Guest Column: Are our children in America being overimmunized?

By HollyAnne Petrie

OK, let me begin with the statement that I am not a doctor, I am not a licensed anything; I am not an expert in the field of human health—I am a graduate from the University of Phoenix with a degree in criminal justice. I am just a person and a concerned mother. With that being said, I have some serious issues with the vaccinations that are being given to our children. As a mother, I only want what is best for my children. In America, children are required to be vaccinated if they want to enter into school. There are a few exceptions to this: religious beliefs, moral and philosophical views.

What if your child were vaccinated, and you followed the entire rules and regulations to get your child into school? The phone rings; it is the school nurse telling you that there was a problem with your child’s immunization records.
What could this be?

you ask. Well, they hate to inform you that unfortunately, your child was immunized with the MMR shot 10 DAYS before their first birthday. What do you say when the nurse tells you that your child will be kicked out of school in less than one month if they are not re-vaccinated? So you ask yourself,
What in the world is wrong with this system?

We are not talking about months before this first birthday. We are talking about 10 days. According to the vaccine Web site at, it stated that,
Illinois school code section 27.8-1 requires all children entering into school to provide proof that your child has been immunized.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do not have a problem with immunizations. I have a problem when the state steps in and forces people to have more vaccinations even when they had them previously. According to the CDC Web site located at, people who have previously had the MMR shots should not have them again. The Web site advises against this. It states exactly this:
People should not get the MMR vaccine who have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or people who have previously had a dose of MMR vaccine.

My 6-year-old son was threatened with being kicked out of school if I did not comply with the state of Illinois’ request to re-vaccinate him. What is wrong with this situation? I was absolutely floored when I got the call from the school nurse of the Harlem School District telling me this absurd news. I could understand if he had never had the shot before. Anyone who has children knows the controversy behind shots—but specifically, the MMR vaccine. It has been said, but not proven, that it can cause children to become autistic as well as develop ADHD. At, the proven side effects to the MMR vaccination are as follows: Atypical measles, arthritis, encephalitis, death, aseptic meningitis, nerve deafness, as well as ear infections (

Now, what it does not state is that your child can have a fever, as well as have all of the symptoms of having the flu (as my son did). Is that a risk that parents are willing to take—if giving your child one shot can cause that many side effects? What would the second set of shots do to a child who has already received this shot? According to the Green Health Watch Web site, the children who had the MMR vaccines were 45 percent more likely to have developed autism compared to the children who had not had the MMR vaccine. I am sorry; as a parent who loves her children more than anything in the world, would I be such a great parent if I allowed the state to come in and re-vaccinate him? He had the shot. I complied with the state’s request. Why is a 10-day period before the first birthday being brought into light as such a big deal? If I re-vaccinate him, and he gets sick from it again, runs a fever and throws up, I am going to feel, as a parent, that I have failed him. I am his mom; I am supposed to be able to protect my children. What do you do when you have no choice, and people look at you like you are a bad parent for not re-vaccinating him with something that could potentially be dangerous?

The CDC warns against having this shot administered once the person has already received it. There is a reason for this; why can I not get anywhere with the state of Illinois? Why should my son have to be kicked out of the first grade over a mistake that the doctor made? Should his pediatrician have caught this? If they are administering the shots, should they not know the regulations of the state? Was this even a regulation when my son was vaccinated? My son would not have to worry about leaving the first grade, had his doctor adhered to the regulations of the state. How, as his mother, am I going to fight the state of Illinois that is withholding my child’s education because of a perceived 10-day mistake?

If I had never had him vaccinated, would he be penalized for having his immunization too late? I think not!! As long as his body has produced the necessary antibodies from receiving this vaccination, why should it matter when it was administered? So the first step for me was to call the doctor’s office and request that he draw blood from my son to see if he had the antibodies built up against these diseases. That request was denied. Step two is to contact the public; this would be you, the reader. I request that any parent in the state of Illinois who is having or has had this problem please contact me at a special e-mail set up for this reason: At this time, I am working on building a Web site with friends to allow links for information and research on the MMR vaccinations. Please be patient.

Once we have a group of parents, we will prove that the state cannot and will not be able to isolate us to force us to comply with something that may hurt our children. We can then work together to make this a safer place for our children. We are AMERICANS. We are supposed to be free, and we are supposed to work together with one another to make this a safe and free place for our children to grow. United we may be able to make the difference it will take to do this. I ask that you join me in the fight to protect our children and not let some official on the State of Illinois school board tell us that it does not matter what our doctor says; they know best for our children.

Response from Harlem School District: Caroline Pate-Hefty, director of Special Education for the district, said:
I cannot comment on specific responses to a student or any private information, but I can comment on our immunization policy. In general, we are guided by the Illinois Department of Public Health, who legally requires, through the advice of the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) that students be administered no less than or equal to four days before their first birthday, the MMR and varicella. Any dose administered greater than five days earlier, the dose is recommended to be repeated.

HollyAnne Petrie is a resident of Loves Park.

From the November 25-December 1, 2009 issue

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