Our third child was a welcomed surprise, a true gift from God. Born five weeks early she proved to be a fighter with an effervescence about her which is truly unique. Even with her early arrival, our little girl was perfectly healthy, hitting all her milestones with a cheeky grin and sparkle in her eyes.
My husband and I vaccinated her to the schedule, just as we had done with her two siblings that came before her. We had no issues with them, who were 8 & 6 years old when she was born.
Then came the 12-month vaccinations. She was extremely grizzly after receiving the injection and had persistent cried all afternoon. She didn't nap properly and was unusually unsettled. Around five hours after the vaccinations, she ended up going completely limp and unresponsive for half an hour. We called an ambulance for the first time in our lives.
Her eyes were open, but she wasn't making eye contact. Her limbs were floppy. She was just there, lying in my arms. It was so unbelievably scary to have my vibrant, happy, engaged, and fun-loving baby just not moving at all. It was the most horrifying thing any parent could ever imagine.
Her skin colour changed to a blueish tinge and I wasn't sure if she was even breathing at all. I thought she was dying. I had no idea what was going on. Her temperature skyrocketed to over 39 degrees and stayed there. She also projectile vomited twice before going limp.
The attending ambulance officers said it was likely linked to her vaccination and gave us the option to have her monitored in hospital. With two other children, this was not an ideal scenario, so we opted to monitor her at home as per their instructions of what to look out for.
For the days following she was not her normal self, her babbling all but disappeared and she was listless. Honestly, it took her a couple of weeks to come back to her normal self - and we are so blessed that she did. The whole ordeal was the most frightful, distressing, and horrifying experience I have ever gone through. Watching my baby deteriorate before my very eyes was, and still is, absolutely gut wrenching.
Following on from this, I sought a medical exemption from future vaccinations as I didn’t want to put my daughter through anything like that ever again. During my research, I found out that if something happened to her again because of a vaccine, that there is no liability held by any of the companies that produce these vaccines! Which basically meant, if something happened to her again after vaccination, myself and my husband could have ended up with a child who was permanently damaged, or even worse, dead, with no leg to stand on and there would be nothing we could do about it.
It’s entirely the parents' risk with something like this. In the end, after countless appointments, meetings, and phone calls, I was not granted a medical exemption for any future vaccines even though she had a severe reaction. She basically had to be permanently impaired by the episode to receive an exemption - which is farcical and makes no sense to me.
Regardless of the failure to gain an exemption I still will not continue to vaccinate my child, but I am now being penalised by having to pay full day care fees. It's really unfair and coercive. Why should parents be forced into vaccination especially if there is a known severe reaction? To be financially penalised knowing there is a risk is immoral.
I reported her reaction to TGA and they classified it as an HHE episode: Hypotonic Hyporesponsive Episode. What's most scary about this reaction is babies who are under six months and not moving much anyway, how would their parents even pick up that's something has happened to a very young baby?