As with many other areas, there has been a resurgence in pertussis cases. Most are in the vaccinated, yes, but the problem with not being vaccinated is exactly what happened to my family, and why I have had a change of heart in my decision not to vaccinate:
My husband and I had our standard vaccinations, which would have been DPT back in the day. My 13yo daughter only had the first two sets of vaccinations which included 2 DTaP shots.
When exposed to pertussis circulating in our community, my husband had a sore throat with no sequele...I had a heavy cold with a bad cough that lasted a few weeks (not surprising since I am pregnant) and the same with my 13yo, with a little less severity for her.
As for the younger 4, they did not have it so easy. Sure they may end up with full immunity to pertussis (at least severely), but my 9yo and 11yo have suffered tremendously with uncontrollable coughing fits that wake them up every hour or two and leave them gasping for breath, gagging and sometimes vomiting. They are exhausted. The mama is exhausted...sometimes running upstairs to comfort them dozens of times in a couple hours. My 4yo has been up many nights herself and while not to the severity of the older two, it could break your heart to see her cough. My 2yo is just starting to cough. When the 9yo and 11yo started whooping and the severe cough we took them in to be seen and we have now been prescribed antibiotics for the entire family. While I suspect the oldest 3 of us were exposed first, we won't take any chances in spreading it to anyone, and because I am 25 weeks pregnant. I am hopeful that they will prevent my youngest little one from getting to the severe cough point.
I am well versed in homeopathy and it helped my 4yo some but the 9yo and 11yo are still pushing through it.
We have always said that we will choose not to vaccinate but always been willing to re-evaluate our decisions like any other. When we found out the pertussis was circulating in our region we had decided to go ahead with the shots and even called the health dept...the kids came down sick literally 2 days later and the shots were postponed. Sick irony if you ask me!
Does it solve the problem that the DTaP vaccine is not preventing the illness completely? Of course not...but I can see that my children are safer vaccinated and having a subclinical case that looks more like a cold, than suffering as they are now. It is horrible and I know many will disagree (and I understand...but remember this is always risk vs. benefit), but right now I see my family's risk of getting these diseases without the shots in an extreme form a greater risk because of the possibility of it being spread subclinically by the 'herd immunity'. I wish my kids were amongst the many who had their shots and had a heavy cold with a cough instead of what could be months of suffering. We don't see the actual diseases often and while I don't believe my children are at risk of death, if the timing was different or we had young babies in our lives (or we weren't as careful as some people and went out sick, which we don't), that could be different.
I know I wil catch flack but this is one mama who is willing to take the risk of the shots, even for partial coverage for my kids.