book Deadly Choices recently has been very enlightening. I HIGHLY recommend it. Several people I know (one a doctor and one an academic chemist) recommended it to me.

        Keep on! You’re doing great work here and are clearly devoted to your family and your God! :-)

  27. Romesa says

    Thank you for your article. It is not so cut and dry an issue for a lot of people. For me, it is. I will never put those toxic poisons into my children ever again. My daughter has auto immune disease and she was fully vaccinated, she’s 21 now. My son who is almost 7, I JUST potty trained and has apraxia, gut issues, sensory issues and he got all his shots up to one year old. My second son, who is 4 years old has never had a vaccine, nor his younger sister who is 20 months. My unvaccinated children are healthy as horses and my vaccinated ones have permanent damage. When doing your research, you must go to UNbiased sites to find out what this hoax is all about. I’m not talking about weird, tree hugging hippie sites or anything, real, scientific, sites that have NO monetary benefit to you vaccinating or not vaccinating. Then just MAYBE you can trust what they are saying. There has been NO test comparing the health of vaccinated children against unvaccinated children. There has been NO test done to see if combining several vaccines into one is safe. There have been some tests that show results of ONE ingredient in the vaccine as “safe”, but NONE have been done testing ALL the ingredients of each vaccine. The media is bought by Big Pharma. The government is bought by Big Pharma. Doctor’s continued education is funded by Big Pharma. So, what do you think your doctor knows about vaccines? Uh, what Big Pharma WANTS them to know! If a doctor is to know ANYTHING, that doctor must do his/her own funded research! That’s it! They will not get it in medical school, the won’t get it in continued education. Why? Because it is big money! Then, when they make us sick, they get to medicate us for the rest of our lives. Period. It’s about money. It’s about population control.

    Go to http://www.vaccinationdebate.net
    There, you will read on what scientists, doctors and even the creators of the vaccines say after they dug a little deeper than “disease bad, vaccine good!” indoctrination!

    We have the sickest/disabled generation of children that has ever existed and we have the most slam packed vaccine schedule known to mankind. A child by age 5 in the U.S.A. will receive upwards of 49 vaccines. That is a travesty! Containing aluminum, formaldehyde, foreign proteins, mercury, msg, carcinogens, antibiotics, human dna, neuro toxins, the list goes on and on!!! Why in the world would we think for a moment that our children would somehow be healthier after injecting those poisons into their bloodstreams? And the viruses injected are chemically engineered! That is why it does not provide true immunity like getting the sickness naturally.

    And what is so scary about getting sick from time to time??? Measles, mumps, chicken pox etc… used to be a right of passage… a normal, mild childhood sickness that passed after a week in bed with some chicken soup! Then, your child would have a boost of health from their immune system that is being built NATURALLY. I would much rather had my children get sick (as God intended) have their body fight it off and win and then be truly immune, than to have absolutely no assurances of being kept safe from disease, YET having all these toxins in your system for your trouble! Autism is increasing like wild fire here! I think it’s 1/29 now!!! That is an epidemic!!! Why aren’t more parents waking up and stopping this madness??? Fear? God created our immune systems. He gave us a beautiful way to ward off disease naturally. He causes us to have fevers to kill it off. But what does man do? They reach for the fever suppressing Tylenol that inhibits the bodies natural way to kill bacteria. It’s crazy. We think we know more than God. We think we can usurp Him and walk away unscathed, we can’t. People die sometimes. It’s a fact. It’s a part of the human condition. We do what we can without compromising what is right and get the correct treatment for the sickness, if any.

    I don’t want to sound insensitive. I am sure there are parents on here that adore their children, yet are determined to vaccinate them. It’s your choice. You have just done no research.

    All one needs to do is read the inserts in each of the vaccines and read off the ingredients and ask yourself if you can in good conscience inject that mess into your baby’s vulnerable body? I sure can’t. I refuse. God gave me the responsibility to protect my children and to care for them. I don’t need to vaccinate them to do that. We eat organic when we can. Whole foods. Pure spring water. Sunshine. Probiotics. Vitamin D and C…. There are natural things you can do to stay healthy, then, when your immune system hasn’t be compromised by toxins all it’s childhood life, when a sickness comes your way, your body naturally knows what to do with it. It really isn’t as complicated as we make health out to be.

    Better hygiene, food preparation and waste management is what sent disease scampering away, not vaccines! The medical community took the credit for eradicating disease that was not theirs to take. Common sense won that award, people.

    Oh, and polio didn’t go anywhere, just in case some of you were wondering. Do you know what the medical community did? They renamed it! YEP! It isn’t called Polio anymore, because, we have a vaccine for that! It’s called aseptic meningitis now. And, if your child goes to the doctor with whooping cough and your child is fully vaccinated, your doctor will often times “re-diagnose” it as the croup. Many doctors have confessed to doing this on the website I shared earlier. It’s time to wake up and stop doing this atrocity to our children! Even if your child seems healthy now, you put carcinogens in their bloodstream! Childhood cancer is on the rise, childhood asthma, allergies, learning disabilities, speech and motor delays, autism, apraxia and juvenile diabetes to name a few are on the rise. We have the sickest children. The U.S.’s infant mortality rate is one of the worst in the world of the countries that vaccinate and our vaccine schedule is the most aggressive! Does no one else see a correlation here?? Sometimes… okay, A LOT of the time, adverse reactions take time and never get reported, others, you hear a heartbroken parent say, “I took my healthy son in to get his vaccines and took home a different child. He screamed a high pitched scream for days, had a high fever, had seizures, the doctors just told me it was normal and to give him some Motrin. After what seemed an eternity, he stopped screaming and my son was gone. He never looks at me anymore. He’s in his own little world. He’ll never smile at me again. He’ll never wrap his arms around me.”

    I want to know, how Pharmaceutical can promote a drug for this, a drug for that, on TV and then while the happy family is camping or whatever on the commercial, the side effects are read off while what we SEE is a happy, healthy, beautiful family having fun…. but the possible side effects are far WORSE than what the medicine is used to treat! But, when you DARE suggest or even imply that vaccines are harmful, not effective and unnecessary, people go ape on you?!!! Why is that? Why CAN’T we point the finger at vaccines? We know our kids better than the white coat in the office. We know what happened to them after they got their shots. Why won’t anyone listen to the parents? We are the ones who don’t have the ulterior motive. We are the ones who witnessed our children’s decline from health to sickness. WE are the ones who have done our unbiased research! So, why are we UNqualified to speak???

    Anyway, that is what I had to say. Follow the parents of these injured children. The doctors have a vested interest in vaccinating your children. They’ve been programmed to accept a few of their patients to be irreversibly damaged by vaccines. YOU love your child. I love mine. I’ll tell anyone what they can do with their vaccine and their “so called” herd immunity! My children are not a number! I am not willing for them to be “sacrificed” for everybody else! They are Brittany, Isaac, Matthias and Sabrina, thank you very much!

    I heard a great quote once. “The fact that vaccines aren’t effective makes the fact that they are harmful a mute point.”

    Most of the measles and whooping cough outbreaks were in the fully vaccinated communities. Probably because their “protection” wore off. Another thing to thank vaccines for! The diseases are now mutating and becoming harder to control. If we had left well enough alone, we’d all be healthier for it!

    I am very passionate about this subject, so, if I came on a bit strong, that is why. I have to see my son struggle every day just to communicate and do other basic things that we all take for granted. But because I am passionate about it AFTER I did my own research, doesn’t mean I condemn anyone on here that chooses to vaccinate. It is a fact though, the more you educate yourself, the MUCH less you’ll vaccinate, if you vaccinate at all.


  28. Jennifer says

    Thank you so much for this series! My husband did most of the research when we were deciding whether or not to vaccinate our son, and I mostly just put my trust in him. I have read information you have shared on your blog and links you have provided that led me to more links, and I feel much more confident and informed myself. We decided not to vaccinate, at least not so far–almost 2 yrs. Now, I plan on spending some time researching homeopathy/naturopathy. Sounds like the way to go, and I’m excited to know there are alternatives.

  29. Crystal says

    Thank you so much for this!!! I think I NOW know what is wrong with my husband and son!!!! and I can watch the other children as well. Your post was really great! I don’t vaccinate b/c of my own research but I also don’t like the fear mongering I think that this is one of those things where we as parents just need to say being a parent is hard! and this is your decision!

  30. says

    i just have to say that i read your whole series about whooping cough and i am so thankful that you were willing to take the risk to share your experience with us. i do not judge you in the decisions you made/make for your family. i think it is tough to decide what to do with these choices, even when it is brought to the Lord in prayer. my oldest is mostly vaccinated, my younger 4 not at all. the exception is my older 2 each stepped on what was confirmed to be a rusty nail a year ago, so ironically they both have had the whooping cough vaccination since it is grouped with tetanus. they both had mild reactions to the vaccine – swelling, pain, and low grade fevers. i had heard about the high doses of vitamin c being a way to try to manage whooping cough. reading your account and listening to your videos of your kids coughing, i think my 2nd may have already had whooping cough when he was 1 year old (kinda ironic it is now the only vaccine he has received as well). he had a terrible cough that he threw up many many times from – i even took him in and it was diagnosed as pneumonia since a baby can throw up with pneumonia, but he wasn’t hospitalized since we had a nebulizer at home and gave him treatments. but the cough really never went away for a very long time. we joke now that he is 7 that he had a cough and runny nose for the entire 1 year old year of his life, but it really felt like he didn’t fully recover for a year. maybe it was whooping cough now that i look back at it? anyways, thank you for going out on a limb and sharing. i know you probably have or will get backlash, but people like me really do appreciate it and don’t judge.

  31. Emily S says

    Thanks so much for your refreshing honesty on a tough topic! I wanted to ask if you are familiar with Children of God for Life’s ethical vaccine list. Did you look into any of these? You can find the list here:


    It’s just so scary injecting our children with all of these unknowns…

    You’ve inspired me to do a lot more research before each round of shots from here on out. I was going to use the ethical vaccine list but honestly, I just don’t know.

  32. says

    I haven’t had time to read through all the comments, so I hope I’m not repeating too much here. Thanks, Katie, for addressing this topic. It is very timely for our family. Our oldest (7) was also fully vaccinated until Kindergarten boosters (which we opted out of). Our second (4) has been partially vaccinated. Our youngest (almost 1) had one DTaP vaccine around 6 months or so (don’t remember exactly). We learned from our chiropractor (who does a light touch treatment) that it was important to bring kids/babies in for a chiropractic treatment right after a vaccine. She said that she tell the difference between regular life tension in the body and the chemical tension induced by vaccines. She said that if they have a chiropractic adjustment right after the shot, it helps their bodies to eliminate toxins quickly and reduces chances of other side effects. One thing I’ve gleaned from doing some reading on this topic is that children who experience long-term effects (like sensory disorders and autism) may not be eliminating these toxins from their bodies as well as other people do (for whatever reason). Our oldest has some sensory processing disorder characteristics and is chemically sensitive, and we don’t want him to get any more vaccines. I wish I had known about taking him to the chiropractor after shots when he was little. We have been considering not doing any more vaccines with our youngest, but, after reading your posts, I think we may do another round of the DTaP at his next appointment & go straight to the chiro afterwards. Thanks again for your thorough sharing about this.

  33. Lindsey says

    So glad you decided to share your story. I’ve really been debating on this one. My six-month old isn’t vaccinated and I really don’t want to give her any at this point, she just seems too little. I caved to the pediatrician when my second child was 2 months old and got the full line up of shots (she said there was no evidence saying that spacing them out was any safer… why didn’t I listen to common sense? Major regrets about that). Anyway, her immune system was shot after that and she got sick so often. It was so frustrating. She’s only had one shot since then.

    After reading your blog for a while, your daughter seems a lot like my second child (also a daughter, now 3 years old). She is very sensitive to changes in diet and sleep and seems to react to food dye in a similar way you described your daughter reacting. I’m wondering if you have any advice for parenting a child like that. It’s a real struggle sometimes and I often feel like I’m not cut out for the challenge!

    • says

      I wish I did!!! Right now we’re trying for a 7-7:30 bedtime and hardly any corn crud when we’re at home at least. It’s tricky…but she is the sweetest thing most of the time. I’m also honestly starting to wonder about parasites…but she has a strange throwing up thing that comes around a few times a year and it just plain weird, so that’s why I’m thinking about it.

      Good luck and God bless! Katie

  34. Allie says

    Thank you for sharing your story!

    I haven’t had time to read all the other comments, so perhaps someone has already mentioned this, but it just kept catching my eye that you kept referring to things going directly into the bloodstream. Just thought I’d mention for clarity, though you probably know, that vaccines are administered into the muscles, not directly into blood vessels.

    Take care!

  35. Cari says

    I just read through this series and I’m in tears. We are in the midst of pertussis right now. I’m feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. I’m the one who got it first so I’m fighting another layer of guilt. I exposed my kiddos. Out of my 4, the oldest (12 yo) who had a booster a couple of years ago for the tetanus piece got a mild case and my 3 yo for sure got it. The 3 yo and I are still up at night coughing. She’s at the 3 week mark and I’m about 6 weeks. Anyway, just wanted to say thank you.

    • says

      Oh, Cari, I’m so sorry! It’s really tough…but there is an end, and we just have to trust that our immune system will be stronger in the long run and that it’s okay to be sick…it’s part of life. Don’t beat yourself up; no one can avoid everything, and your kids will know you love them no matter what! {hugs} Katie

  36. says

    THANK YOU for this series. I read it a few weeks ago, and then my little ones got sick. Because of your post, whooping cough was on my radar, and I figured it out before the doctor did. We dove right into the antibiotics, because my brother is getting married on Saturday! We need 5 days of antibiotics to not be contagious and we BARELY made it. I’m so thankful that I read what you shared. By the way- my girls were vaccinated- and we have a pretty mild case- but it’s still awful. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  37. says

    It drives me utterly bonkers when people complain that I am putting society at risk by not vaccinating my kids, because of exactly what you said about little babies.

    It used to be that MOST people who got these diseases were older children who, if they had access to good food and weren’t already sickly, were most likely to feel crappy, battle through it, and come through on the other side stronger for the whole ordeal. And because this gave them long-term immunity to many of these diseases, it protected the weaker members of society, as well. Nursing mamas had natural immunity to pass through their breastmilk. The elderly were often already immune. That sort of thing.

    Now we are putting our most vulnerable members at the highest risk. Mamas no longer have any true immunity to provide their teeny-tiny babies. The elderly have not developed true immunity, and their vaccines have long since worn off. And then none of the doctors will diagnose a “vaccine-preventable” disease in someone who has been vaccinated, so we have people walking around contagious, assuming they’re okay.

  38. Theresa says

    Thank you for posting this. I am grateful that you are willing to be honest and help others. I agree with Romesa’s views on this topic and when we decided I knew I would rather face the consequences of whatever disease that came as a course of life than the consequences of vaccine damage that I could have prevented. What sealed it for me is knowing the vaccines are dangerous but not very effective. But I agree it is a terribly hard decision!! I appreciate what your honesty has contributed and I have learned a lot about what to look for as far as whooping cough.

  39. Lynn says

    I absolutely love this post. Your transparency and the way you communicate through your writing is just astounding to me. I read a lot about vaccination and vaccines and pretty much everything that goes along with it. It is so heartbreaking to me that it seems that the majority of parents won’t research or would never even think of questioning vaccines until they witness their child have a severe life changing reaction. My heart just breaks for them. It just saddens me that, that is what it takes for them to begin to research and question.
    I wanted to share this package insert of the DTaP vaccine with you. On page 11 under adverse events reported during post approval use AUTISM is listed


    Thank you for sharing your story and most of all thank you for the transparency you put forth

    • Stephanie says

      I do just want to point out that “adverse events reported” means just that: “reported.” It is not a scientific claim that has been proven, just that parents have reported this and made the association themselves.

  40. says

    My head is spinning. Ultimately this is what ticks me off in the whole matter: “The medical community should be the ones doing authentic research, reading about it and sharing that news with us – it’s their job. And yet here we are, amateur researchers, just parents on the Internet, trying to come to complicated medical solutions because we have no idea who to trust.”

    YES. And why? So ridiculous. I’m just happy that my eyes were opened to the dangers of vaccines after it’s too late for me to change my mind. My kids are vaxxed. The end. until the infamous 12-year checkups… GAH! LOL.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Truly eye opening.

  41. Joyce Wyld says

    Reading this series was very eye-opening and useful for me. I am a parent to 3 boys, soon to 4. All the boys are vaxed, but my youngest has just turned 1 and I’ve delayed his shots because I feel that his nappies are a little funny and his gut not fully optimal. It is very confusing as to what to do.

    In a nutshell though, I think vaccines are designed for healthy people. Children who are born immune compromised, who have gut issues-they tend to be the weak ones who will not handlevaccines well-yet they are the very ones who will need protection from these terrible diseases. The weak ones should have their vax delayed while their health is improved-and vaccines administed slowly in single doses as their health gets better. Not vaxing at all is a huge risk….

  42. says

    It’s rare to find writing where one leaves it all out in the open for strangers to scrutinize. I applaud your courage and honesty. Your post reminds me of the saying made popular by Mark Twain, “there are lies, damned lies, and statistics”, and it has never been more appropriate than with vaccines. However, I have come across some stats that are worth considering (as is the book they come from). I encourage all to peruse through them: http://www.dissolvingillusions.com/graphs

    20th century disease mortality was trending downward before vaccines ever came to market. The CDC loves to use the morbidity stat showing a marked drop in measles post vaccine, but they conveniently never advertise that measles mortality had already dropped 100 fold before the vaccine came to market. What are we to make of such evidence? It’s high time for a mass rethinking of the entire practice.

    • says

      This is really cool stuff, Evan. If it’s all accurate (and it seems pretty well documented/sourced, although I’m not exactly going to follow up every one to the original source!) it sure looks like there is approximately zero correlation between vaccines and deaths from disease…

      Thanks, Katie

  43. Ruth says

    Hi Katie,
    I don’t know if someone else mentioned this as I didn’t really all of the comments. But just in case they didn’t, did you know about homeoprophylaxis? It is a homeopathic way of immunizing your children that isn’t toxic and that actually strengthens your child’s immune system. You can check it out here:

    We chose not to vaccinate but then I became anxious about the kids’ health. We had already been using homeopathy for illness, so we decided to give this a go. A small bit of anecdotal evidence in favor of hp is this: when pertussis swept through our area, my kids were unaffected. And, when my friend gave our pertussis remedy/nosode to her sick kids, she said their illness turned around and they immediately began to improve.

  44. Monique says

    I think it’s heartbreaking that you don’t know one trustworthy person with the 20+ years of medical training that might be needed to understand and process all the information out there about immunisation, vacination and disease.

    I am lucky that my circle of friends includes two research professors who between them have over 60 years of study, research and teaching, 5 children, 4 grandchildren, 1 great grand child and one child on the way (not the great grandmother obviously)

    I know they have not been paid by the drug companies, I know they are ethical, moral (one with strong christian faith, one athiest) and caring people. I trust them implicitly.

    I have studied at University while sleep deprived and no matter how careful you are, mistakes can be made. I would not want to put life and death decision in the hands of people with no medical training, not for my kids, and not for those people themselves kids.

    The whole situation is very very sad.

    I am very glad your children were not the unfortunate ones who die from this illness. I hope they remain in good health, and you and your husband do too.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  45. JB says

    I just wanted to thank you for being so candid with your whooping cough ordeal.
    Last year, my then 2 year old daughter, and three of her cousins contracted whooping cough. None were vaxed (still aren’t), and I’ll be honest, although during the coughing fits, it was probably one of the worst things any of them experienced (for same reasons as you mentioned), beating it naturally (Vit C, raw garlic/honey, elderberry, LOTS of fresh chicken soup/bone broth..) really solidified our choice not to vaccinate. From a lot of our research, having gone through the illness, they have a MUCH greater (and longer-I think 30 yrs vs. 3 or 4) protection having the complete antibody vs. the partial one they would receive from a vaccine. Also, studies have shown a great deal of the “outbreaks” are caused by vaccinated children. (Something you’ll never hear).
    I’d like to think that since Garlic is an antibiotic, I suspect it has the same ability to help keep the contagious aspect down after a few weeks (same as an antibiotic).
    One thing I’d like to add, is my husband, myself, our 5 year old and BRAND NEW son (maybe a month old at the time) did NOT contract the disease. Two other babies were born around the same time in our family, soon after giving birth, one of the new mother’s was actually puked on by a big sister during a coughing fit…and NONE of the newborns caught it. I called my midwife when we self diagnosed at the beginning of the whole saga (lasting probably 3 months at least) to get her opinions about our newborn. Her wisdom was that he was already exposed to the antibodies in-utero and then via breasmilk, so I should sling him to keep sibling exposure to a minimum and nurse him as often as he would allow. The other moms did the same for their babies. I would LOVE to see a study done on the incidence of EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFED newborns who actually contract the disease. I believe this played a huge role for protection with our three babies in the family.
    For the four who did have the illness, the coughing fits were indeed horrifying, and sleep was definitely interrupted but they actually seemed to “feel fine” most of the day, busily playing as usual. Some studies show that allergies/asthma can be relieved after contracting Whooping cough. So while I would never wish the illness on anyone, maybe there’s another positive that can come from it.

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