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Over a period of 15 years, Ines Chicos, Ph.D., a research coordinator with a doctoral degree in psychology, built a bright scientific career.
Today, Chicos primarily stays at home in Queens, New York, taking care of her daughter, Laura, who at the age of 2 months first experienced adverse events following a DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, or whooping cough) vaccine.
Laura, now 14, leads “a miserable life,” according to her mother, with allergic reactions to “almost everything,” including but not limited to food, dust and environmental contaminants. This forces Laura, who experiences difficulty eating, to follow a strict diet. The allergies also interfere with Laura’s studies.
In an exclusive interview with The Defender, Chicos discussed her daughter’s injuries and the challenges she faces today.
She also detailed her family’s mostly unsuccessful efforts to obtain justice and get answers for Laura. Extensive documentation provided to The Defender corroborates the family’s claims.
First symptoms appeared two months after birth
Laura was born on Dec. 4, 2007, and was, by all accounts, healthy at birth and up until her first injection of the DTP vaccine on Feb. 9, 2008, when she was just over 2 months old.
According to her mother, Laura “got a rash on [her] body within one week of vaccination, bloody eczema on the face and elbow creases within three weeks of vaccination.” Her eczema would then flare up over time.
A medical history provided by Laura’s family stated that she experienced a “severe skin reaction after the 2 months vaccine and probably became allergic to [the] injected ingredients,” adding that she tested allergic to cow’s milk, yeast protein and eggs prior to reaching age 1.
Although stopping cow’s milk and eggs “helped her symptoms,” according to another medical report, she continued experiencing allergy flares “on and off.”
Chicos continued to allow Laura to be vaccinated despite her being allergic to some of the ingredients in the vaccines, particularly Pediarix. According to a medical history provided by Laura’s family though, “as per pediatrician, no allergy test was done [at the age of 4 months] because she was too small.”
Laura received DTP doses at 4 and 6 months old, and four total hepatitis B doses. When she was 6 months old, Laura again received the DTP and hepatitis B vaccines and she was introduced to solid food. Allergy symptoms were still “waxing and waning.”
Chicos told The Defender, “It is known that eczema is an allergy to yeast protein, which is [an] ingredient in the Pediarix [DTP] vaccine,” while one of the known side effects of Pediarix is seizure. Laura had her first unprovoked seizure when she was 9 months old.
A February 2021 medical report from the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center indicated that on Oct. 1, 2008, doctors “observed jerks” which were “always [on] the right side of the body at first, and could have [the] left eye deviated inward.”
A follow-up exam showed “frequent generalized spike and wave discharges, cluster of myoclonic jerks with EEG [electroencephalogram] correlate.”
These seizures began to recur, approximately 45 minutes following meals, and an EEG showed “mid-temporal spikes,” leading to a diagnosis of myoclonic epilepsy in December 2008.
This was followed up by a February 2009 diagnosis of “generalized epilepsy,” following a three-day hospital stay. An MRI at around this time also found a pineal cyst.
Laura’s medical history indicated that her seizures, which began three months after her last dose of Pediarix, are aligned with studies showing it takes up to three months to develop antibodies to the vaccine.
In addition to the vaccine injuries that may have been triggered by Pediarix, a medical history provided by Laura’s family indicated “she ended up with four hepatitis B vaccines, for which there were no safety studies,” while legal documents filed by her family in 2019 stated that “studies concluded that [the] hepatitis B vaccine induces impairments in behavior and hippocampal neurogenesis.”
Laura’s EEG reports “mention mid-temporal (hippocampus) spikes,” according to the same 2019 legal document.
Following her diagnosis of generalized epilepsy, her health challenges continued to snowball. In September 2009, Laura was diagnosed with infantile spasms, for which she received an ACTH (corticotropin) injection. This “stopped the jerks” for two weeks.
Subsequently though, Laura was switched to other medications, including oral prednisone and VPA (valproic acid), and the jerking symptoms returned. Laura’s mother confirmed this in her interview with The Defender.
This led her family, in January 2010, to “stop all medications and try alternative medicine” including vitamin, magnesium and zinc supplements, CBD, craniosacral therapy, chiropractic adjustments, glutamine, taurine, homeopathic medication and NAET (Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Techniques).
According to her family’s medical history documentation, this was effective — at least for a while. Laura was “events-free” from September 2010 until May 2011. However, when she “tried a birthday cake,” the spasms “came back the next morning,” with muscle twitching while asleep and episodes within an hour of waking up.
The spasms worsened and were combined with other symptoms, such as sensitivities to smells, cold and hot temperatures and wind. “Many times she had muscle spasms in the first block of coming out from our building on cold, high temperature or wind[y] day[s], medical documents show.”
Laura’s family tried another alternative remedy: a bentonite clay bath with apple cider vinegar. However, this resulted in “muscle stiffness with the myoclonic movements.” This “was believed to be an allergic reaction to the bentonite,” according to a 2021 medical document, which was an ingredient in some of the vaccines Laura had received.
Laura’s health challenges continued in 2011-12. Her family’s medical history documents detailed “the same jerks, now with dizziness, and followed by whole body stiffening.” Her head would turn to the right, her eyes would roll and her entire body would shake, in episodes lasting “no more than one minute.”
A 2015 blood test showed Laura had mild aluminum elevation (with aluminum being another ingredient in many of the vaccines she had received), while tests in 2013 and 2017 found a candida overgrowth in Laura. An examination that same year found no visible sign of her previously discovered pineal cyst.
Laura’s problems continued. In March 2017, pork bone broth resulted in another seizure, while an April 2017 EEG showed “frequent left-sided spikes and polyspikes, with temporal predominance.”
However, an evaluation at a metabolism clinic at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital found she “was healthy with no evidence of inherited error of metabolism.”
Nevertheless, symptoms continued. The family visited a New York pediatrician, Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, known for being critical of vaccines, where the possibility was raised that nanoparticles, which cannot be eliminated, had stained Laura’s brain and were triggering her immune system — and therefore, her seizures.
Laura continued to have seizures, which seemed to be triggered by meat and eggs, so her family switched her to a plant-based diet without bread, while also administering various supplements, including vitamin B12 and zinc.
This approach appeared to be effective. Her family documented that starting September 2017, “we saw less events and less severe [events] within the first month.” However, this was not to last, as the seizures resumed in November 2017.
As Laura’s family came to discover in January 2018, she was being provided with school lunch, “which is loaded with additives and preservatives,” her family wrote. The lunches were being provided because “school staff was concern[ed]” that Laura was not being fed. While the school was ”aware that she cannot eat cow’s milk or egg,” this was apparently “overlooked.”
By 2018, her family’s documentation indicated that Laura’s myoclonic jerks would occur as soon as 45 minutes after she fell asleep and shortly after waking up. This was found to be food-related. For instance, eating a cashew one afternoon could trigger a nodding head by the next morning, and spasms along with muscle stiffness within two days.
Laura’s life ‘miserable,’ doctors dismiss vaccines as cause
Laura’s symptoms and health troubles continue to the present day.
A February 2021 report by the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center noted that Laura’s “total number of unprovoked seizures” is “innumerable, daily,” while her mother told The Defender that her daughter leads “a miserable life, having symptoms daily and always being in a restrictive diet.”
Chicos said, “Most likely, [Laura] has antibod[ies] to everything that was injected on her,” and that many of the vaccine ingredients “are food-related particles.” She added that Laura “has been in a state of inflammation when her immune system ‘tries’ to protect her from these substances that she was sensitized [to].”
The 2021 report also noted that Laura “currently has dizziness, nodding head, and gets sweaty, flushed [with an] urgency to go to the bathroom,” adding that “this happens daily” and “can also be triggered by [the] urge to urinate.”
Today, Laura’s symptoms include “allergies, dizziness, screaming, jumping [and] seizures,” said her mom, while the 2021 report lists her allergies as “meat, eggs, milk, tree nuts, yeast protein, artificial additives, vaccine components, dust and pollen.”
Her family’s medical documentation states that Laura “most likely … has Immunoglobulin G [IgG, a type of antibody] to all the other proteins injected through vaccines.” Therefore, “when she eats food containing these proteins, she gets inflamed,” a reality that makes it “very hard” for her family to feed her.
The same document also addresses the heavy metals found in the vaccines Laura took, including high quantities of aluminum, confirmed by a diagnosis Laura received of “heavy metal overload” — although this diagnosis was later changed to “metabolic disorder,” as doctors “do not have that diagnosis on the drop-down list.”
Legal documents the family filed in 2019 with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, where vaccine claims can be filed, noted that “the amount of aluminum contained in vaccines that [were] injected” into Laura “at birth, 2, 4 and 6 month[s] exceeded the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] upper limit of 5 mcg/kg/day.”
Nevertheless, Chicos said doctors repeatedly refused to make a definitive connection between her daughter’s symptoms and the vaccines she received. She told The Defender:
“I pointed out to doctors that if the ACTH stopped the seizure[s], it means that her brain has inflammation, but no interest.
“When I opened the discussion about vaccination, I got the same response that the vaccines are safe.”
Laura’s family has no history of epilepsy, developmental delay or other neurological conditions, although her father does have some food intolerances, including cow’s milk and eggs, which “worsen[ed] after MMR [measles, mumps, rubella] and another vaccine” was administered in 2002.
Family’s efforts to receive justice met with closed doors
The Chicos family made several attempts to receive justice for their daughter’s vaccine-related injuries, providing extensive documentation to The Defender. But their efforts so far have been unsuccessful.
For instance, Laura’s vaccine injuries were submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in 2013. However, according to Chicos, “nobody contacted me” after the report was submitted.
Similarly, efforts to contact the vaccine manufacturers were fruitless, as they were “likely … not interested to investigate.”
The family also filed a claim with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in May 2019. They made several allegations, including violations of informed consent prior to her daughter’s vaccinations — not receiving information about the risks of the specific vaccines, or in at least one instance, not even being told about the vaccination.
Laura’s family also provided research supporting their claims about high aluminum concentration and that safety data is limited regarding the hepatitis B and Pediarix vaccines, stating that their daughter “was subject to unsafe medical procedures without informed consent similar [to the] Nuremberg and Tuskegee cases.”
According to the family’s claim, it was the lack of informed consent and “consistent lack of information” that led to the family submitting its filing past the legally stipulated deadline for such cases. Nevertheless, on Aug. 23, 2019, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims dismissed the claim as “untimely.”
As a silver lining of sorts, Chicos told The Defender she understood the claim would likely be dismissed, but “I appl[ied] anyway, to raise awareness.”
The family also submitted a letter to President Joe Biden in August 2021, detailing her daughter’s ordeal and issues of vaccine safety. They did not receive a response.
Laura’s family also took issue with the 2021 Comprehensive Epilepsy Center report, which seemed to imply that her mother’s vaccine-related concerns were misplaced.
According to the report:
“Mother is extremely concerned about vaccine components as well as numerous food allergies contributing to formation of Laura’s epilepsy, and specifically aluminum and nanoparticle deposition in the brain tissue.
“We discussed that most if not all people who go on to develop epilepsy after vaccinations were proven to have some underlying genetic cause of their epilepsy.
“They expressed extreme hesitancy to treat Laura’s seizures due to the fact that it would not be treating the underlying cause of her epilepsy, which remains unknown.”
The Chicos family, in a March 15, 2021, letter, rebutted this implication, stating:
“Relevant facts from my daughter’s medical history are missing from your note which directed you to conclude that I am an irresponsible mother reluctant to treat my daughter’s symptoms and also that she has idiopathic epilepsy rather than iatrogenic seizure disorder.”
Vaccine injury symptoms adversely impacting Laura’s education
Laura’s vaccine injuries have had a negative effect on her education. During the 2021-22 school year, when she was in the 7th grade, she was enrolled in remote learning, because of her multiple symptoms and their many triggers, including wearing a mask.
While the February 2021 Comprehensive Epilepsy Center report indicated Laura “does great” with her schoolwork, other documentation indicates Laura’s medical challenges are negatively affecting her education in multiple ways.
For instance, a report from Laura’s 5th-grade mathematics teachers indicated that she “continue[d] to struggle with mastering foundational skills due to her difficulty to retain learned skills.”
An oncoming seizure can also trigger symptoms and get in the way of Laura’s learning. Her family’s medical documentation indicated “she cannot remember a skill that she did not master after an event” and that “she is foggy the day/days before an event.”
Laura also “complains of being tired when she has to stay in school … or when she has to do homework,” but also experiences muscle spasms or dizziness “while watching the TV or computer.”
On top of everything, loss of employment due to not receiving the COVID vaccine
Chicos told The Defender that vaccine-related troubles have also directly impacted her life — and employment. Despite having “antibodies after recovering from mild COVID infection,” she was told by her employer that “natural immunity was not an option” and that she must receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Her religious exemption requests were also denied, leading to her resignation.
As a result, Chicos said her husband “works to support us,” as she has not had a source of income since August 2021.
Even remote employment turned out to not be an option, according to Chicos who said, “I tr[ied] to get [a] remote job, but I was asked about vaccination,” despite having natural immunity and despite the fact that she would be working from home.
Mirroring the experiences of many other vaccine injury victims, Chicos also told The Defender that, even though family members have been supportive of her and her daughter’s experience, “many friends were not.”