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Meredith Prohaska, a 12-year-old girl from Wisconsin, died suddenly in July after going to see the doctor for a sore throat. Her mother described it as a normal day, but with one exception:
“The only thing different about that day was that shot. I wish I would’ve known more about it before I agreed to it,” Rebecca Prohaska told FOX 6 News.
The shot was an HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine, her first ever.
“She got her first HPV vaccine at around 10:30, 11 o’clock that morning,” Rebecca said. “Thirty minutes later she was trying to sleep. I kept waking her up.”
At 3:30 in the afternoon, Rebecca left for about half an hour to get some food.
“I came back and I found her on the floor,” the mother recalled
That’s when Rebecca, who is a 14-year veteran Emergency Medical Technician for the National Guard, performed CPR. But Meredith was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“It was the hardest thing when they called and said they don’t know. There was no reason. She was the healthiest 12-year-old,” Rebecca said.
Meredith loved swimming and playing basketball while in sixth grade at Butler Middle School.
“I’m a tough guy. I can take a beating — but this has ripped a hole in my heart,” said Meredith’s father, Mark Prohaska.
Rebecca describes her daughter as being “vibrant” and “full of life.”
“She was our sunshine. Everywhere I go, everything I do — I see her,” Rebecca said.
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Officially, her cause of death is inconclusive. But her father disagrees.
“It has to be that vaccine,” Mark said.
When asked by Fox6 News about the HPV vaccine, Dr. Geoffrey Swain, a professor and medical doctor at the Milwaukee Health Department, said that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks.
“Vaccines in general and the HPV vaccine in particular, are very, very safe. It’s a very safe vaccine and very effective,” Swain said.
Swain says serious side effects are nearly one in a million.
“Very, very rare,” Swain said.
But according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there have been 25,000 cases reported of adverse reactions to the HPV vaccine from June 2006 to March 2014. Out of these reports, 8 percent were classified as “serious.” Some of the most frequently reported symptoms were fainting, nausea, dizziness, fever, headache, hives, and localized pain, redness, and swelling at the sight of the injection.
And there have been dozens of deaths. The CDC states that there were 96 deaths from the HPV vaccine reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
Meredith’s organs and tissue have been donated to help others. But Meredith’s mom does want to warn other parents about the dangers of vaccines.
“Be aware of every possible side effect — and make sure you’re hugging them all the time because you never know when you’re just going to be left with pictures,” the mother said.
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