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To think the response to the measles outbreak in Wales has been too slow ?

(108 Posts)

Like many other parents of children who are now teenagers (or thereabouts) we didn't have our DC's immunised with MMR as youngsters. With the current outbreak of measles in Wales, and also now they are older, we have reconsidered and decided to ask for the vax for them both. I phoned my GP surgery this morning to make an appt. for them. Receptionists initial response was ...
"Oh, I think it's too late now" shock - then after I said that I knew lots of teenagers were having the vax she said she'd get the nurse to phone me back. Lovely practice nurse did this shortly afterwards and I now have an appt. for them to have it in about a week's time.

Was a little shocked though by the receptionist's initial poorly informed and frankly somewhat judgemental response to my request.
This has also made me think of the pictures on the news of the long queues of parents and children in Wales now coming forward to have their vaccinations. The long queues make me wonder if the clinics couldn't perhaps be better resourced to cut down on these waiting times (which might put some people off coming forwards)?

If a catch-up programme had been initiated when outbreak began to develop in the autumn, and with perhaps more pro-active and better resourced programmes in clinics and even schools across the country would we have more chance of beating this outbreak before it spreads outside the Swansea and South Wales area ?

Is judgement of the decisions made by parents at the height of the MMR controversy holding practitioners and policy makers back from acting quickly and effectively in the best interests of children's health ?

I know that posting this in AIBU is a risky thing to do as some will surely say I am being unreasonable for not letting my DC's have the vax as young children, but I think the important thing is really looking at what we can all do now, especially to halt this recent measles outbreak.

All I will say in my OP in defence of my past actions is that I have only really understood about herd immunity and protecting the most vulnerable from reading threads on MN. And don't forget one of my recent actions - this morning - is to book them an appointment. smile

I am a very grateful and thankful person ubik - so no problem with thanking those that do a good job, especially helping me to look after my DC's.

smile @ goblin - Yes, MN on open tab defs !

TheBigJessie Thu 25-Apr-13 16:43:49

MiaowTheCat I entirely agree. If I had Whooping Cough, no-one realised! I didn't ever consider it as a possibility until I read the media coverage in recent years, and then my blood ran cold with recognition.

We've had Mumps, Measles and Whooping Cough outbreaks in the last ten years. Is it going to be diphtheria next? Such an elegant name for such a horrible disease, I always think.

Softlysoftly Thu 25-Apr-13 17:37:46

This thread has pissed me off. I am having to vaccinate my too young (11m) baby who is only a week out of paeds and being investigated for tb, that's a risk I'm having to take due to people not vaccinating their dcs at the appropriate time.

I'm in the outbreak area, there are signs EVERYWHERE they're are clinics EVERY WEEKEND gps are booked up with mmrs, they are doing as much as they can as fast as they can. They deserve your THANKS for being there when suddenly the reality of measels bursts your little protective bubble.

I saw a nurse in paeds who said she had been reported to a supervisor for daring to question a parent who had chosen not to vaccinate. I bet that's one of the parents queuing at a clinic now moaning about the qs and why "they" didn't stop it earlier.

georgedawes Thu 25-Apr-13 17:39:10

Thanks for answering my question.

When you initially turned the mmr down did you not really consider the possibility of them contracting measles? Was it more about the risk, as you saw it, of the vaccination?

Has anyone read the book, risk? Can't remember who wrote it but it's great and demonstrates why we're quite bad at evaluating risks, it definitely applies to vaccinations. Well worth a read, explains why I get scared of flying when it's much safer than driving a car!

AnyoneforTurps Thu 25-Apr-13 18:07:15

I can't understand why you think the receptionist's response was judgemental. There are vaccines that work less effectively after a certain age (e.g. BCG) or which are not usually given after infancy (pertussis). She was probably caught on the hop and confused MMR with one of those. It sounds as if you are just projecting your own guilt about not vaccinating earlier onto the poor receptionist.

As for starting the catch-up campaigns earlier, what makes you think that parents who had previously refused to vaccinate would have done so in the autumn, prior to the measles outbreak? Sadly, it has taken the outbreak to prove to people that the measles risk is real.

AnyoneforTurps Thu 25-Apr-13 18:14:17

softly as an A&E doctor, I once had a complaint made against me by the mother of a completely unvaccinated child who came in with a large wound in his leg filled with dirt (nasty football injury). I didn't give her any high horse stuff about vaccines generally, just warned her that he was at risk of tetanus and that it is potentially fatal. Result = complaint for "frightening her". Luckily my consultant told her to foxtrot oscar grin.

The OP needs to understand that those of us who are pro-vaccine have been putting up with abuse from the extreme end of the anti-vaccine lobby for years. I am not for a moment suggesting this was the majority of the parents who did not vaccinate, but it was a very spiteful and vocal minority. So you'll have to forgive us if we're not distraught that you didn't get the red carpet treatment from a solitary receptionist once you finally realised we'd been right all along.

ApocalypseThen Thu 25-Apr-13 18:20:00

The problem is that being selfish and anti-social often goes with a massive sense of entitlement.

Personally, I think the panic getting of MMR among the refuses now that there's a crisis is hilarious. Or would be, if they hadn't caused such issues for others. Still, I guess it's never going to be their fault. I see its now doctors who didn't persuade them strongly enough that a make up risk was a stupid reason to deny their children astonishingly effective medicine at the time, or receptionists who must be rolling their eyes rather than coddling adults who took absurd risks with their children's health against all medical advice and now don't want to be judged.


Softlysoftly Thu 25-Apr-13 18:39:11

Anyone apparently that was the nurses supervisor's response too.

Especially as the complainant was a pharmacist who said her opinion therefore trumped that of a mere nurse hmm

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