Immunise? Yes. Simples.

Someone asked me something recently which made me think I had not heard them correctly. And when they repeated their question it took a lot of effort for me to remain calm and I had to remind myself to take a breath before answering. Because they were asking for my advice and not a reactive opinion.

They were asking whether I thought they should have their new baby immunised.

Not immunised against a random and improbable Kryptonite Ripley Disease from outer space, but from diseases we know exist and we know that immunisations help fight against. For their child to have their normal, standard immunisations.

I am not the sort of person to impose my opinions on how to raise their kids. And if my opinion is ever asked on a subject I tend to say “what works for us might not work for you”. Except, it turns out, this issue of immunisations. Because I just don’t get it. I don’t get why people would not immunise their child. There are so many vile, hideous, awful illnesses out there they DON’T have immunisations for, why wouldn’t someone take the immunisations for the ones they CAN help you with?

So, Ok, the fact they are asking ME (average, got kids, immunised ones), implies to me that they are not really asking if I think it is a good idea. They know my views. They must. They have heard me talk about going to get the kids poked and prodded. They have heard about my handbag full of bribery carrots and chocolate sticks. They have heard about kids covered in stickers who are allowed to eat whatever they want for dinner after ‘the event’. If they don’t know my views then they themselves deserve a sticker for “must try harder”.

To me, if someone is asking someone else’s approval of their decisions, it implies that they themselves are not 100% sure of their reasons for even asking this question. If you are committed enough to not immunise your child, I think you don’t seek someone elses approval. People who choose not to immunise their children tend to be pretty outspoken about it.

I truly think that we should be grateful that we live in a society where we have the opportunity to immunise our children. There are millions of children who are not offered this option. You don’t see them in your real life, because they live in countries you see only on the TV. People donate to Children in Need and Comic Relief which in part pays for immunisations, yet won’t immunise their own children and this just doesn’t make sense to me. Whilst we do not have the third world living conditions these mothers and fathers have to bring children up in, we do still have children.

Obviously, I am not a doctor. You may read this and come back with a lot of medical knowledge, stats, theories, ideas and well, I am sure anger directed at me for posting this. This is just how I feel.

I supposed I get so frustrated when I hear about people not taking every single precaution available to them against illnesses which could affect their children, because I have felt what I can only describe as the raw, primal fear of believing your child has a life threatening illness and could not make it (I still can not bring myself to say “that” word).  It was the scariest moment of my life. And the words “the scariest moment of my life” are just words until you experience them.

I wanted to claw at my own skin. Rip it off.

I have been in a hospital room, staring, not moving my body, just moving my eyes, darting backwards and forwards through that glass door panel in to the hallway. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting for them to bring my tiny 4 month old baby boy back from this hideous procedure where they had to hold his tiny body down to extract from him the tissues needed to assess his condition. I have seen a nurse carry his floppy little body, my baby, wearing only a nappy, out of a room towards me – a room I was banned from entering with him because of what they had to do to him. I would not wish this experience on anyone in the world.

He didn’t have meningitis. Thank God. But he was incredibly ill for a few days and continues to have a weaker respiratory system. Looking at him now, you wouldn’t know he ever went through that.

Looking at me now, you would. Because everytime someone asks me if I think they should do everything they can to protect against horrible and real diseases, no matter what they are – the flu, whooping cough, meningitis, whatever they say, I say yes.

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21 Responses to Immunise? Yes. Simples.

  1. knittymummy says:

    I blame the media. Even when the dodgy research was totally discredited the media were still referring to MMR as ‘controversial”. The media blew one single study out of all proportion and now children are suffering from really dangerous diseases like measles. I agree, always immunise

    • Hannah says:

      Thank you. Awesome comment. It means a lot you read and commented so thank you. And thank you for saying thati t is so important we do immunise. Han

  2. Caroline carter says:

    What did you say to the woman who asked? I didn’t get immunised against swine flu when pregnant and neither did Phoebe. (both my kids have had all their other jabs.) At the time I was worried about damaging my unborn featus.

    However, since then my daughter has had two spells of several nights in stoke mandevile. Once with pneumonia and once with a viral wheeze. Her O2 levels were very low. My son also contracted bronchilitus at 3 months, but thankfully wasn’t bad enough to be admitted. The pneumonia was bacterial and caused by a bout of tonsilitus and the bronchilitus and viral wheeze where both part of the cold virus.

    Tonsilitus and a cold virus. I never realised that such simple, everyday illnessnes could cause such major problems and so quickly too. The doctors and nurses said there was nothing I could have done to prevent them (apart from never leave the house). I wracked my brains for what I could have done differently and I should do in the future. Phoebe’s significant drops in O2 levels put her body under a lot of stress, especially her heart. I just want to cry thinking about that.

    Anyway, enough waffling – my point is …. my kids got sick , really sick, from simple everyday illnesses that we don’t have immunisation for. I would never run the risk of them catching something nasty we can be immunised against and certainly think it’s bordering on neglect not to get your kids’ TB jabs etc. But I have been influenced by the media in the past, enough to choose not to get immunised against swine flu and I have knowlingly exposed my son to chicken pox…perhaps it’s not a black and white issue. But if someone asked me if I supported immunising my children against disease. I’d say yes. And given my experience over the last 12 months I think I shall actively be seeking a flu jab for my daughter this winter – not something I would have contemplated previously.

    • Hannah says:

      Thanks for the comment mate. Really really rounded and well put and again I think you should START A BLOG!
      Poor Phoebe, poor Joe, poor you and M. x
      Re the family who asked me, I really did have to take a big deep breath. And I told them yes, yes I really believed they should go for the jabs. I did it as gently as possible. 😉

  3. Holy Mary says:

    I think, as with all things as a parent, all you can do is what you think is best for your child. Although the original mmr research was discredited – quite rightly, there are still lots of parents out there who are convinced that their previously healthy children changed after the jab. The government has accepted this in some cases and paid out up to £90,000 in damages to some individuals. Vacinations do carry some risks which is why there is a government compensation scheme for people left disabled after bad reactions to vaccines. So whist as a parent you wouldn’t forgive yourself if your child had a severe life threatening case of measles equally how would you feel if you chose to immunise your child and they had a bad reaction to the vaccine. I chose to go for mmr for the girls but after a lot of thought and research. Not so simples….

    • Hannah says:

      Thanks so much for commenting. The post doesn’t refer to the MMR as such. I agree that everything does have a risk. But the figures of reacting against a vaccine are so much smaller than actually getting the disease, diseases which are now on the uprise again (whooping cough etc). I truly believe you are responsible to try and protect your child as best as you can, rather than crossing fingers and “hoping” they don’t get A, B or C. It would be awful, and I am not underestimating that, if your child had a bad reaction to the vaccine, it would be terrible and I could not even begin to imagine how you would feel. But I do know how it feels to think your child HAS got a life threatening disease and therefore, it is simples to me, immunise.
      Thanks for the comment

  4. Sarah says:

    I felt like a right old cow taking Summer for her first jabs as she and I both sobbed. Going through it all again on Tuesday for lot 2. But never once did it occur to me to not do it. A truly necessary evil. This time I shall, however, be packing tissues for the weeping. And maybe something to restrain myself as I was so tempted to punch the nurse that hurt my baby (*just kidding*) xx

    • Hannah says:

      Oh yeah, everyone wants to smack that cow that pokes your baby! That’s why they all look so tough! 😉 Pack tissues and a bottle/ boob for Summer and a mars bar for you xxxx

  5. Janey says:

    I agree with you and nittymummy. The media has a lot to answer for. The MMR issue happened over 14 years ago. It was shown that Dr wakefield tested 12, yes TWELVE children for a supposed link between autism and the MMR. This in itself is a ridiculously small amount of people to base any research on. It was proven that Dr Wakefield was a fraud, that he lied, he falsified his findings and the parents of the children he used for his research were enlisted because they were anti-MMR campaigners. He claimed that 9 of the 12 had abnormal results when none of them actually did. The General Medical Council investigated Dr Wakefield and his claims and found Wakefield and a father of one of the children were planning to make millions each year in diagnostic tests they had designed/invented off the back of the falsified results. The General Medical Council found 36 charges proved against Wakefield including 12 charges of abuse against children with learning disabilities. The GMC then struck him off their register and he is no longer able to practice medicine in the UK. Was this highlighted by the media as loudly as the initial scare? No. People are still concerned about something that was completely discredited because it wasn’t made as public as Wakefields initial claims.

    Sorry to rant on but it’s something I feel very passionate about. Parents have a tough enough job trying to do the best for their children without the likes of Wakefield being dishonest and the medias lacklustre reporting. Every drug has side effects but we must weigh up the pro’s and con’s and decide if the risk outweighs the reason for taking the drug. I feel I am a responsible parent for deciding that a possible rash, temperature and Loss of appetite is a far better option than Encephalitis, brain damage, liver damage, Pneumonia or possibly even death caused by measles. Be responsible – immunise your child!

    • Hannah says:

      Awesome comment – thanks J. And she is a nurse too. POW! x

    • SarahMac says:

      I think of myself as fairly media savvy and bad-research aware, but didn’t know half of this. Not a parent yet, and because of this, frankly can’t imagine how it feels when your child is seriously ill. The media however, should be more responsible about misleading people who can’t or don’t realise they need to doubt and research everything they say. Great comment. Sx

  6. @babberblog says:

    Absolutely agree with the post and with Kath above. Twatty reporting has a lot to answer for in this country, and this is one of those things.

    I’d actually be very interested to know whether there’s been a significant drop off in people getting their children immunised since the MMR/autism story.

    • Hannah says:

      Cheers for commenting mate. Re your second part of the comment, maybe you should have a looksee and blog about it? x

  7. tee2072 says:

    I don’t get it either. Why would you not? Because there *might* be a *slight* chance that your child could react to the immunisation?

    Yeah. Give them their shots.

  8. bonniecroft says:

    whooping cough is back I believe it has gone from the odd case to 126 cases in last year ( notifiable disease ). Back because some babies are not being vacinated against it .
    Whooping cough is HORRIBLE . my son had it as a little baby and we spent a long long winter doing whatever it took to help make him comortable , steamy rooms ,burning vapours,making sure we chose the best weather to take him out in. That awfull rasping cough that is so exhuasting .not a nice time for him or us.
    And for the next few years every winter he had that horrible croopy type cough untill the spring when the weather got better.
    And to watch all those years later Alex be so very poorly with what we thought was meningitis and see the fear and worry in Hannah and Smudge’s face .So scarry .
    So should babies be vacinated . YES .

  9. A very honest post and one that I totally agree with. I’ve never understood not vaccinating either -why take the risk?

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