Courtney Highfield

Tuesday, September 13th 2016

A local mother says her daughter will never have 20/20 vision because of a vaccine injury. The Health Department says vaccine injuries can happen, but they’re rare.

Before Jade Hunsicker started kindergarten, her mom says she was given four vaccines: DTAPP, MMR, chicken pox and pneumococcal. “We went home and within three hours she told me her head was hurting very, very badly,” Jade’s mother, Crystal, said. “I looked at her eyes and they looked like nothing I’ve ever seen before or since.” Hunsicker says her daughter was so sick she could barely walk.

After three days of regular doses of painkillers, Jade started to improve in all areas, except for vision. An eye doctor diagnosed her as legally blind. Hunsicker says one of the four vaccines caused Jade’s brain to swell, which she believes led to permanent optical damage.

“Brain swelling, or cerebral edema as a medical professional may call it, is a side effect of some medications,” Dr. Loren Robinson with the PA Department of Health said. Dr. Robinson says if that does happen, it’s classified as a vaccine injury. “For a person that’s completely healthy and develops some type of side effect after having a vaccine, that possibly could be considered a vaccine injury,” Dr. Robinson said.

Despite a small risk for injury, the DOH still recommends children get vaccines. Hunsicker hopes sharing her story will encourage parents to research the side effects, reactions and ingredients first but she hopes the stigma behind not vaccinating will go away.