MENU

Ireland: Baby admitted to intensive care with preventable disease after his parents ‘refused to have him vaccinated

6 Jun, 2019
, Source:

PARENTS of a 13-month-old boy have told of being “unduly influenced” by anti-vaccine misinformation on social media, after their son was admitted to intensive care at University Hospital Galway (UHG) with a preventable illness.

The unnamed mum and dad have permitted doctors to share details of their case to highlight the importance of vaccinations and help to provide a more balanced argument on social media, which can often be dominated by anti-vaxx material.

They said their decision not to vaccinate their baby had largely been influenced by “social media reports of a potential link between the MMR vaccine and autism spectrum disorder”.

That was despite both parents being “well informed” about vaccine-preventable diseases and “aware” of the various diseases their non-immunised child was more susceptible to.

Report

Dr Peter Tormey and Dr Edina Moylett from UHG wrote about the case in the online monthly report of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) Epi-Insight, saying that it “highlights the potential for a vaccine-preventable disease to cause acute, life-threatening illness in an unvaccinated child”.

The boy – who was “a previously well child without significant past medical history, not on any medications” – presented to the Emergency Department (ED) at UHG “in significant respiratory distress”, the doctors said.

He was diagnosed with a non-typable strain of the H. influenzae flu after doctors found his “oxygen saturations were 78% on arrival and the child was very pale with obvious central cyanosis; there was clinical evidence of significant respiratory distress”.

Following this diagnosis, the boy was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for three days.

Thankfully, he made a full recovery after a 10-day course of the antibiotic Ceftriaxone via an IV drip.

Dr Tormey and Dr Moylett said the case highlighted the negative effect social media can have on vaccine uptake rates.

“The challenge for healthcare professionals and public health organisations is to keep up with the vast amounts of misinformation surrounding vaccines with more anti-vaccine blogs, tweets and Facebook posts being added daily,” they concluded.

“This is time-consuming and demands a lot of resources in an ever-changing digital landscape.

“It is important that healthcare professionals, public health organisations, parents and the mainstream and social media seek to provide and disseminate balanced and scientific information regarding vaccines, particularly on social media, where an anti-vaccination sentiment can often prevail.”

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 6th, 2019 at 6:27 am and is filed under Latest News.

Videos Video archive

In this episode of Take as Directed, J. Stephen Morrison speaks with Dr. Heidi Larson on why vaccine confidence is currently in crisis, and how this has fueled outbreaks such as measles and the persistence of polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Prof Larson discusses vaccine hesitancy and its implications across global health in this webinar.

VCP Research Fellow Emilie Karafillakis comments on the anti-vaccination movement, the role of social media and the importance of rebuilding trust. 

Literature Literature archive

KT Paul, K Loer 2019 Journal of Public Health Policy Volume 40, Issue 2
J Kennedy 2019 The European Journal of Public Health Vol. 29, No. 3, 512–516
C Lynderup Lübker,E Lynge 2019 European Journal of Public Health Vol 29 (3):500–505. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/cky235
Subscribe to our mailing list

Click here to go to our GDPR-compliant signup form.

The Vaccine Knowledge Project at the Oxford Vaccine Group