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Opinons on vaccinations?

(21 Posts)
mollypatterson Fri 27-Nov-15 16:42:55


I'm not too sure how this website works, but I figured for what I need to know this is probably the best place to come to.

I'm currently writing a fiction book that debates with the ideas of vaccinations, the main character is a loving mother who is debating whether or not to vaccinate her young child. But as I'm not a mother myself, nor do I know any, I'm at a loss on how to write about this topic or what to say.

What is everyone's opinions on vaccinations? Are they good for your child or could they perhaps hinder your child? Do you become a bad mother for NOT vaccinating your child?

I'd really appreciate some advice/answers, thank you!

FishWithABicycle Fri 27-Nov-15 17:03:23

There is no "debate" to be had except in the minds of people with no understanding of science. If this fictional character of yours is going to be written as stupid enough to think it might be worth risking fatal or seriously damaging illnesses rather than an injection proven to reduce or eliminate that risk, then she isn't going to be convincing to the reader as she "explores" this really very simple question.

Youandmemillerscow Fri 27-Nov-15 19:50:44

What an interesting idea, sounds like a thriller in the making!!! hmm

"Are they good for your child or could they perhaps hinder your child?"
Why do you want to write about it if you don't know anything about the topic of vaccination, nor of being a parent. What are your thoughts and feelings on the topic? <Awaits response most curiously>

AuntieStella Fri 27-Nov-15 19:57:27

When is the book set, and in what country?

Which vaccinations? And how is this relevant to plot or character development?

yeOldeTrout Fri 27-Nov-15 20:00:29

How old the kid is determines Which vaccine to worry about.

PurpleDaisies Fri 27-Nov-15 20:03:53

Vaccinations save lives. Only idiots don't vaccinate their children (medical exceptions aside).

Hope that helps.

PurpleDaisies Fri 27-Nov-15 20:06:18

Why do you want to write about it if you don't know anything about the topic of vaccination, or of being a parent?


iMatter Fri 27-Nov-15 20:18:20

You might want to rethink the subject matter of your book.

Perhaps consider something you know even a little bit about <helpful>

I can't think of any good reason for opting out of vaccination, aside for medical reasons. A family member of mine is disabled due to childhood polio. Two of my other family members have contracted meningitis - one as a teen, this person is now ok but was pretty ill for quite a while. The other died in infancy.

Y0uCann0tBeSer10us Sat 28-Nov-15 13:11:54

I've never met anyone who seriously believes that all vaccines are evil constructs of government conspiracies (or whatever), I think such people are very rare. Where there is any debate it tends to be around scheduling (is it best to give so many at once/so young) or around those vaccines that either don't work well or are introduced purely for the benefit of other groups (or both, like the childhood flu scheme). I find in real life very few people have black and white views on vaccines, and very few people treat them all as equally necessary/safe/effective (which of course they aren't).

SideOfFoot Mon 30-Nov-15 18:16:51

They could be good for your child or they could be disastrous for your child. Nothing is risk free and this aplplies to vaccines too. The issue is much more complex than some posters here seem to think. Some vaccines are given to stop your child passing a disease on to someone for whom it would be dangerous, e.g. Flu, rubella. People who can't be vaccinated need to be protected by herd immunity, this needs healthy children to be vaccinated so that they don't pass the disease onto someone who can't be vaccinated. This raises complex moral issues.

Good luck with your book.

Andro Sun 06-Dec-15 00:25:54

Vaccinations are like Russian roulette, except the gun has a million barrels and only one is loaded. If your child is that 1 in a million vaccination can be very bad and potentially fatal, for the vast majority they are good (neutral at worst).

What is far more problematic than the vaccination program, is the reluctance of hcp's to acknowledge that adverse reactions happen (mostly minor thankfully, but not always). It can be almost impossible to have an open discussion about adverse reactions and their development, given that any medication can cause a bad reaction I have never understood the reluctance to discuss vaccines and their reactions.

Becles Sun 06-Dec-15 00:47:58

Dear Android

Aside from the already published information, stats and disclaimers that come with any medical intervention, please could you tell us more about the unacknowledged adverse reactions that are being brushed under the carpet.

A link to any peer reviewed studies, articles or exposes by reputable scientists or journalists on this mattersmile would be fab.

Becles Sun 06-Dec-15 00:48:35

Andro Stupid autocorrect

AuntieStella Sun 06-Dec-15 10:16:46

OP: please come back and tell us more about the book.

It'll make a huge difference if we just know which country and which decade it is set in.

Also, it would help if we knew what else is going on in the book, how the mother's vaccine thoughts serve the main plot, and what outcome is needed from those thoughts for the continuing plot.

Right now, if the book is set in UK at all, it could be anything from a historical novel in the early 1700s with (pre-Jenner) attempts (I've seen churchyard monuments to its failures), or the 1870s anti-vaccination movement, the 1920s/1950s advances, 1970s DPT controversy, 1990s lapsing of single measles licence, or something completely different.

Y0uCann0tBeSer10us Sun 06-Dec-15 10:18:01

I'm not aware of any peer reviewed research on the issue of downplaying side effects, which of course just means it hasn't been investigated rather than it not being an issue.

I do however recognise the situation Andro describes. Certainly the HCPs we've encountered have all been primed to 'reassure' and tend to tell you that your baby may be a bit unsettled (rather than screaming all day), or they might have a bit of a temperature for a day or so (rather than very high fever for several days) etc. When you read the vaccine inserts however the real story including rates of side effects is often different to the impression given with the HCP. The constant stream of 'my baby has been burning up and screaming for days, when will it settle down?' type posts on parent group websites make me think a lot of people have this problem too.

I suppose it makes sense to put a positive spin on things when you need parents to make the 'right' choice for the sake of herd immunity, but I do think there's a moral issue there. I also think it backfires in many cases - I'm certainly a lot more cynical now and don't take anything I'm told at face value and I imagine a lot of parents are the same. A more forth-right discussion on what might actually happen wouldn't have led to that lack of faith.

sugar21 Sun 06-Dec-15 10:28:33

My dd died from meningitis 4 years ago. She was 17 months old.
If the Meningitiy vaccination had been widely offered at that time I certainly would have accepted the offer to have her vaccinated.
Which is worse, having a baby with a temparature and being a little bit poorly for a couple of days.
Or watching a tiny coffin go into church.


annandale Sun 06-Dec-15 10:38:23

Auntie stella or it could be the 1832 cholera epidemic, where the efforts to introduce vaccination caused riots I believe.

OP I wish you luck with writing about this - I certainly believe authors can write about stuff they know nothing about personally, or what is creativity for? I am about as pro-vaccination as it is possible to be. However, there is an emotional conflict in watching a stranger break the skin of your precious child and cause them pain, and in knowing that you have agreed for that to happen. I had an unpleasant reaction to the flu jab this year, which is not at all uncommon (about 10%) and it was no fun at all. It is not pleasant looking after ill children and knowing that you caused it to happen.

AuntieStella Sun 06-Dec-15 10:43:43

Yes, annandale there are lots of different times and places where vaccinations might have given pause for thought, and this play a part in plotting a book.

Perhaps it's someone in Nigeria, trying to access vaccination at all, when the local religious leaders have decreed that it must not happen and attackers on medical workers have led to the suspension of the programme? (More health workers have died from polio immunisation related murders than from the disease in that country).

Andro Sun 06-Dec-15 14:55:26

Becles - its not being brushed under the carpet in terms of the literature, the problem comes when you try to discuss adverse reactions with hcp's. I've had one doctor suggest that the near fatal reaction my DD had to a vaccine was 'an unfortunate coincidence' and 'likely a reaction to something she ate' - she hadn't eaten anything!

The odds of a serious reaction are minuscule (BTW, I am very much pro vaccination), but for some reason no-one wants to discuss it when it does happen and I don't understand that. People understand that any drug/procedure can go wrong, it's not normally anyone's fault it just happens, so why try and deny it when it does? The wouldn't be so evasive if it were penicillin causing the problem.

I'm sure there are many hcp's who are open, honest and will engage in frank conversation on the subject...I wish they were all like that.

FishWithABicycle Sun 06-Dec-15 23:07:12

sugar21 so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing it on this thread though.

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