While severe vaccine reactions are rare, tragically, they do sometimes occur. Should that ever be considered a contraindication for other family members to get vaccinated and protected?
False Vaccine Contraindications
Fortunately, it isn’t.
When might this come up?
Maybe a child’s aunt or uncle had a severe reaction after getting their DPT reaction, back before we had switched to the newer DTaP vaccine, and their parents are concerned about getting them vaccinated and protected.
That’s not surprising, as before studies found that the DPT vaccine is not actually associated with brain injury, epilepsy, SIDS, or infantile spasms, etc., many people believed that it was. They also believed that ‘hot lots’ of vaccines led to vaccine injuries.
Again, fortunately, these kids can be safely vaccinated and protected.
As can other kids if a family member had a table injury or other adverse event after being vaccinated.
The one exception is a family history of seizures.
“A personal or family history of seizures is a precaution for MMRV vaccination; this is because a recent study found an increased risk for febrile seizures in children 12-23 months who receive MMRV compared with MMR and varicella vaccine.”Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines of the ACIP – Contraindications and Precautions
But even then, it isn’t a contraindication, just a precaution about giving toddlers the ProQuad combination vaccine. These kids should likely get the MMR and varicella vaccines separately instead, although they can still be given at the same time.
“family history of congenital or hereditary immunodeficiency in first-degree relatives (e.g., parents and siblings), unless the immune competence of the potential vaccine recipient has been substantiated clinically or verified by a laboratory”Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines of the ACIP – Contraindications and Precautions
A family history of immunodeficiency can be a contraindication to getting the MMR and varicella live vaccines, but only because some of these immunodeficiency can be genetic. Once you are confident that the children do not also have a severe immunodeficiency, then they can be safely vaccinated.
Other False Vaccine Contraindications
Most other events or conditions are simply misperceived as being contraindications or precautions to getting vaccinated, including:
- Family history of sudden infant death syndrome – can get the DTaP vaccine
- Family history of an adverse event after DTP or DTaP administration – can get the DTaP vaccine
- Stable neurologic conditions (e.g., cerebral palsy, well-controlled seizures, or developmental delay) – can get the DTaP vaccine
- Immunodeficient family member or household contact – can get the MMR vaccine
- Allergy to eggs – can get the MMR vaccine
- Allergy to eggs – can get the flu vaccine
- Immunosuppressed household contacts – can get the rotavirus vaccine
What about a family history of autism?
Since autism isn’t associated with vaccines, these family members can and should be fully vaccinated and protected.
Remember, vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are very necessary. Don’t let things that are misperceived as being contraindications keep your kids from getting vaccinated and protected.
More On Contraindications to Getting Vaccinated
- Precautions vs Contraindications When Vaccinating Your Kids
- Why Should Medical Exemptions Be Based on CDC Contraindications?
- Autoimmunity as a Contraindication to Getting Vaccinated
- Is Surgery a Contraindication to Getting Vaccinated?
- Abuse of Vaccine Exemptions
- About That Johns Hopkins Protocol of Immunocompromised Kids…
- More Questions to Help You Become a Vaccine Skeptic
- Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines of the ACIP – Contraindications and Precautions
- IAC – Ask the Experts about Contraindications and Precautions
- WHO – Vaccine Safety and False Contraindications to Vaccination
- False Vaccine Contraindications Among Healthcare Providers in Europe: A Short Survey Among Members of The European Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases
- True and false contraindications to vaccines
- CDC – Flu Vaccine and People with Egg Allergies