‘Please vaccinate your kids,’ pleads mom of infant in hospital with whooping cough

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A Vancouver Island mother whose baby is hospitalized with whooping cough says her sick daughter is proof that children who are not vaccinated can harm others.

Annie Mae Braiden says her 10-week-old girl, Isabelle, has been in the pediatric intensive care unit for more than a month after contracting the disease and needed to be on a ventilator for weeks.

Whooping Cough Baby 20160621

Annie Mae Braiden and her daughter Isabelle are shown in a photo from Braiden’s Facebook page, during Isabelle’s treatment for whooping cough at Victoria General Hospital. (Annie Mae Braiden/Facebook)

“What you do with your kids is your choice, but do not tell me that not vaccinating your kids isn’t hurting anyone but your own kids,” Braiden wrote in a Facebook post that had been shared nearly 21,000 times by Tuesday.

“Isabelle is proof that it harms the other little babes who aren’t old enough to get their vaccines yet.”

Braiden told her story and posted photos of the tiny girl with tubes taped to her face in an emotional Facebook entry on Friday. She expects her child could be hospitalized for another two months.

‘Please vaccinate your kids’

Braiden, who declined an interview, said in her post that Isabelle was on a ventilator for three weeks. The girl has had to learn to eat again, and has endured withdrawals from morphine and sedatives, she wrote.

On one occasion, the mother watched a nurse pick up Isabelle and run down a hall to the intensive care unit because it appeared the girl might die, she wrote.

“We were hours away from losing her,” Braiden wrote.

“Please vaccinate your kids, it’s not fair that my little girl is in the [hospital] coughing and not being able to breathe from a disease that shouldn’t be around in this day [and] age.”

Jeff Bishop, a pediatrician who is treating Isabelle at Victoria General Hospital, says whooping cough is incredibly infectious and spreads easily through contact with anyone who is inadequately vaccinated.

Bishop says he has noticed over the last year that the hospital has treated more children with whooping cough than usual and says there have been some deaths during the past five years.

He says immunization can be an emotional topic for parents but extensive research shows the benefits of vaccinations far outweighs the risks.

In B.C., the vaccine for whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is provided free to infants and children, as well as some adults. The recommended schedule for vaccination begins at two months old.

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‘Please vaccinate your kids,’ pleads mom of infant in hospital with whooping cough

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