5 Year Old New Jersey Girl Died from the MMR Vaccine, Holly’s Law Created
Robin Stavola is a mother who tragically lost her young daughter, Holly, to the second MMR vaccine dose, which was a requirement for Holly to attend kindergarten in New Jersey.
After Holly suffered a severe reaction to the vaccine, leaving her convulsing, brain damaged and on life support, her family was told by the doctors that Holly would remain in a vegetative state and would not recover. Holly’s parents felt helpless and they reluctantly agreed to have their daughter removed from life support.
Robin was awarded compensation for Holly’s death after it was determined the MMR vaccine caused Holly to suffer acute encephalopathy.
After a long battle and without success, Robin fought to change the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. She learned most parents that file a vaccine injury claim get denied compensation.
With support from the governor of New Jersey, Holly’s Law was created. This law can save your child from receiving a potentially lethal second dose of the MMR vaccine, required for some children to attend school, if no vaccine exemption was filed on their behalf.
The second MMR vaccine dose, listed on the CDC recommended vaccine schedule, is not actually a booster vaccine; it is recommended or mandated because Merck states two to five percent of children don’t obtain levels of protection from the first MMR dose and that all children should get a second dose, to cover those who didn’t gain protection from the first one.
When Holly lay suffering for 65 hours in the two hospitals she was transferred to, her pediatrician did not even show up to visit her. Pediatricians push the vaccines but often don’t show up to the hospital to help care for your child when they become vaccine-injured.
Even the hospital chaplain wasn’t sincere when Holly was fighting to survive. Grieving family members are led to believe hospital chaplains are there to help them grieve, but some of them are actually paid to help increase the number of organ donations.
“We Trusted the Doctors When They Said Vaccines Were Safe”
In honor of Holly, her mother Robin shares,
“Holly Marie Stavola was born January 18, 1995. She was born on time and was born a healthy baby, with no complications. We trusted the doctors giving her vaccines and followed the schedule as recommended.
I wasn’t given any vaccine information sheets or information on how to recognize a severe vaccine reaction. When it was time for Holly to receive her first MMR vaccination at sixteen-months old, she was given the MMR and Hib vaccines during that visit.
After she received the vaccines, she was back in the office with a fever, lethargy, no appetite, crying more, ear pain, and a cough that lasted for seven consecutive weeks.
She skipped three weeks where we didn’t go into the pediatrician’s office. We returned one-and-a-half weeks later, when Holly had another fever and no appetite.
We returned once again one-and-a-half weeks after that, due to a continued fever.
Unbelievably, eleven days later after this stretch of pediatric SICK visits, Holly’s doctor gave her an oral polio vaccine (OPV) and her fourth DTaP shot.
I was told Holly reacted normally to the previous shots and to continue vaccinating. The doctor didn’t seem the least bit concerned and no doctor warned me Holly shouldn’t get any more vaccines because she could suffer a more severe reaction.
Up to this point, I trusted my pediatrician and had never heard of vaccine reactions back in 1996. When this all occurred, we didn’t have the ability to learn from other parents how much these reactions were really happening.
On January 18, 2000, Holly celebrated her fifth birthday.
On Tuesday, January 25, 2000, a week later, I took Holly in for her five-year well checkup. At this pediatric visit, Holly received another oral polio vaccine (OPV), which was no longer recommended as of January 2000, but she received it anyway, along with the MMR, DTaP, and Mantoux TB test.
The Mantoux TB skin test is a screening tool for tuberculosis. It’s similar to an allergy test. It seems like an allergy test, put an allergen underneath your skin to see how you react but it’s done using an intradermal injection. I like to mention this test because it shows how much they did to her, in the office that day. My nine-year old son Tom received the Varicella (chicken pox) [vaccine] that day as well.”
Holly Ended Up On Life Support
“We went home from the five-year well checkup and Holly started complaining of arm pain, but all seemed fine to me, as I was unaware of the Vaccine Information Statements and told not to worry. I didn’t know that vaccine adverse reactions even existed in children. I was only led to believe they were safe.
On Sunday, January 30, 2000, five days after the vaccines were given to her, she was outside sledding in the snow, shortly before the adverse reaction manifested itself.
Holly complained of arm pain for the whole week following that visit, I was told that this was normal. This led up to the horrible nightmare we all lived through, which occurred seven days after her checkup.
On Tuesday, February 1, 2000, seven days after she was vaccinated with the second MMR, Holly had a 104 degree fever, ear pain and a sore throat.
We went into the pediatrician’s office only to be given an antibiotic, with no mention of her MMR, OPV, fifth DTaP and the Mantoux TB test that she received seven days prior. The doctor also didn’t consider Holly’s reaction to the first MMR.
Holly and I went to pick up the Suprax® (cefixime) antibiotic at the local ACME store and I gave her the first dose.
By noontime, Holly was taking a two hour nap. Holly didn’t take naps anymore, but I assumed it was because she wasn’t feeling well. The pediatrician didn’t think anything unusual, other than an infection, so therefore, I didn’t think anything was serious. Well, that all changed.
As I was sitting on the bed with Holly as she was sleeping, she had fallen back asleep at 6:00 pm, and awoke at 8:00 pm. She woke up having a grand mal seizure and a temperature of 107 degrees. Her eyes rolled back and she foamed from the mouth.
From this point onward, it was a calamity of errors, starting with the 911 operator who was unpleasant; the volunteer EMS worker initially wasn’t able to find our house and then Holly was taken to a hospital incapable of properly caring for her.
We were screaming for help; they did a spinal tap to check for meningitis, and with increasing brain inflammation this should not have been done. She was shivering because hypothermia set in due to them trying to cool down her 107/108 fever.
Then Holly was rushed to another hospital that was also incapable of caring for her. My daughter was naked, vomiting, could barely speak (ataxia), and had tears in her eyes. Holly’s last words in the ambulance were, “Mommy, help.”
She was at two local Monmouth County hospitals that were clueless and incapable of caring for a child with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which is what Holly had, until I, the mother, had to alert them to the fact that she had vaccinations the week prior.
At the second hospital, I asked the neurologist 18 hours in if Holly was on pain medicine and then I overheard him ask the nurse why Holly was not given pain medicine and to start her on Fentanyl. Fentanyl is an opioid medication, sometimes called a narcotic.
After hours of grand mal seizures, fever as high as 107/108 degrees, lots of blood work, plasmapheresis, and drilling through her forehead in an attempt to release intracranial pressure and physically put through hell, we were told she would never return to her normal self and would never wake up, she would be a vegetable and not breathe for herself, ever.
I was saying the rosary nonstop for 65 hours and didn’t sleep or eat. Unbearably, we removed her from life support at the suggestion of the doctors.
On February 4, 2000, Holly Stavola, a daughter and sibling, died tragically and unnecessarily from acute encephalopathy, due to her second MMR vaccination. The hospital and her pediatrician finally concluded this diagnosis.”
Holly’s Vaccine Reaction and Death Was Reported To VAERS
“We had no idea Holly’s vaccine reaction was so severe and life threatening until five hours after the initial seizure. When Holly suffered this adverse reaction to the second MMR, that is when we realized it was the vaccinations being the culprit.
Even in the hospital, it was me who brought up the fact that Holly was recently vaccinated and she was not sick when she received the vaccines, she only became sick afterwards.
We felt deceived and completely let down by Holly’s pediatric group in New Jersey. They failed us in so many ways. Holly suffered 65 hours before becoming brain dead and having to be removed from life support.
Holly’s pediatrician, who saw her for her five-year well checkup the week prior and that morning before she was admitted to the hospital, did not show up at all during Holly’s 65-hour painful and horrible ordeal at the two hospitals, nor did any other pediatrician that worked in the same group.
Holly’s pediatrician and their office also failed us immensely by not informing us of the risks associated with vaccines and not attributing her symptoms to a possible reaction the day it began.
I had found out from a very prominent pediatrician that Holly could have been saved if things were handled differently by the medical personnel, from the pediatrician to the hospital staff.
After Holly’s death, we had the bottle of Suprax® (cefixime) tested at a laboratory and it was found the Cefixime was of approved quality and approximate in quantity.
Holly’s pediatrician did report her reaction to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).” 
“I Didn’t Know Vaccines Could Cause So Much Harm”
“When our daughter became severely sick, we, the EMS and the hospital medical people were unable to figure out what was happening, until I finally brought up the vaccinations at the hospital.
It did not occur to me that a vaccination could cause such a reaction as I was not informed of the risks. Before every vaccination, the doctor or nurse should provide you with a VIS for each vaccination your child will be receiving. Federal law states that you are to receive these related sheets to help make an informed decision.
Download and review the Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) which are available from the Center for Disease Control’s website. 
These papers will give you a summary of details about each disease and vaccination on the CDC recommended schedule. These VIS sheets are also at your disposal in the doctor’s office.
However, better than these sheets are the actual vaccine package inserts for each vaccine; take a look at the adverse reactions. You need to become knowledgeable and informed, before making your decision to vaccinate.” 
Robin Was Asked To Donate Holly’s Organs
When Holly was on life support, hooked up to a ventilator and clinically declared brain dead, her mother Robin was approached by the chaplain, who asked her to donate Holly’s organs.
The chaplain at the hospital seemed so very caring and nice to Robin until she said no to donating Holly’s organs. Robin found that very strange and was left to feel the hospital lost out on a business deal.
Most parents are unaware that some chaplains are involved in the organ trade business. To increase consent for organ donations, some chaplains are being hired by hospitals to help get parents and next of kin to donate their loved ones’ organs.
Using a professionally trained chaplain in a hospital setting to approach the issue of organ donation has proven successful in getting more people to say yes to donating organs. 
“In our situation, it was very disappointing, one more person, the chaplain, was not sincere during our nightmare. The chaplain is the last person one would expect to not be sincere.
Our family admires any grieving person who donates their loved ones’ organs, and we do not want to be judged for this immediate and difficult decision we had to make at that time.”
Parents are speaking up and advising others that when their vaccine-injured child ended up on life support, a doctor declared their child “brain dead,” so they had grounds to ask them to donate their child’s organs, only later to find out on the autopsy report that the child was not really brain dead and likely could’ve survived.
However, in Holly’s case, the grand mal seizures and severe case of acute encephalopathy did leave Holly “brain dead.” Although to this day, Robin wishes that she was given 48 hours to think about the decision to remove Holly from life support and wonders, to this day, if she should have kept her daughter on life support, in the hopes of a miracle.
Holly’s Blood Samples Were Discarded Without Permission
“I knew after Holly’s death, we needed to get an autopsy, which we did. We asked the hospital to ‘preserve blood samples’ and wrote this on the signed autopsy form by us.
We also asked and put it in writing that they not shave her head, how horrible to have to put this in writing and put our dead daughter’s body through an autopsy, but we wanted to make sure every stone was unturned.
Unbelievably, the pathologist ‘forgot to save any blood samples’ and there was nothing we could do about it.”
Holly’s Symptoms Were Caused by Vaccination
“The doctors eliminated all possible infectious, bacterial and viral diseases; all her symptoms were due to the MMR vaccination.
Before the last round of vaccines Holly received, she was a completely healthy, bright, kind and beautiful five year-old child. The day she received her vaccinations at her five-year well checkup, HOLLY WAS NOT SICK!!
Pediatricians will attempt to downplay Holly’s reaction by asserting that this tragedy happened because she was sick. This could not be further from the truth; she was an extremely healthy child, and not immunocompromised in any way.
Encephalopathy is a vaccine table injury on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services HRSA division. It can occur between 5-15 days after the vaccine is given, as stated on the table of injuries.” 
Holly’s Family Won Their Vaccine Injury Case When Most Are Denied
“Roughly only one-quarter of vaccine injury claim petitioners get awarded compensation, while about three-quarters get denied. Eighty percent or more of the compensated awarded claims are based on negotiated settlements where the court will not conclude, based upon review of the evidence, that the alleged vaccine(s) caused the alleged injury. 
The government states that compensation awarded for the majority of those injured/deceased does not necessarily mean they are agreeing their injury was caused by a vaccine.
Because of this unfair reality, we did not want to file a vaccine injury claim, because we did not want to accept the compensation without placing fault on someone. We wanted accountability.
After one-and-a-half-years, we decided to file a claim with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). 
The deadline to file was two years after Holly passed and we decided if we won, we would use the money to do something in her honor and to help save others from going through this. We had an attorney who handled the whole process with the NVICP.
We did not want to accept any money without responsibility that the vaccine caused this; once we filed, we took the whole two-year time period before accepting the blood money. The federal government conceded that Holly’s death was compensable due to the MMR vaccine.
We were compensated by the United States Court of Federal Claims, after filing a vaccine injury claim. They conceded that Holly’s death was a result of the MMR.”
“I Needed Something Good To Come Out Of Holly’s Suffering”
“When I learned about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and was told I must file a claim, to receive any compensation, I was shocked and felt deceived how the vaccine program was set up to fail parents.
According to the Health Resources Services Administration, approximately 74 percent of vaccine injury claims/deaths are denied. I desperately wanted the opportunity to make a difference, to help parents, and to make it known that Holly’s death was vaccine related and that the system has many flaws.
In September of 2004, I was nominated by the Department of Justice/Vaccine Litigation Unit to serve as a General Public Member: Parent of a Vaccine-Injured Child representative on the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines.
I needed to then apply with my resume to receive this position, which I did, and was ultimately accepted onto the Commission.
The Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV) is made up of nine voting members, most of whom are pro-vaccine and working for what is in the best interest of the government. 
At the ACCV meetings, members get together to discuss the vaccine injury program, to offer advice and give recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to make changes to the existing rules.
I was excited to make a difference. I served for two years following Holly’s death, attending meetings and giving suggestions, as a parent of a vaccine-injured child.
The meetings were held in Rockland, Maryland, at the United States Department of Health offices. It was hard because I had to leave my family to attend the meetings and it became futile, frustrating and apparent, that I could not make an impact, to change the current and unjust vaccine program.”
Holly’s Family Formed “The Hope from Holly Foundation” To Help Other New Jersey Children In Need
“We wanted to help others in Holly’s memory, so right after Holly’s death, we formed the non-profit NJ organization, The Hope from Holly Foundation.
The purpose was to help NJ families who were financially struggling and whose children were seriously ill and/or had overwhelming medical needs.
We raised a significant amount of money, over $550,000, in three years. However, we decided to dissolve the organization because Holly’s Law was a huge commitment of time for our family.”
Holly’s Mother Continued To Fight And Helped Pass Holly’s Law
“The legislative process did work in our favor on January 14, 2004, and we passed HOLLY’S LAW in New Jersey, IN MEMORY OF OUR BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER, HOLLY STAVOLA. However, the process was both arduous and stressful, given Merck, the AAP, the NJ Academy of Family Physicians, and various other doctors fought against our proposed bill.
New Jersey’s Holly’s Law promotes the antibody blood titer test most parents don’t know exists. Through God’s grace, and the support of many friends and family, Holly’s Law passed unanimously in both houses in New Jersey. 
If you or anyone you know is getting ready for school with vaccinations, take advantage of Holly’s Law, which gives parents a choice before allowing their child to receive the second scheduled MMR vaccine.
Unfortunately, pediatricians fail to inform parents this option exists, due to the fact they are unaware of the dangers of vaccines, not liable if anything happens adversely to your child, financially incentivized to give more shots and are unwilling to agree that there are adverse reactions. So, for these reasons, they do not provide you with an objective opinion and may intentionally not want you to know about Holly’s Law.
Different states may have a similar law in place; do your research and check with your local Health Department before having your child receive the second MMR vaccine.”
About the Antibody Titer Law (Holly’s Law)
The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services explains this about the MMR vaccine and the titer test available for parents to decide if they want to consent to their child receiving a second MMR vaccine: 
“The Antibody Titer Law (Holly’s Law) (NJSA 26:2N-8-11), passed on January 14, 2004, concerns vaccination of children with the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine. The law allows parents to seek testing to determine a child’s immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella, before receiving the second dose of the vaccine.”
“Written laboratory proof of immunity exempts a child from the 2nd dose of MMR vaccine.”
“According to the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), children should receive two doses of the vaccine because about 2%-5% of people do not develop immunity after the first dose of vaccine.”
The first dose is usually given at 12-15 months of age and the second dose is usually given at 4-6 years of age. The second dose is not a “booster”; it is intended to produce immunity in the people who did not respond to the first dose.”
Holly’s Law Can Save Your Child
Holly’s older brother, Thomas Stavola, Jr., was nine years old when his younger sister Holly passed away from the MMR vaccine. Tom began researching vaccines and now is an outspoken advocate for vaccine choice. The loss of his close sister is still very painful to deal with. He reminds people to learn about Holly’s Law and utilize this option if available.
In memory of his sister, Thomas shared,
“Although we know that vaccine-induced antibodies do not provide true immunity (one can only achieve long-term immunity from the natural acquisition of a disease, thereby stimulating the innate, cell-mediated immune function), Holly’s Law allows parents to substitute a harmless antibody test for an ineffective, dangerous, potentially deadly MMR vaccine.
Sufficient antibody levels are the standard by which the medical community tests vaccines for efficacy, and thus showing sufficient antibody levels with Holly’s Law will demonstrate that the person has immunity (even though the latest science states that antibodies are only part of the equation).
Holly’s Law has and will continue to save countless lives, in addition to protecting people from possible adverse events.
Vaccine-induced herd immunity is an unproven hypothesis that is thoroughly debunked in the medical literature through observation of disease outbreaks in 95-100% of vaccinated populations.
Clearly, if outbreaks are occurring in completely vaccinated areas, the vaccine(s) are not effective in providing protection. Thus, it follows that vaccinated individuals do pose a risk to the immunocompromised; in fact, more so than unvaccinated people, due in part to the possibility of viral shedding (for several weeks to months) post-live vaccination.
The assertion that unvaccinated people are magnets for illness couldn’t be further from the truth. We all carry germs; vaccination does not make people “sterile” or disease-free. On the contrary, it severely burdens the primary defense mechanism (immune system), thereby increasing the probability for illness in those individuals.
All of the aforementioned statements are confirmed in the peer-reviewed medical literature; one only needs to search if one wishes to uncover the truth.”
MMR Vaccine Associated With Neurological Adverse Reactions
Holly’s mother shared,
“Vaccine advocates like to say Holly’s reaction was ‘one in a million.’ The truth is, 1 out of 168 children end up in the ER after vaccination.
Holly’s reaction was not an allergic reaction. The MMR vaccine information statement states, “serious allergic reaction occurs in (less than 1 out of a million doses),” however, it does state, “seizure (jerking or staring) caused by fever occurs in (about 1 out of 3,000 doses).”
Vaccine advocates also like to say that even though we were compensated, it doesn’t mean anything. The federal government conceded that Holly’s death was compensable due to a vaccine. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) has paid out more than $3.18 billion to date. 
The doctors eliminated all possible infectious, bacterial and viral infections that could have been causing Holly’s symptoms. How many coincidences can occur before there are no longer coincidences? There are three requirements of causality and Holly passed all three.
If you don’t think your child will end up like Holly, I never did, either. She was perfect and our choice to have her vaccinated, based on what we knew, took her away from us.
It’s also worth mentioning, New Jersey has one of the highest rates of autism compared to other states in the U.S. Many parents know the MMR vaccine contributed to their child becoming autistic; this is another reason parents may want to utilize Holly’s Law. 
Take a look at the MMR package insert from Merck. Scroll to the adverse reactions section, starting on page 6. Page 7 highlights encephalopathy, which is one of the potential reactions of the MMR.” 
Losing a Sibling To Vaccines Is Unimaginable, Too
More than ever, siblings are speaking up against vaccines. Parents aren’t the only ones who feel a part of themselves was lost; siblings feel a tremendous loss, too. When you vaccinate your children, other existing or future children may not get to watch their brother or sister grow. It is really difficult for them to go on and many are speaking up about the harm vaccines cause.
Tom Stavola, Holly’s older brother, was only nine years old when Holly died. He advocates for vaccine choice and reminds people to learn about Holly’s Law.
Holly’s younger sister, whom she never got to meet, made this video for her. Just two days before Holly lay in a hospital bed while suffering acute encephalopathy, brought on by the MMR vaccine, she is seen riding a sled in the snow, while spending time with her family.
This video holds some precious memories of Holly’s short life.
Hope From Holly
“Currently in our country, the unvaccinated are being labeled, marginalized, demonized, and ‘fired’ from pediatrician’s offices. We left the pediatric group in New Jersey who failed to show up for Holly and went with a doctor who spoke to me on the phone for hours, expressing his sorrow, and desire to conduct a séance for Holly.
Considering we were grieving, vulnerable and desperate parents at the time, we accepted his offer. We went through the awkward séance where he ripped his shirt open and claimed to have heard from Holly.
We then had a few office visits with my then nine year-old son; he prescribed a very expensive asthma treatment. I questioned a very high charge on the asthma treatment, to which this ‘wonderfully caring’ doctor responded, by telling us to leave his office.
Following this disaster, I found a caring woman pediatrician whom we have remained with for the past 15 years.
To give Holly and others a voice, by raising needed awareness, we created this page to help provide NJ Physicians and parents with more knowledge about childhood vaccines, immunity and the MMR vaccine.” 
We leave you with words from Robin:
“My family and I hope that Holly’s story will make a difference and help you realize that you must be aware of the risks of vaccinations, just as you make yourself aware of the risks of any medical procedure.
We hope to make change, and one very important improvement must be that the pediatricians acknowledge that there are vaccine reactions, that moderate to serious and even fatal vaccine reactions do exist and occur at least 100 times more than is reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
We are still very disappointed and disgusted with the actions (or lack thereof) of all involved concerning our daughter Holly’s death. We are also both very upset and angry with the continued injustice and fallacies promulgated regarding vaccinations.
We lost faith in the medical and legal system from this experience.
Holly’s suffering was painful to watch, but at least now we know there have been lessons learned from Holly’s story. Her death was not in vain; sometimes it takes a tragedy to shed light on an important issue.
If you or anyone you know is getting ready for school with vaccinations, take advantage of New Jersey’s Holly’s Law, the antibody blood titer test passed in 2004, and named for our daughter Holly, who died from the MMR vaccine in the year 2000.
I would love to hear from the parents that utilize the antibody blood titer test. I would be interested to know if the child’s physician provided the information.
Thank you to the VacTruth team and everyone involved in writing our story. Thank you for caring about the vaccine-injured, what happened to them and how their stories can help others. We appreciate the time all of you have devoted to this extremely important and worthy cause.
We have our faith that comforts us with the knowledge of Heaven and eternal life, but we will always be saddened that she never got to grow up and fulfill her dreams and wishes. We are also comforted by many people that have helped us get through this tragedy.
May God bless you and your families; thank you for taking the time to read about our dear Holly who suffered needlessly and did not have a peaceful death. Thank God we are strong believers regarding the beautification and that Holly is in the presence of God, where we will be united again someday.
Finally, our Christian faith compels us to forgive all those who failed Holly from the perspective that Jesus would want us to forgive others if we are to receive His forgiveness.
Please help fight against unnecessary vaccine mandates in New Jersey and elsewhere, considering the parent is the one who will carry the burden if something goes wrong, like we do.”
In Loving Memory of Holly Marie Stavola
January 18, 1995 – February 4, 2000
She died from acute encephalitis caused by the MMR vaccine.