Home > Pertussis, Vaccine Preventable Suffering > Vaccine Preventalbe Death – Callie Grace Van Tornhout

Vaccine Preventalbe Death – Callie Grace Van Tornhout


Age at death – 5 weeks

Cause of death – Pertussis (whooping cough)

Vaccination status – Had not received first pertussis shot, because she was too young

Synopsis – Callie Grace was born on Christmas Eve 2009. By the last week of of January 2010 she developed a dry cough which got worse as time went by. When she stopped breathing at the pediatrician’s office she was taken to the hospital. While under observation at the pediatrics ICU, at 1:12am on January 30, 2010 she perished due to respiratory failure. When the tests came back, they were positive for pertussis, or more commonly known as whooping cough. Unfortunately, Callie was too young to receive the vaccine, the first dose of which is given at 2 months. She lacked immunity and was unable to fight off the disease. Our hearts go out to Callie’s parents. We are very sorry for your loss.

CNN iReport

CNN Article

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  1. anonymous
    June 1, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    I don’t understand how this is a vaccine preventable death if she was too young to receive the vaccine?

    • puppygod
      June 1, 2010 at 2:38 PM

      Because she caught it from somebody. Somebody old enough to be vaccinated.

      Who wasn’t.

  2. Aleshya
    June 22, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    Puupygod is right but I would like to give more detail. Calli’s parents were vaccinated as children but had not had thier boosters as adults. Not trying to pin point this all on her parents, if you read thier story, it really could have been anyone that came into contact with Calli. But who ever it was, since they had not had booster on thier childhood shots they were then unvaccinated against pertussis.

    Calli’s parents are not only trying to raise awareness about pertussis but also about the need for parents or any one in contact with a baby to get the Tdap shot. The Tdap shot is a booster for the Dtap shots that we got when we were children. They are now finding out that the vaccines we got when we were children wear off as we become adults.

    So this is why we call pertussis a vaccine preventable disease even with a baby that is not old enough to be vaccinated. Calli’s life could have been saved if some one would have told her parents that they and any one that comes into contact with Calli needs to have thier booster.

    • Katie
      July 7, 2010 at 10:25 AM

      I am Callies mother, and no, we had no idea about needing the TDaP booster until after Callie was gone. No one ever mentioned a word to us. We also found out that not all the nurses in the NICU where Callie spent her first 12 days of life had their boosters either. One of them could have gave her the infection. So could anyone else in that hospital. Callie never left the house except to see the Dr. We still believe she caught in the hospital but we’ll never know for sure.

  1. June 7, 2010 at 9:02 PM
  2. July 9, 2010 at 5:07 PM
  3. November 6, 2010 at 9:40 AM

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