Why you should vaccinate me

Immunisations: The parental opinion divider.

The decision to have your child immunised evokes emotional turmoil for many parents, especially since the unfounded MMR/Autism claims from that study. It's legacy lives on ever since 1998 when that study was published and general mistrust of the UK vaccination schedule.

I'd like to take you through my son's reasons of why he would want to be vaccinated (if he could talk, write or communicate any further than a babble):

My name is Bobcat.

I am a seven month old, happy and healthy baby. I want to stay this way.

I feel lucky that I don't think about getting ill with measles and I hope I never have to...

I won't suffer damage from a disease that no one remembers seeing anymore, until they get 'unlucky' and see it in their own child. See the damage it does. The brain damage. The life it can take.
I can rest smug for now as I have most of the herd to rely on.


I feel lucky that I don't have to worry about getting austim from vaccines...

Because it's been proven that there is NO link. None what so ever, by very robust studies that possibly even a baby could understand.

Have you read the original study from Andrew Wakefield on the supposed link between autism and MMR? Or the tabloid summary? Did you know this study complete with it's fraudulent claims and the doctor who wrote it have been discredited? 

I feel lucky I don't have to rely on the herd, or let them down...

I am immunised.
I'm socially responsible at 7 months old.
I have had my 'five in one', my Meningitis C and my pneumococcal jab alongside my oral rotavirus vaccine. Granted I haven't had MMR yet as I'm not old enough, so maybe I am relying on the rest of you until I can.

I feel very lucky to live in a country where I get an immunisation programme for free...

But I don't take it for granted. I don't need to queue for days or beg for health.
Even though these illnesses aren't rife in my country, I could become complacent (I see what happens in countries who children can't have the luxury of preventative medicine).
I am grateful for the immunisations I'm provided to help look after me.

I feel lucky to of had side effects from the immunisations...

The grizzliness, the mild temperature, the crying.
They are all very common. They are all short lived.
My parents feel lucky too that they had a sleepless nights and felt their heart lurch at the tears in my eyes from being jabbed at the doctors surgery.

Yes, they feel lucky.

Because they would rather feel that and have my presence near to them, for me to stay me, than to think about what would happen if I contracted the disease.
How lucky are we to live in a developed nation where they can suffer those few days in my lifetime rather than my lifetime cut short?

I feel lucky I can be a superhero...

I get to save the lives of my friends without even trying by herd immunity.

As I go through life, at least one child in my class will be struck by childhood cancer and will not be able to have some vaccines. They will have a weakend immune system.
They rely on me to protect them.
They rely on me to be their superhero.

I feel lucky that my parents can make the best choice for me...

I understand that everyone deserves a choice. But I'm too young to decide so I rely on my parents to make the best decisions for me.
I rely on them to make informed decisions, to look at the evidence and to trust the professionals.
There is no ulterior motive.
They just don't want me to suffer from something preventable. They wouldn't be able to live with themselves.

I feel lucky my parents won't feel guilty...

They won't live with a regret that they wish they had vaccinated their child after I was the 'unlucky' one.
They won't have to wish that an unborn baby contracted congenital rubella from their child.
They won't have to wish that a whole team of doctors and nurses fought to save their child's life, having to leave an unsuccessful resuscitation numb and distraught. This team then faces a nightshift, holding it together for their own family when they return home.

They won't have to question - was it me that caused this?
They won't have to hear that this was a preventable death.
There's enough as parents they will feel guilty about.
Having me immunised isn't one of them.

I feel lucky my mum has seen suffering

Because her experience keeps me alive.
My mum has read in the text books what can happen if a child gets measles.
She has seen it in real life too as imunsation rates fall. Outbreaks rise. Fear of vaccines spread just like the disease - whooping cough, measles to name a few.

She tells me one of the biggest breakthroughs of my generation, that I don't even realise is the new meningitis B vaccine . The disease which she has seen take life and limb. I may never see it now but I'll be reminded to be grateful how lucky I am.

 She says...

She only asks that if you are not sure whether to vaccinate to:
  • Think about how lucky you are to have these vaccines.
  • To consider the implications and the chance you take by not vaccinating. Not only for your child but for others. You may think, 'so what if my child isn't immunised? The rest of the class is and he won't get it'. But what if 10 other parents have the same thought? You have yourself a little pocket there just vying for an outbreak.
  • Know that vaccines are safe. She knows vaccines have side effects. Every medicine, every herbal remedy, everything with a chemical compound that naturally occurs in the world even, has a side effect...But have you ever thought or researched the side effect of contracting the disease by not having the vaccine? 
She knows it can be a tough decision when there is so much information out there and how much pressure there is on parents either way.

Please arm yourself with the correct knowledge.
If you are reading something on the internet question, who wrote it?* What gives them the knowledge to say so?

*I understand you are now questioning who is writing this article. That's GOOD. Continue to do that.
Just because someone hit 'publish' doesn't mean it's true. Just because it happened to them, doesn't mean it will happen to you.
Every parent wants to protect their child. Every parent wants their child to be protected. Help protect other peoples' children too. Consider vaccinating.

We both say...

We can all be lucky. Let's protect our children.
 Firstborn even pulled a vaccination face, just for you guys
If you want to read some thing more scientific and in depth, rather that what I think my son may think about vaccinations then please go here to the NHS website
Thanks for reading, I hope it makes you think about the diseases behind the vaccines and give you kids a big hug tonight for sticking around, being well and braving those jabs. 
Humour disclaimer: This article is distinctly less humour filled than my normal posts. It was hard to make a crack about communicable diseases that can kill and maim. And I couldn't think of any jokes anyway.
If you still like what I write - both serious/soppy stuff about my kids and the funny stuff then feel free to get more by email, Facebook, Twitter etc - all my links are on the right and up a bit and below.
And nominate me, please...ah, go on. I try to make people laugh, after all humour is the best medicine (look at my my other posts for this, not this one) and to help inform others as a Doctomum. Every vote helps and is appreciated *Gives virtual puppy dog eyes*

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  1. Absolutely! Important points delivered beautifully by your little cutie.

    1. Thanks, that picture was the inspiration for the post. Cute baby with play doctors kit holding plastic syringe = post about immunisations!

  2. Great idea to tell this story from the child's point of view. So many important points. Well said. I do feel for parents, they only ever want the best for their children and it can be so confusing to decipher what the truth is.

    1. Yes it is so hard for parents - they already have too many decisions to make and the information out there can be even more confusing and conflicting. Each article or opinion seems as worthy as the next.
      We are privileged parents to have been taught how to sift through the nonsense articles at med school. Now I see why those boring lectures on how to critique a paper were so important!

  3. Loved this. Having just got J vaccinated, and even though I knew the autism link study has been discredited, it was still a niggle in my mind. This reassured me that I've done the right thing. The risks of not doing it are greate to me. And seriously how bloody cute is that photo!x

    1. You know, EVERYONE has that niggle! Even the most educated of people. I have countless friends and parents say the same thing - all from one discredited article. If anyone ever mentions the Andrew Wakefield article, please have a look at just the Wikipedia entry on it - it makes for very enlightening reading.

      You have done the right thing. A great big thank you from lots of other parents and children to you for vaccinating J - you are their hero!

      PS: The cute picture and my new sentimentality were the inspiration for the post!

  4. Great post. All my children have been vaccinated, it is something I am passionate about. People seem to think that measles is a mild disease with just a few spots because they are not familiar with it. My mom was almost blinded by it as a child and would've been saved all the pain if vacinations had been available then #thelist

    1. That's such an important story to tell Louisa. Just knowing what happened to your mum may help someone make a positive life changing decision for their child. We don't see the horrors these illnesses can bring anymore BECAUSE of a good vaccination programme - which has been both a blessing and a curse.

  5. Fabulous post! It is so difficult the wade through all the information when you have a child, but I think we are lucky to have the health care we do and Baby was vaccinated. Thanks so much for linking up to #TheList x

    1. Indeed. We are so lucky. I hope people can just trust the professionals and the NHS to help them make the decision.

  6. Great post! I've just taken my youngest for his 1 year immunisations and it was horrible but your points are great, we are very lucky to have them. Xx #twinklytuesday

    1. Its hard to feel grateful at the time when they have big fat tears rolling down their cheeks and a look that says 'you did this mummy!' but in the long run it could any years on to theirs and others lives.

  7. Totally agree with this, its still shocks me so many people latch on to 'that' study despite it being the biggest heap of rubbish. I think its irresponsible not to get your children vacinated and its only parents opinions founded on usually nonsensical reserach that makes them against it, if the medical professionals who know far more than me on this recommend it then I think its important! Great post #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Thanks - you just put my whole article in a nutshell! Brilliant!

      If people can just trust - it would go a long way.

  8. Great post, I am so passionate about vaccination - for me the biggest thing is the social responsibility - if another child or someone with low immunity caught something from us as a result of us not vaccinating, I would be horrified. We are so lucky to be able to prevent our children from these terrible diseases (and I had measles). #twinklytuesday

    1. A first hand account from you, thank you for sharing your thoughts on it. Really makes a difference to hear from someone who actually had it as it's becoming a bit of a mythical disease. I'd love to hear your account of it (if you're ever thinking of writing a post).

  9. This is a great post. And talking from experience, I think that some people don't fully understand the risks associated with so called 'childhood illnesses'. My auntie was born totally healthy but caught measles when she was a baby. The measles damaged her brain and she is now what they describe as 'mentally handicapped'. She's just turned 60, so has had a long life — all considered — but you can't help but wonder how different her life would have been, if a vaccination had been available back then.

    I find it utterly staggering that nowadays we are offered these vaccinations in this country — for free — yet some people still don't take advantage of them. The risks of vaccinating your child are minimal in comparison to what *could* happen if you didn't and your baby (or someone else's) caught measles as a result. I had it as a child and had no adverse effects but my auntie wasn't so lucky. Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday x

    Caro | www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

    1. Measles is an absolute horror of a disease - and you can suffer the effects up to 10 years afterwards with a form of brain damage called SSPE. So that means you may be fine and dandy, until 7-10 years passes after you suffered from measles, then you get a regressive disability and sadly die. Don't worry youre past that, but I don't think many people do know about what can happen.
      The most common serious complication is measles pneumonia which also children can die of. Its all very serious stuff.
      I'm not glad you've had measles or your Aunt, but I'm glad you've shared your story as it may help someone with their decision over vaccinations.