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Help re vaccinations

(73 Posts)
charlie01 Thu 20-Jan-05 11:38:21

My DS is due for his MMR next week and I really don't know what to do. I have researched the MMR until it's coming out of my ears but I still don't know what to do.

There is a strong history of autism in my family (brother and uncle in immediate family alone) and my brother has always suffered with bowel problems. My mum is certain that his autism is not connected to the MMR however I think she is very concerned about the prospect of her grandson being given it.

I must say overall, my gut instinct is to go with the MMR, I have a doctorate in research and my scientific brain(!) says it is the right thing to do. However it's so different when it's actually your son and I know and have read about so many people who are absolutely convinced that the MMR is what started their DD/DSs autistic traits.

I feel like I am in a lose lose situation, if I dont vaccinate him I run the risk of him catching measles which as everyone knows could be fatal however if I do vaccinate he could suffer the side effects (namely autism)

I just dont know what to do. I don't know what I want anyone to say either, I'm not really sure why I've typed all this! How does anyone ever make a decision?

Jimjams Thu 20-Jan-05 11:44:03

why not go with singles? (btw i have a biology phd and haven't vaccinated ds2 and ds3 with anything- so can be done )

boudicca Thu 20-Jan-05 11:44:09

not really up on all this but could you consider having single vaccs ?
my daughter is probably going for them-seems it may be the way of covering all bases-

charlie01 Thu 20-Jan-05 11:50:39

Do you think the effect of the single measles would be different to the MMR then?

Amanda3266 Thu 20-Jan-05 11:53:44

Hi charlie,

Can relate to this totally as I had exactly the same fears with my DS - and I'm a Health Visitor who has always felt that the MMR is safe. However, when it comes to my DS the logical bit of my brain goes all mushy and the mother in me comes racing to the surface and starts recalling all the bad bits of newspaper reports I've seen. That card through the door set me in a whirl.

I think your gut instinct is right. At present there is no convincing research which links the MMR to autism and the MMR is given in many countries all over the world. I feel that if the MMR caused autism there would have been a sharp increase in cases with the introduction of the MMR which did not happen. There has been a steady increase in cases of autism though and I think that's primarily due to better diagnosis - at one time autistic children were just described as "developmentally delayed" and getting the diagnosis was just impossible.
I know there will be others here who disagree with this though.
In the end I went and had the MMR done and DS was fine but I understand the worry it causes.

I think you just have to go with your gut instinct. Ultimately it's your decision and we all make our decisions based on past experiences.

I can remember when there was the scare over the whooping cough vaccine. My brother was a baby then so my Mum didn't get it done - at the age of 2 he caught whooping cough and nearly died. I think this is what finally persuaded me that it wasn't worth the risk and that on a risk by risk basis DS was more likely to develop measles (which could be fatal) than he was to develop autism as a result of a possible and unproven effect of the vaccine.

You could also get them done singly but beware as they can be expensive and you need also to know that they have been manufactured and stored in the right way (May not be effective otherwise).

This is a difficult one and I know I don't have all the answers. In the end you've got to do what you feel is right.
One other thing - if you're undecided you can always put it off for a month or so while you think about it a bit more. I don't know what your HV is like but she might be worth contacting as well - or your GP.

HTH a bit (or have I just confused you more)

Mandy

Gobbledigook Thu 20-Jan-05 12:02:10

This is a very tough question charlie01 and not sure anyone can really answer it for you! I find that majority of people I come across on this site go for singles but in RL I don't know anyone who has - everyone I know has given MMR.

It sounds like you've done the right thing by doing your research and it seems you are able enough to make sense of it. I did the same and came to the conclusion that there was no reason whatsoever not to give MMR, but that was my rational brain and even though I too am a scientist (degree in physiology and pharmacology and have worked in medicine/drug safety/pharmaceuticals since graduating) and believed with my head there was no risk, I still felt jittery about giving it to my own child (the power of media hype eh?).

However, I went ahead and both ds1 and ds2 have had MMR and ds3 will have it once he is old enough (only 5 months atm).

The only thing is, I think if there was a history of autism in my family I'd have maybe thought twice as who knows if the MMR can in some way trigger autism in predisposed children? I think this is where much more research needs to be done. However, on the other hand, I don't see why the single measles vaccine would be any less likely to 'trigger' autism (if indeed this is what the live vaccine does) than the measles in MMR.

It's very, very tricky and I'm really not sure what I'd do in your situation. What does your dp and family think, and has your GP given any advice?

Jimjams Thu 20-Jan-05 12:26:52

The problem with the research is that Amanda cites is that it doesn't ask the right question. No-one thinks that MMR is responsible for the increase in autism (not even Wakefiled anymore). People who think there is an MMR/autism link estimate that about 7% of autism cases are triggered by MMR. This is far too small a number to be picked up by epidemiological studies. Someone needs to look at the children. I do have friends whose peadiatricians have told them privately and off the record that MMR was probably involved to some extent in their child's autism. There's a little bit about that on SN at the moment.

There is also a precedent for multiple vaccinations causing problems when singles don't. it's the reason why in this gulf war the MOD recommended that where possible single jabs were given. Research has suggested that anthrax vaccine is involved in gulf war syndrome- especially when given in combinattion with other jabs. Interestingly research at the uni of sunderland has shown that gulf war vets with gulf war syndrome have the same urinary profiles (IAG in their unrine google it and you'll get loads) at autistic kids like my ds1 (who also has IAG in his urine). Aloha knows more about the gulf war stuff than me- and especiallly about the slight ahem- cover up that went on with the research (remember gulf war syndrome doesn't officially exist either).

Twiglett Thu 20-Jan-05 12:32:51

Go sepvax then .. get the best of both worlds

you have a concern over MMR (whether it can be proved or not is a moot point really ... until the research is done proving its safe on an individualised basis there's really no point thinking about it too hard cos you'll just get brain-ache)

you believe in vaccination (it seems)

so sepvax them .. then they'll only be dealing with one disease at a time

... for me, I am strongly pro-vaccination but we have a family history of a disease that is in the Chrons family and until the research has been done I won't chance giving my children a trigger

Amanda3266 Thu 20-Jan-05 12:50:53

Yes - you're right here JJ. The research is only as good as the questions it asks and I think we can all say that nothing is going to be risk free.

For me in the end it came down to a ratio of benefit versus risk and the benefits for DS seemed to outweigh the risks. Take your point though.

Mandy

ruty Thu 20-Jan-05 12:56:13

I'm new to this site and have a 4 month old boy who I haven't yet vaccinated. I have an auto immune disorder and he already has a dairy allergy [he had blood in his poo] and gp pressuring me to get him done with scares about hib and menigitis. don't know what to do, he's sio happy and giggly, can't bear that to change. Any advice out there?

Heathcliffscathy Thu 20-Jan-05 12:56:45

in terms of measles being fatal...does anyone know how many cases and if there were other factors involved (i know that the fatality rate for all of the childhood diseases is much higher in the developing world where sanitation and nutrition are not good)?

i had measles. we all did back then didn't we? means you don't catch it as an adult?

Socci Thu 20-Jan-05 13:00:31

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ruty Thu 20-Jan-05 13:08:32

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Socci Thu 20-Jan-05 13:09:10

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Amanda3266 Thu 20-Jan-05 13:11:00

Hi sophable,

Just found some DOH stats which say that in 1987 (just before MMR was introduced here) 86.000 children caught measles and 16 died. Not a hight death rate, however 1 in 15 children with measles develop further complications which may or may not be serious eg, chest infections, fits, encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and brain damage.
Quite scary really. Once the MMR is given they say that the number of children developing encephalitis drops from 1 in 200-5000 to 1 in a million.
Thre is a website for anyone interested called:

www.mmrthefacts.nhs.uk

Also for an alternative view check out:

www.jabs.co.uk which is run by people who campaingn for children damaged by vaccine.

I feel in my own mind it's safe, however, we all remember John Gummer insisiting that beef wasn't infected with BSE while feeding his daughter a burger don't we............

Mandy

foxinsocks Thu 20-Jan-05 13:14:37

Hib used to be the most common cause of menigitis till the vaccine was introduced. My child was dairy and egg allergic and never had a serious reaction to any jab (although she did have mild ones).

If you are worried about the autism/bowel side, I would have the single vaccinations for MMR. The newer baby ones don't have thiomersal in (which was the subject of the controversy)although you're still jabbing them with 5 or 6 at once (if that's what worries you?).

Bozza Thu 20-Jan-05 13:14:40

sophable - no I didn't have measles. I was vaccinated against it as a young child (single vaccine).

ruty Thu 20-Jan-05 13:15:23

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Socci Thu 20-Jan-05 13:15:59

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ruty Thu 20-Jan-05 13:18:09

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Amanda3266 Thu 20-Jan-05 13:20:20

Hi ruty,

Socci is right - check out the incidence in Macedonia before forcing yourself into any decision. And I don't think your GP is right to call you irresponsible either - we all want to do the best for our children and when you have an auto-immune condition and are reading worrying press reports it's bound to affect you. You are not irresponsible.


Mandy

ruty Thu 20-Jan-05 13:22:04

i think sweden has brought in the acellular pertussis Socci, but might be wrong. so much conflicting info on net. and i think it still has poss serious side effects, just fewer milder ones. Can't get DT without pertussis, which i'd like.

foxinsocks Thu 20-Jan-05 13:22:17

jimjams will have a better idea on that (she has a child/children? with autism, sorry not sure jimjams) so has done a lot of research.

Do you see a specialist for your auto-immune disorder? I'm wondering whether they could help you. It's very unfair of your GP to dismiss you like it - I hate it when GP's are like that. We have one in our surgery who I wanted to punch the other day for dismissing someone's concerns about vaccination. I am truly pro-vaccination but it doesn't help when GP's won't even discuss the situation with someone. Just awful.

Jimjams Thu 20-Jan-05 13:24:27

yep vitamin A reduces the incidence of complications and fatalities, and length of the disease- especially in malnourished children. Best if its given intavenously. T here is soime recent research on this (2002?) but I don't have it to hand.

I agree with amanada- in that MMR is certainly safe for the majority of children. Unfortunately very little effort is made to identify children at risk. Different issue but it is now know that it is likely that children who are prone to autoimmune conditions are more likely to be at risk from thimerosil, yet no guidelines exist saying that thimerosil should be contraindicated in children with a family history of autoimmunity. If that recommendation had been in place when ds1 had his jabs I may have an eldest child who would someday live independently. For that reason I think it makes sense to look at your own family history- look at the research (most of which is fairly useless) and decide how much your child is at risk. After all at the end of that day- that's all anyone is interested in.

ruty Thu 20-Jan-05 13:28:42

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