A Detroit mother is fighting mad after school officials defied her specific instructions and gave her daughter four vaccinations, including one that has been linked to adverse physical reactions and even death in its recipients.
Sighle Kinney told Detroit's WXYZ News that her 14-year-old daughter was pulled out of class at Marcus Garvey Academy on January 30, and administered vaccinations for hepatitis A, seasonal influenza, meningitis, and HPV (Human Papillomavirus, a sexually-transmitted disease) by nurses from St. John Providence Health System, the company that operates the school's clinic.
Kinney was furious with the school and the nurses, explaining that she had never given her consent for the vaccinations, and had even signed a form specifying that she did not want the school to administer unnecessary medical treatment to her daughter. "I told them - if she falls, give her a Band Aid, or if she has a headache, give her an aspirin - that's it," she recalled.
"She comes home, hands me the envelope with the shot record in it that they gave her at school," Kinney recalled of the day the school nurses defied her orders. "And when I looked at it I said, 'What is this?' And she was like, 'They gave me shots, and they took blood, and they took urine.'"
The mother said that she was adamant to officials about protecting her daughter from vaccines, particularly the HPV vaccine, which, according to some sources has been linked to thousands of adverse reactions and scores of deaths (www.sanevax.org).
"Why would they give you an HPV vaccine?" Kinney recalled asking her daughter. "I never wanted you to have an HPV vaccine. And as far as you getting injections, you have your own private physician. I don't need them to do that in school for you."
A week after receiving the vaccinations, Kinney's daughter came down with a rash that spread over her body - what her family doctor determined was an adverse reaction to one or more of the shots. She missed a week of school and her mother became concerned over potential long-term conditions because of the vaccines.
"I'm angry with everybody," Kinney told the news network. "How are you going to overlook something like this? You injected my child with medicine I never wanted her to have."
Officials with the Detroit public school system issued a meandering statement absolving themselves of blame. "The staff at the clinic must maintain confidentiality with the students and the parents of the students," the statement read. "Detroit Public Schools staff members are not informed of any services that are provided for any students, and this policy is regularly communicated by the clinic staff to the school staff. All paperwork or parent permission slips are provided to students who are instructed by the clinic to return it directly to the nurse."
Additionally, the statement explained that upon learning of the problem, the school's principal "was immediately responsive to the mother and instructed her to take her very serious concerns to [St. John]...."
The understandably worried officials of St. John Providence Health Systems released their own statement concerning the situation, assuring the press that they were "aware of a situation involving a student treated at the health clinic at the Marcus Garvey Academy. We will meet with the student's family to ensure that the issue is addressed appropriately."
While school vaccination has been a tradition for decades, and some shots are required before kids can even get into school, Kenney is among a growing number of parents who are backing away from demands that children be immunized for everything from chicken pox and polio to HPV. Some parents simply forget or find it easier to hedge on getting the shots their school districts require. But other moms and dads are skeptical about how necessary the vaccinations are, and some are opting out because of potential dangers and other concerns they have about the substances schools want to inject into their children's bodies.
For example, a Billings, Montana, mom recently challenged a recommendation from her children's school that 11- and 12-year-old students receive a Gardasil immunization for HPV. Interestingly, as in the case of the Detroit schools, the drug was being administered by a private medical contractor with an apparent financial incentive, in this case Montana's RiverStone Health.
"My issue is with the drug - period," Tabatha Pearson told the Billings Gazette. "I believe the school and RiverStone Health are encouraging the kids to be sexually active."
Other parents are concerned at the number of vaccines kids are getting nowadays, and the reports suggesting that some of them might be responsible for a rise in such maladies as autism. USA Today reported that in some states, by the time children reach six years old they have been poked by needles some two dozen times, beginning in infancy. The potential cumulative effect of that barrage of immunizations has many parents worried.
"Many of the vaccines are unnecessary and public health officials don't honestly know ... the effect of giving so many vaccines to such small children..." Jennifer Margulis, an Oregon mother of four, told USA Today.
One West Virginia nurse who said she never had any previous concerns about immunizations got a medical exemption for her two young sons after they both developed severe reactions from vaccinations they received at school. "I thought everything would be safe and fine," she recalled to WTRF News in Wheeling, West Virginia. But the "safe" vaccinations proved anything but that for her two boys. "They describe it as Encephalopathy of the brain," she explained of their resulting illness. "There is permanent damage there."
Many states begrudgingly allow parents to opt out of immunizations for their kids for medical reasons. Religious and philosophical reasons are a tougher sell, but an increasing number of parents are citing these as reasons for pulling their kids out of the vaccination lines. Alaska has the highest opt-out rate at nearly 9 percent, followed by Colorado at 7 percent, Minnesota at 6.5 percent, and Vermont and Washington at 6 percent.
While health experts warn that the hike in non-immunized kids places the population at risk for a return of a range of diseases, some parents argue that the risk from vaccine-preventable disease is lower than the health risks for their children from immunization. Many of those choosing to opt out of vaccinating their children are middle-class, college educated parents who have a healthy distrust of the pharmaceutical industry responsible for the vaccines they are told are crucial to the health of their children.
Typical of that number is Michele Pereira, an Oregon mom who is a registered nurse and married to an anesthesiologist. She noted that while her children have had some of the required vaccinations, she and her husband have said no to others. "I wouldn't be one to say I am absolutely certain these things are hurting our children," Pereira said. But, she added, "I feel like there are enough questions out there that I don't want to take the chance."
Dana Tankell, a chiropractor in San Diego who has never vaccinated either of her school-aged daughters, said that parents are finally beginning to do their own research on the issue, rather than relying on the fear tactics and pat answers of health officials and pharmaceutical marketing campaigns. "I feel like people are getting smarter," she told Investigative News Source. "They're standing up for themselves and they're making decisions based on knowledge instead of following everybody else."
Predictably, some states are targeting individuals who help parents opt out of vaccines for their children. As reported by The New American, Patricia Finn, a vaccine rights attorney in New York state, has been threatened with the loss of her license to practice law, and has been ordered to hand over a complete list of her clients, a list Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com predicted New York Child Protective Services would use to "terrorize the parents who have sought legal help in opting out of dangerous vaccines."