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To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

(118 Posts)
helloitsme Mon 30-Jan-12 08:12:58

I would be very grateful for a brief summary of the arguments for and against vaccination to help me decide what to do. I am extremely unsure what to do best for my 2 year old DD who has not yet received any vaccinations. I am of a mind to select only the essential ones, maybe which have a better track record, but I am not as well informed as I would like. I have done some reading, but I still think I could learn more, especially from the point of view of convincing DH and my relatives.
So, what are the main reasons not to vaccinate, and if you choose to vaccinate, which vaccines would seem the most important? Also, at what age would you give them?

Imo it is very irresponsible not to vaccinate.

helloitsme Mon 30-Jan-12 08:30:28

Thanks for the opinion Over. I was really looking more for a summary of the arguments for and against, since I know lots of people feel strongly, and I wanted to try to figure out where I fit in on the whole spectrum of opinion.

Booboostoo Mon 30-Jan-12 08:49:15

All vaccinations have possible side effects but serious complications and severe allergic reactions are extremely rare. The risk of these very rare complications has to be balanced against the risks unvaccinated children are exposed to. Some diseases, e.g . measles, are on the rise due to more children not being vaccinated, while others ,e.g tetanus, are potentially present in a simple skin prick. Unless your child is immunosupressed, has an allergy to a vaccine ingredient or similar rare problems, I would vaccinate.

There have been some scares associated with specific vaccines/illnesses:
- Wakefield suggested that the MMR is linked to autisim, but this study was very poor to start with and has beed widely disproved. Wakefield is no longer allowed to practice medicine in the UK due to the unethical nature of the original study.

- Thimerosol in vaccines has been claimed to cause autism, but this has been removed from vaccines since 2001 (with no corresponding decrease in cases of autism).

So yes, vaccinate and do so asap!!!

The most important vaccines are those where the disease carries the biggest risks if caught. We created a bespoke vaccination schedule for DD, and the most important one is Prevenar - 1,000 people inthe UK die from the form of meningitis this protects against each year. You may also want to look at protecting against Men C, with the Hib/Men C vaccine.

Measles can be very dangerous for some children, so that is also one of the recommended ones - go singly if you don't want your child to have three jabs at once.

If you're not planning on going outside Western Europe then Polio is less important as your child is extremely unlikely to come into contact with it and there have been no wild cases of polio in the UK for over a decade.

As your child is over two years old then the 'memory cells' of the immune system will now be active so your child should have a good response to the vaccines. You can get blood tests carried out after the vaccinations have been done to check for immune response, thereby avoiding the need for a second vaccination, sometimes referred to as a 'booster'. The boosters are given to catch the small percentage of people who don't have a good immune reaction, or for jabs given before the age of one year old. I have only found one place that does the blood tests and it's down in London.

The risks from the vaccines are available on the manufacturer's websites, just google for them and read contraindications and other information. Then research the disease and check out the risks of the disease. We chose to vaccinate for those diseases where risk of disease was higher than risks from the vaccinations.

HolyCalamityJane Mon 30-Jan-12 21:12:54

I had the same query regarding the MMR my thread is over on the special needs children board you should take a look there is much greater response. And it has made me decide definitely not to get this vaccination but to get single vaccinations instead. Hope it helps.

helloitsme Tue 31-Jan-12 06:24:25

Hey thanks! I really appreciate having the arguments clearly laid out, it just seems like such a minefield and such an emotive subject, it's hard to make a clear decision for DD. I am going to show the thread to DH and then decide what to do.
I have another question. I have heard that many vaccines have either mercury or Formaldehyde in them. Is there a way I can search for vaccines that avoide these?
Thanks Holy, I am going to have a look at your thread now!

ragged Tue 31-Jan-12 08:02:46

What are the "known" risks of vaccination, because the anti-jabs people all claim that these are wildly under-reported and under-estimated, anyway? How can anyone be sure they've got an accurate set of numbers for those "risks"?

I don't think any in the UK but some of the flu vaccines have mercury in them (thimersol).
Most have aluminium salts, these heighten the immune system response (vaccinations are supposed to cause an immune system reaction). Which I know some feel strongly could be bad.
Personally I prefer the unknown and undetected possible risks from tiny amounts of vaccine additives to the known risks of tetanus/diptheria/polio/HIb/pertussis/measles/mumps/rubella/Men.C, but your choice.

BumbleBee2011 Tue 31-Jan-12 08:14:56

I had a look through different books before deciding for DD, I really wanted to be convinced not to as in theory it fits with my philosophy that modern-day people overly medicate everything - but no matter what I read it became apparent that
a) most of the negatives didn't apply to the UK (e.g dangerous additives, or schedules that put to much pressure on the baby's immune system) and
b) the people who were anti-immunisation we're all quoting each other, and not primary sources! So not very scientific IMO

Ultimately it's a personal choice, there are risks either way so just make sure you are happy with your decision. Needless to say I decided for.

kele79 Tue 31-Jan-12 08:22:57

We need to vaccinate our children, if they are healthy, to protect the children who, through illness eg cancer, can not have the vaccinations. It never used to be an issue as all healthy children were vaccinated.

MMR is on the rise thanks to the scaremongering stories.

Japan stopped the triple vaccination many years ago and the dianosis or autism neither rose or fell.

People forget just what measles can do to a child - blindness, deafness or even death.

I for one could never have put my dd at risk of catching measles.

kele79 Tue 31-Jan-12 08:23:34

Sorry meant to be measles on the rise not MMR

Booboostoo Tue 31-Jan-12 09:40:51

Thimerosol is mercuri and as far as I know you would be hard pressed to find it in vaccines in the UK, but you can always ask your GP for confirmation.

Booboostoo Tue 31-Jan-12 09:41:25

mercury even!

Kewcumber Tue 31-Jan-12 09:50:21

point of view of convincing DH and my relatives. confused

You don;t need to convince your relatives confused do you? you and DH need to decide what to do between you. No-one elses business, presumably they have their own children to experiment on.

You aren't going to know.

I vaccinated because I believe that it is safer to vaccinate than not. It feels like a difficult decision because you are making a decision to "harm" your child and feel responsible for any potential side effects. But I looked after a teenager who was physically and mentally disabled due to measles so it didn;t take me long to decide.

Wouldn't be normal for you not to be nervous though but avoiding something is just as much taking an active decision which could harm your child as doing something.

stopgap Wed 01-Feb-12 00:54:32

See my thread about my baby's bad reaction to his first set of vaccines. That said, I don't know anyone whose child reacted in the same manner as mine. Unless your child has shown signs of autism, digestive issues etc. then I would say they're unlikely to react to the vaccines, so maybe ask your doctor about coming up with a modified plan if you're uncomfortable with the standard schedule, and perhaps start with the single measles jab and Prevnar.

bumbleymummy Mon 06-Feb-12 17:37:25

Worldgonecrazy: "Prevenar - 1,000 people inthe UK die from the form of meningitis this protects against each year."

That figure is not right. There aren't even 1000 cases a year in the UK.

ChunkyPickle Mon 06-Feb-12 17:43:11

Regarding the meningitis vaccs - this article from the BBC has some pretty compelling stats for immunisation news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8015138.stm

rosi7 Thu 16-Feb-12 17:47:05

Interesting development:

http://truththeory.com/2012/02/16/doctors-now-firing-patients-who-reject-vaccination/

bumbleymummy Fri 17-Feb-12 09:08:46

Just to add another anecdote to Callins, my sister and I both had measles, mumps and rubella as children with no ill effects whatsoever. Both my boys have had rubella (they were both under a year). Mumps is also usually a mild childhood disease (about 1/3 of cases show no symptoms at all) and if you look up mumps on the HPA website you will see that there is no firm evidence to show that mumps causes sterility (the risk usually given for post-pubescent males).

Measles is very rarely dangerous in well nourished, healthy children and while it tragically kills thousands every year in developing countries there have been 2 deaths in the UK in the last 20 or so years, both in immunocompromised children.

Obviously it's your decision to make - please don't allow yourself to be bullied and scaremongered into it. Inform yourself as much as possible about the diseases themselves, their incidence rates and the risks of complications and decide what you feel most comfortable with whether it's delayed vaccinations, scheduled vaccinations, single vaccinations or no vaccinations.

Also, please don't let the 'greater good' herd immunity arguments get to you. Very few of them would pay to get their children vaccinated against CP even though it can also be dangerous to immunocompromised people. They very rarely put their money where their mouth is.

Nickoka Fri 17-Feb-12 09:17:40

My Mum decided not to have my brother vaccinated against whooping cough (in the 1970s when they did jabs separately) as my other brother had had a high temperature after his jab. My younger brother who wasn't vaccinated then caught whooping cough when he was about 8 and it was awful. It went on for about 3 weeks of the most alarming cough and puking up mucus. It was really horrible for him, and for the whole family to witness.

So what I'm saying is jabs may sometimes have side effects but you must balance this against the far far greater risks of not vaccinating.

sleeplessinsuburbia Fri 17-Feb-12 09:31:20

My mother's sister died from a common childhood disease which now has a vaccine.

bumbleymummy Fri 17-Feb-12 13:04:32

Nickoka, the whooping cough vaccine has now been shown not to provide lifelong protection. Quite a few children (and adults) are contracting it now even though they were vaccinated as children.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Fri 17-Feb-12 13:20:03

We vaccinated. I looked into it, and as someone else has said, the arguments against vaccination are very weak - people will quote anecdotes, or link to dodgy sources like alternative health magazines. On the other hand, there are many many proper studies which support vaccination.

Basically, I prefer to act on evidence.

Of course, some children do have reactions to vaccines, but it is very rare. Your child is far more likely to be harmed by these diseases.

CatherinaJTV Fri 17-Feb-12 19:19:51

if you coughed your lungs and stomach content out for 8 weeks, you are not immune for life either, so I'd rather have the booster every 5 or 10 years than another summer like that...

ArthurPewty Sat 18-Feb-12 16:52:39

it is imperative to remember two things:

It is your CHOICE. It is not mandatory. it is not your responsibility. There are dangers, risks, of vaccinating, as well as not vaccinating.

You cannot take it back - so make sure you are certain. If you're not certain, don't do it. Read more, talk to more people, seek out better sources than GPs and the DOH "its safe" line - it isnt safe for everyone.

If your gut feeling is not to do it, then don't. There are more than enough vaccine damaged children whose parents post on mumsnet to illustrate that it DOES happen, children DO get injured by vaccines, and the results are with them for life.

As much scaremongering as the other side will do about how its your duty, etc etc, there is another side to the coin.

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