Tag: cancer

But Did Anyone Die?

Anti-vaccine folks don’t seem to like that they are getting more attention these days.

Why are they getting more attention?

More unvaccinated folks are getting sick.

But Did Anyone Die?

Is that really such a big deal though?

Hillary Simpson doesn't think measles outbreaks are a big deal because she doesn't think that anyone has died....
Hillary Simpson doesn’t think measles outbreaks are a big deal because she doesn’t think that anyone has died….

It’s not like anyone has died in all of these outbreaks, is it?

Actually, they have…

Most anti-vaccine folks conveniently seem to not be aware of her, but an immunocompromised woman died after she was exposed to measles during a 2015 outbreak in Clallam County, Washington.

“New details about the first confirmed measles death in the U.S. since 2003 show that the victim, a 28-year-old woman with underlying health problems, was likely exposed to the virus at a Port Angeles tribal health clinic.

Nearly three dozen other people also were potentially exposed to the highly contagious germ on Jan. 29, 2015, at the Lower Elwha Health Clinic by a 52-year-old man who became the first case of measles confirmed in Clallam County in two decades.”

Fatal measles case linked to exposure at tribal clinic, records show

So yes, someone did die during the recent measles outbreaks.

A 28-year-old woman died in Clallam County, Washington.

Not everyone is all better.

And during the 2013 measles outbreak in Brooklyn, a pregnant woman with measles was hospitalized and had a miscarriage.

But it isn’t just measles…

There are also deadly outbreaks of hepatitis A and as everyone knows, pediatric flu deaths are mostly in kids who are unvaccinated.

So, did anyone die?

Yes, tragically people have died because of the anti-vaccine movement.

And tragically, unless folks stop believing this kind of anti-vaccine propaganda and start vaccinating and protecting their kids, even more people will die unnecessarily.

More on Vaccine Preventable Disease Deaths

People with Cancer Are at Risk from Unvaccinated Kids

We know that kids with cancer aren’t at risk from shedding if someone has recently been vaccinated.

Johns Hopkins Medicine, which includes the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System went out of their way to correct this anti-vaccine misinformation.
Johns Hopkins Medicine, which includes the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System went out of their way to correct this anti-vaccine misinformation.

The real risk comes from those who are unvaccinated.

People with Cancer Are at Risk from Unvaccinated Kids

Confused on how that works?

Kids with cancer typically have a compromised immune system, so are at greater risk for getting sick and catching infectious diseases. This includes a risk from vaccine-preventable diseases because they often can’t be vaccinated and any vaccines they had in the past might no longer provide protection.

Don’t believe me?

Want some examples?

  • a 6-year-old girl who was in remission for ALL and had just received her final dose of chemotherapy was admitted with fever and neutropenia, found to have measles, and died after 28 days of intense therapy (1989)
  • an 8-year-old being treated for leukemia developed chicken pox and died two weeks later (1998)
  • a partially vaccinated 4-year-old girl who was being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was exposed to a cousin with chicken pox and later developed multi-organ failure and died (2012)
  • a 26-year-old man who was being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia died in Switzerland after he became infected with measles (2017)
  • a 6-year-old boy with leukemia died in Italy after catching measles from his intentionally unvaccinated sibling (2017)

Of course, there are many more, including many kids with cancer who get exposed to a vaccine-preventable disease and have to get treated with immunoglobulin and hope they don’t get sick. And many more who do get sick and are treated in the hospital for weeks and months and thankfully, get better.

And there are even more who get caught up in quarantines because they have true medical contraindications to getting vaccinated, and so have to stay home from school with the intentionally unvaccinated kids whenever there is an outbreak of measles or chicken pox, etc.

What can we do about this?

Vaccinate our kids! We have a choice. These kids with cancer don’t.

More on People with Cancer at Risk from Unvaccinated Kids

Who Dies from Chicken Pox?

Chicken pox is supposed to be a mild disease, right?

A rite of passage for kids?

“My life changed forever on June 30, 1988, when I had to stand by helplessly as an infectious disease claimed the life of my oldest child, Christopher Aaron Chinnes, at the age of 12.”

Rebecca Cole on Chickenpox Claimed the Life of My Son Christopher

Sure, a deadly rite of passage that we had to hope that our kids got through unscathed…

Who Dies from Chicken Pox?

Believe it or not, some folks continue to think that chicken pox was never deadly, even as kids continue to die from this now vaccine-preventable disease.

Remember, the chicken pox vaccine was added to the vaccine schedule way back in 1996, after being licensed in 1995.

Chicken pox can kill quickly.
Chicken pox can kill quickly.

Tragically, there are plenty of stories and case reports that prove them wrong:

  • a previously healthy, unvaccinated 23-month-old boy developed chicken pox and died three weeks later after developing sepsis, possible viral meningoencephalitis, bacterial endocarditis, and heart failure. (1996)
  • a previously healthy, unvaccinated 21-month old developed chicken pox and died four days later because of hemorrhagic complications (1997)
  • an unvaccinated 5-year-old boy with asthma was treated with one dose of prednisone at home for an asthma attack while recovering from chicken pox and died the next day (1997)
  • a healthy, unvaccinated 6-year-old boy developed chicken pox, was hospitalized three days later, and died the next day (1998)
  • an 8-year-old being treated for leukemia developed chicken pox and died two weeks later (1998)
  • an unvaccinated 9-year-old girl was exposed to an unvaccinated children with chicken pox in after-school child care and school, developed chicken pox and died three days later with secondary cellulitis and sepsis. (2002)
  • a previously healthy, unvaccinated 11-year-old girl developed septic shock and died soon after being admitted to a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. (2002)
  • an unvaccinated 12-year-old boy was exposed to an unvaccinated classmate with chickenpox, developed chicken pox two weeks later, was admitted to the hospital after three days because of trouble breathing, and died on his second hospital day after suffering a cardiopulmonary arrest. (2003)
  • an unvaccinated 10-year-old girl developed chicken pox, with worsening 10 days later, including ataxia and mental status changes. After being hospitalized for three days, she began to have seizures  and was declared brain dead the next day. (2004)
  • an unvaccinated 14-month-old girl developed chicken pox and worsened over the next three to five days. She eventually developed septic shock, was treated in an ER, and died within one hour of being transferred to a children’s hospital for further care. (2004)
  • a previously healthy, unvaccinated 15-year-old developed chicken pox, was admitted to the hospital three days later in septic shock, and died three weeks later. (2009)
  • a partially vaccinated 4-year-old girl who was being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was exposed to a cousin with chicken pox and later developed multi-organ failure and died (2012)

Chicken pox has always been a deadly disease.

“In the prevaccine era, approximately 11,000 persons with varicella required hospitalization each year. Hospitalization rates were approximately 2 to 3 per 1,000 cases among healthy children and 8 per 1,000 cases among adults. Death occurred in approximately 1 in 60,000 cases. From 1990 through 1996, an average of 103 deaths from varicella were reported each year. Most deaths occur in immunocompetent children and adults”

Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Although chicken pox is definitely riskier if you are older and have pre-existing medical problems, as you can see from these kids who died, many were otherwise healthy and many were very young.

And almost all were unvaccinated, even though a safe and effective chicken pox vaccine could have prevented these deaths and probably the exposures that led to the deaths of the high risk kids being treated for cancer.

More on Chicken Pox Deaths

Does the Vitamin K Shot Contain 100mcg of Aluminum?

The vitamin K shot is not a vaccine.

That doesn’t keep anti-vaccine folks from pushing misinformation about it and scaring parents away from protecting their babies from vitamin K deficiency bleeding.

Does the Vitamin K Shot Contain 100mcg of Aluminum?

Newborns have been routinely getting vitamin K shots since at least since 1961.

Babies do not get 100mcg of aluminum from a shot of vitamin K.
Babies do not get 100mcg of aluminum from a shot of vitamin K.

And except for a brief “vitamin K brouhaha” in the early 1990s, when a study suggested that vitamin K shots might be associated with childhood cancer (they aren’t), these shots have helped to nearly eradicate hemorrhagic disease of the newborn.

So why would someone want to skip it?

The photo above suggests that they think newborns get too much aluminum from the shot. If you look closely though, you can see why they are wrong.

The vial and package insert of vitamin K clearly states that it contains no more than 100 mcg/L of aluminum.

What’s a baby’s dose of vitamin K? They don’t get a liter! They get a single IM shot of 1mg of vitamin K, or 0.5ml.

So they are obviously not getting 100mcg of aluminum.

Do you see why?

With a concentration of 100 mcg/L or 100 mcg/1000ml (remember that one liter is equal to 1000 milliliters), since they are only getting a 0.5ml dose of vitamin K, they are getting, at most, only 0.05 mcg of aluminum.

That’s 0.00005 mg of aluminum, as compared to the 0.225mg of aluminum in the Hib vaccine.

Why is aluminum even added to vitamin K?

It’s not.

Keep in mind that aluminum isn’t even listed as an ingredient of vitamin K. But according to FDA rules, “Applicants and manufacturers must use validated assay methods to determine the aluminum content in parenteral drug products.” .

And like many other IV fluids, another ingredient of vitamin K, 5% dextrous hydrous (sugar water), does often contain some aluminum, about 17.3mcg/L. These small amounts of aluminum are present “because practically all materials used to manufacture containers for pharmaceuticals contain Al.” From aluminum oxide in glass components to aluminum used as catalysts to make plastics, it is hard to avoid aluminum. But as we have learned that premature babies could get total parenteral nutrition for prolonged periods of time and be exposed to too much aluminum, the FDA has taken steps to limit this exposure.

Vitamin K shots also don't contain mercury!
Vitamin K shots also don’t contain mercury!

Unfortunately, some of those steps, like the labeling of aluminum in vitamin K ampules is used to scare parents.

What to Know About Aluminum in the Vitamin K Shot

Neither the trace amounts of aluminum  or any other ingredient in your baby’s vitamin K shot shouldn’t keep you from protecting him from vitamin K deficiency bleeding.

More on Aluminum in the Vitamin K Shot