The Mohave County Board of Health could take a new look at how infant vaccinations are administered next month, based on Monday's recommendations from the county board of supervisors.
Mohave County Supervisor Ron Gould said the issue arose when his 6-month-old great-granddaughter received her childhood vaccination en masse last week. The child eventually suffered a seizure and had to be transported to Phoenix for emergency treatment.
“She has received five vaccinations, plus a coronavirus vaccination and a flu shot,” Gould said at a Mohave County Board of Supervisors meeting this week. “Later that day, the baby started having seizures and 9-1-1 was called.”
Gould said the child has since been released from hospital care, but the incident led Gould to express concerns about how these vaccines are being administered in Mohave County.
Gould told the board that he detailed a statement made by the child's mother, who said Mohave County health officials had given the child one shot despite her child's reluctance to receive coronavirus or influenza vaccines all at once. It was suggested that there may have been pressure on patients to receive up to seven vaccinations. When I was young.
“Apparently the person who was talking to my granddaughter missed the 'means do not allow' part of the training,” Gould said. “The COVID-19 vaccine is compulsory in schools. This is a 6-month-old baby, and he won't be going to school for another four and a half years. This is troubling. Why give away (the vaccine)? Should I lump them all together instead of spreading them out?”
Mohave County Nursing Services Manager Lynn Valentine addressed the issue at Monday's board meeting.
“I'm a little concerned that parents feel pressured because that's not our standard practice,” Valentine said. “We are not here to pressure anyone to get vaccinated. If they choose to decline vaccination, it is 100% their choice. We will answer any questions and assist our customers. We will address your concerns. It is not our standard practice and we apologize if it developed that way.”
Mohave County Health Director Chad Kingsley said the county has an agreement with the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services to provide early, free childhood vaccinations to county residents. And under that contract, the county must follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Based on these recommendations, children from 6 months of age should be vaccinated against hepatitis B, rotavirus, diphtheria, haemococcal, pneumococcal disease, polio, influenza, and coronavirus.
“We have parents who choose to spread out their vaccinations and vaccines through separate visits, and that is an option,” Kingsley said. “It's absolutely an option. But our grant that funds that program says we have to provide each age group with a CDC-recommended vaccine.”
Kingsley said Monday that Gould is not alone. Kingsley said at least one member of his family had a similar experience.
“We're vaccinating people knowing there's a risk,” Kingsley said. “The most common reaction is fever, which can cause all kinds of seizures and tremors.”
Kinglsey said one of the most common side effects that the vaccine can cause is whooping cough. And while such adverse effects may be a cause for concern and, in some cases, potentially dangerous for parents, the need for community vaccination makes such risks inevitable.
“While this disease is not immediately remembered, vaccination is important,” Kingsley said. “You never want to get a disease like that. Even if you get the vaccine, this condition runs in your family when you don't expect there to be a reaction by the immune system. Parents ( You should watch your child closely for several days after your child has been vaccinated to make sure nothing is happening.”
Kingsley said Havasu Regional Medical Center does not have a neonatologist on staff or an intensive care unit equipped to treat infants. Therefore, in Mohave County, young children who have a potentially dangerous reaction to a vaccine may be at high risk.
And while there is no way to properly weigh the health and safety of infants against the interests of the community, childhood immunizations remain necessary for county residents.
“We take those risks because we have a long-term health benefit in our communities and society,” Kingsley said.
The board unanimously voted to continue further discussion on this issue through March to give the Mohave County Board of Health an opportunity to address and possibly re-evaluate how vaccinations will be provided in Mohave County. .
County supervisors also voted unanimously in favor of renewing an agreement with the Arizona Department of Health and Safety that provides free childhood immunizations to Mohave County residents.