Hannah Reeves did her homework before taking her son to the pediatrician. She knew exactly which vaccines she wanted him to get and which she thought were too risky. So when a nurse gave her son the exact shot Reeves had asked to avoid, the Missouri mom was more than just angry. She felt like she had failed her child.
As WDAF News reports, Reeves had taken her six-month-old son, Carson, to Lee's Summit Physician's Group for a routine check-up. As the doctor discussed the vaccinations that Carson was scheduled to receive, Reeves made it clear that she did want her son to be given the flu shot. She explained that she was strongly opposed to this particular vaccination, telling WDAF:
“I have a friend that got it, she was temporarily paralyzed from the waist down, her body just rejected it. I've been against it ever since.”
Saying “no” to the flu vaccine for her son should have been the end of the story. But something the nurse said while giving Carson his shots indicated to Reeves that her instructions had been ignored.
While Reeves was trying to soothe her son, an idle comment immediately caught her attention. Reeves told WDAF:
“The nurse said, 'He's really gonna hate me because of those six shots.' I said, 'Six? There's only supposed to be five.'”
The angry mom learned that Carson had been given the flu shot after all. Though the doctor apologized, explaining that the mistake was the result of a “mix-up,” Reeves made it clear that she was not happy about the error. She told WDAF:
“I was instantly enraged. I felt violated.”
Reeves said the doctor assured her that she wouldn't be charged for the vaccine and that Carson shouldn't suffer any side effects. Twenty-four hours later, Carson was doing well.
Still, Reeves says she has been speaking to a lawyer about the incident. She told WDAF that the fact that a vaccine was administered to her son over her objections left her feeling, “like I failed.”
Because the flu can cause serious complications and can be fatal to young children, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends all children six months and older be given the vaccine. Recently, the CDC advised parents to get the shot instead of FluMist, as the nasal spray has proven ineffective against H1N1 flu, with tragic results.
According to the CDC, severe influenza complications are most common in children younger than two, and approximately 20,000 children under age five are hospitalized every year because of the flu. Though they acknowledge the risk of adverse reactions and recommend talking to a doctor about side effects, the CDC says that the vaccine remains the best way to reduce the risk of catching or spreading the flu.