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Singe/Combined jabs

(6 Posts)
fourmummy Sat 20-Oct-12 08:07:02


I am currently exploring vaccinations for my fourteen month old - my older children had single vaccinations. The private paed. (well known, London, not Richard Halvorsen) told me that boosters were not necessary because you can either be protected or not. You cannot be a little bit protected. His stance was that boosters are to catch children who had missed their vaccinations. He also said that if the vaccine does not 'take' in a child (very rare but does happen) then there's no point in doing it again - it won't work. Basically, his suggestions were to give a single jab (say, Measles), and then do an antibody blood test at a later date to check for immunity rather than going down the three/four further vaccinations route. All this was twelve years ago so I'm a little out of touch with these issues. I have never really understood the need for boosters as I have never been able to find research to show that in an immunised child, a booster has any further action. Any thoughts on this? Curious, and worried.

JoTheHot Sat 20-Oct-12 19:00:39

It is true that 1 dose is often sufficient. So if you didn't want to do the second doses, you could test for immunity first, and this might show them to be unnecessary.

It is not true that immunity is all or nothing. It is very disappointing that a health professional would say this. The second dose is given to raise immunity in those children who have low immunity after the first dose. If you wanted to look into it more, try putting 'titer mmr' into google scholar, and quite a lot comes back showing the effects of a second dose.

fourmummy Sat 20-Oct-12 20:06:16

Thank you JoTheHot,

I did my research on this twelve years ago (can't even remember if Scholar was available) but will certainly look it up. He definitely did say that immunity is either all or nothing - there is no such thing as low immunity, or perhaps more specifically, if I remember correctly, gradations of immunity may show up in bloods but this may not translate directly to levels of disease protection. He was adamant that children are either protected or not. It seems that the best course of action is to test for antibodies prior to each booster (boosters may thus be unnecessary). Almost impossible to do with babies but easier to do with older children. Does anyone know if GPs are willing to test for antibody levels? I guess not but things may have changed....?

sashh Sun 21-Oct-12 04:13:30

He sounds like a quack not a Dr.

The reason MMR boosters were introduced was because it was found that one dose is not always effective. It was only after a couple of women contracted rubella from their vacinated todler that studies were carried out.

Yes you can have blood tests to check for immunity. If you work in the NHS (with patients) you have hepatitis B jabs and are tested. One woman I worked with had 5 and never gained immunity, so she didn't sork with patients we knew had HepB.

But I digress. For most people a vaccine will work. For a child an injection is less traumatic than giving blood for a sample. So you may find a GP happy to do the test you also may not.

If you say you will not vacinate without the test they are more likley to do the test, but may also put you down as a bit of a crank.

fourmummy Sun 21-Oct-12 08:28:15

Thanks sashh,

I think he was a bit of a quack (I've seen positive references to him here - but he was a quack). However, what piqued my interest was the notion of 'all or nothing' immunity. I know nothing about this as it's not my field but started reading around the subject a little because I'd rather introduce as few unnatural things into my children's bodies (I have many sensitivities) as possible and also because of my belief that government guidelines are not only about health issues (sigh - wish it were not so). I understand that boosters were introduced because one dose is often found to be not enough; however, is this because the immunity needs to be 'topped up' (i.e., a little bit of immunity is garnered with the first dose, say 56%, but you need another dose to take it up to 100% or some other acceptable level) or is it because the child's system did not react to the vaccine, so perhaps further vaccines won't do anything either (or some other yet unidentified reason)? He was adamant that the first (i.e., where a little bit of immunity comes about as a result of one dose, but you need, for example, three further doses to take immunity to 100%) is a red herring as this is not how immunity works. My impression from what he said was that boosters are a move to try and catch those children who, for whatever reason, fell through the net the first time round. JoTheHot has suggested that he is in fact wrong about this assumption of immunity. However, my daughter was immunised after a single measles jab (we blood tested her) so she did not have any boosters etc.., suggesting that he may be correct in that she got 100% coverage after just one dose (so immunity is 'all or nothing'). Hmmm....

Tabitha8 Sun 21-Oct-12 16:56:40

"Between 5-10% of children are not fully immune after the first dose. The booster provides increased protection, with less than 1% of children remaining at risk after having it."
This is from the NHS website for the MMR.

They don't explain what they mean by not fully immune. I've always presumed it to mean not fully immune to all three diseases. So, they might have 100% immunity to German Measles after their first MMR but need a second MMR as the first dose didn't work for them for, say, Mumps. Have I got that wrong?

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