Stephanie Messenger's Vaccination StoryStephanie Messenger began her crusade against vaccination after she tragically lost her young child to a medical condition. To this day she states that her child died as a direct result of receiving the triple-antigen vaccine. Stephanie has widely disseminated her story on the internet, and the book Vaccination Roulette which she co-authored, includes her story.
I think it is important to discuss Stephanie's My Vaccination Story here. Stephanie uses this story in her fight against vaccination and it's a story that packs a powerful emotional punch. Given this, we all have a duty of care (Stephanie included) to ensure that such a message is accurate before publicising it. Unfortunately, as tragic and heartbreaking as her story is, I think Stephanie is irresponsible in using this to encourage others not to vaccinate their children.
And yes, Stephanie is encouraging others not to vaccinate; it is hard to interpret her opening paragraph any other way:
"So how does a mother feel when her baby is dead from vaccines and all she hears from doctors, the government and media is that vaccines are safe and effective?"In closing, she ends with this:
"My unvaccinated children are alive and well and my vaccinated child is dead! That's what I know and live with every day."
You need to read the more detailed account of the story in Vaccination Roulette Jason's Journey to understand why I think Stephanie is being irresponsible. According to Stephanie, she never received a firm diagnosis of her son's condition. Stephanie made the link to vaccination after noticing an adverse reaction to the triple-antigen vaccine, and then watching the wholly discredited Dr Robert S Mendelsohn on the Phil Donahue show talking about the dangers of vaccination. Stephanie admits in Vaccination Roulette that doctors looking after her son suspected a condition called Alexander Disease . It is a rare inherited condition and if Stephanie were to research what we know of this disease today and revisited what she went through over 30 years ago in a rational manner, I suspect that she would no longer be able to claim that vaccination was the cause of her son's tragic death.
Stephanie continues to repost her story to various internet forums and encourages others to copy it and pass it around. It is indeed a sad story, and one with a sadder legacy still of encouraging others to risk their own children's lives, and the lives of others, by not vaccinating.
On 21 Jan 2012, a comment was posted to a blog criticising Stephanie and her book Melanie's Marvellous Measles. The comment author claimed to be Stephanie's sister and stated that Stephanie's baby did have a genetic disease passed on from his father, the first husband:
"Dan have just come across your post on Stephanie Messenger. You are so right about her. I should know. I was once her sister. She did not lose her baby to vaccination. I was there. He had a genetic disease passed on from his father. Her first husband. 1 of 3. I stayed out of her life untill she wrote that book and posted it on my facebook. Melanie is actually my daughters name and I have been told that my other daughter Sarah is mentioned as well. I have not read the book but feel most upset as both my girls were immunised with no problems as was her baby. Remember I was there. She has for many years tried to alienate me from other family because she knows that unlike others who let her live this lie and make money from it, she knows I will stand up and tell the real story."Alexander Disease is an inherited condition so it is not surprising that Stephanie's later children were not similarly afflicted as they had a different father (refer post Your Story Ep 29: Stephanie Messenger).
You may hear Stephanie tell her story on a "Truth News Radio Australia" podcast in May 2010 Your Worst Vaccine Nightmare .
Stephanie touches upon a little of this story in the podcast Your Story Ep 29 : Stephanie. Vaccination, Health Education and Your Responsibility or you may read my transcript of this podcast.
Posted: 18 Nov 2012