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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?

runningforthebusinheels Tue 21-Feb-12 18:15:01

Bumbley, your opinion / your advice? What's the difference? You are clearly putting your opinion here, in response to a poster asking 'vaccination, yes or no?' You are still minimising and understating the seriousness of childhood diseases. Why? Your information may well be taken fom HPA/NHS websites, yet, it is confusing why you don't then agree with their advice to vaccinate?

Btw, I'm not the judge of contra-indications, but the GP's/HCP's are.

marvinthemartian Tue 21-Feb-12 18:16:18

that's not the same question at all, MuslinSuit, as you are (hopefully) well aware.

vaccine damage happens. it is rare, but it happens.

I, for one, would be really quite interested in having accurate and up to date stats on the efficacy of vaccines.

eg, I would prefer it if doctors routinely swabbed if, say, mumps or measles is suspected, rather than stating 'measles like virus' or 'mumps like virus' hmm

marvinthemartian Tue 21-Feb-12 18:20:28

I think it is quite easy to disagree with the WHO/hpa/nhs take on some vaccines.

I agree with bumbleymummy - I would prefer my daughters to have the chance to catch rubella wild, and I think it is the responsibility of the person old enough to have sex/have children to find out whether they are immune to rubella. it is not ethical (imo) to inject babies without their consent, when the adults/older people in the equation are capable of taking care of their own health.

bumbleymummy Tue 21-Feb-12 18:20:45

Actually running, my advice to the OP was,

"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."

It would be nice if the GPs/HCPs asked some questions to determine whether the vaccines would be contra-indicated then wouldn't it?

nocake Tue 21-Feb-12 18:23:45

Your decision not to have your child vaccinated, if you make that decision, doesn't just affect your children. It also has the potential to affect every child your child comes into contact with who can't be vaccinated for valid medical reasons. This is the pronciple called Herd Immunity. If enough people are vaccinated then it doesn't matter that a small number aren't because there aren't enough of those people for the diseases to get passed around. Once enough people choose not to vaccinate the herd immunity is lost and, as is happening in the US, people start catching the diseases, passing them on and children start dying from them. It may not be your child that dies. It's more likely to be the child down the street who is unwell and can't be vaccinated. I wouldn't want to be the cause of someone else's child dying...

bumbleymummy Tue 21-Feb-12 18:25:56

As far as minimising and understating goes - the NHS itself describes some of these illnesses as usually mild/self limiting and states that complications are rare.

marvinthemartian Tue 21-Feb-12 18:26:12

nocake - which common childhood illness do you think we have had herd immunity from in the uK?

runningforthebusinheels Tue 21-Feb-12 18:27:32

And the minimising the seriousness of the illnesses Bumbley? Illnesses that can kill and cause serious disablility. You blatantly did that.

bumbleymummy Tue 21-Feb-12 18:28:52

Nocake, we have never had the required percentage vaccinated in the UK to create herd immunity to MM or R and there are still outbreaks of the diseases in countries with over 95% of the population vaccinated. If you are worried about the risk your child could pose to another I hope you have vaccinated them against chickenpox too. It can be risky to immunocompromised children too.

runningforthebusinheels Tue 21-Feb-12 18:30:14

The NHS does - but still advises vaccination. So I take it you agree, as you keep quoting the NHS.

marvinthemartian Tue 21-Feb-12 18:30:28

what about your minimising the effects of vaccine damage? that occurs too, and that is why this is not (always) an easy decision to make.

I really don't understand why anyone ever has a problem with posters who say 'read all you can; ask questions; make sure you are getting sensible answers; then make a decision that is right for you'

what exactly is wrong with that?

as bumbley has pointed out - case histories aren't taken pre-jabs. no one is interested in whether your child might be contraindicated or not at that point - it really is a 'jab first, ask questions (and deny all associations) later' situation.

bumbleymummy Tue 21-Feb-12 18:46:58

Do I agree that some of them are usually mild/self limiting and rarely cause complications? Well, yes - that is what I have said. Do I think that it then makes sense to vaccinate against them en masse in childhood? No, but it is easier/more coat effective for the NHS to manage it like that so I'm not surprised that they recommend it.

runningforthebusinheels Tue 21-Feb-12 18:50:37

I don't agree it's more cost effective? Surely, if all these diseases are so mild and self limiting as you say, and a vaccine is not needed - why would the NHS waste money on vaccination programs? Surely it would be cheaper to not vaccinate and let the parents treat these 'non-serious' illnesses at home?

marvinthemartian Tue 21-Feb-12 18:53:28

it's about the loss of working productivity, in the main.

chicken pox is being lined up as the next disease to be vaccinated against routinely in the uk, as ti is 'inconvenient' for parents to have to take time off at short notice, and inconvenient for workplaces to have to cover that.

chicken pox is no more serious than it was 20/30/40 years ago, but it is being considered for inclusion in the standard vaccination programme, for these reasons.

it is more cost effective, overall, for the nhs to recommend standard vaccination. but that does not mean it is in the best interests of the individual.

bumbleymummy Tue 21-Feb-12 19:00:03

As marvin said...

runningforthebusinheels Tue 21-Feb-12 19:03:55

Is that right marvin? It's not as simple as the children not getting diseases that can kill, then? Riiiiight.

I would argue that it's pretty much in the interest of any individual that they won't have to suffer from diptheria, polio, Men C, measles, and all the others that are part of the vax program.

Vaccine damage is real, but as you say yourself, rare. No one has minimised it. You may as well argue that children shouldn't have surgery under a GA because there is a small risk of an adverse reaction.

bumbleymummy Tue 21-Feb-12 19:04:12

Also more cost effective to combine all the vaccines rather than offering them separately...

ArthurPewty Tue 21-Feb-12 19:07:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ArthurPewty Tue 21-Feb-12 19:08:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

marvinthemartian Tue 21-Feb-12 19:09:52

what is in the interest of the individual depends on many factors. none of which are taken into account before vaccinations are given.

I have been in a situation where I found out (long after my child should have been vaccinated against various different illnesses) that to vaccinate would have been a very bad idea after all.

I had been pressured for months to 'just vaccinate'. I had been told that my decision was irresponsible, and that I was being foolish (at best) and risking my child's health.

when it came to light that it was 'lucky' that I hadn't vaccinated (actually not that lucky at all, given the factors I had taken into consideration, but which doctors had repeatedly dismissed as 'not worth considering') was there an apology? any acknowledgement I was right? no chance.

I am not willing to subject any future children to vaccination unless my questions can be fully answered. they won't be, and so that leaves me unable to confidently offer up any future children as guinea pigs.

diseases can harm, yes. so can vaccines. fatal complications from diseases are rare. vaccine damage is rare. it is for the individual to decide which risk factor is better suited to their family and circumstances.

runningforthebusinheels Tue 21-Feb-12 19:13:11

Obviously, I can't comment on your own anecdotal case, marvin. Fatal complications from diseases with an available vaccine are rare now because the diseases are rare now. Prior to vaccination schedules, not so much.

marvinthemartian Tue 21-Feb-12 19:15:49

I don't expect you to comment on my case. Just stating what happens (and quite often, ime)

fatal complications rates fell before vaccination was introduced.

but aside from that - it is up to each family (who have a better idea of health history) to decide which risks are worth taking for themselves and their children.

vaccination is not, and should not be, a one-size fits all issue.

bumbleymummy Tue 21-Feb-12 19:17:32

Not true running, fatalities from the diseases fell BEFORE the vaccines were introduced. The figures are on the HPA website if you are interested. The introduction of antibiotics and tha availability of the NHS in the 1940s made a huge difference to recovery from these diseases.

runningforthebusinheels Tue 21-Feb-12 19:19:02

Sorry Leonie, only just saw your little dig there. Vaccination science and the immune system is covered in basic gcse biology - so no, I'm not.

Must I post up Tim Minchin for you?

marvinthemartian Tue 21-Feb-12 19:21:31

<snort> at taking gcse biology as the be-all-and-end-all oracle on vaccination.

must I post up the example where, to get the marks, the wrong answer had to be given to a Wakefiled/mmr question?

propaganda at its worst, imo.

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