Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Mummy's little pin cushion

To vaccinate, or not vaccinate. That is the question.

Seeing as Grace was leaking like a watering can in the bath tonight, it was evident that we elected to go ahead and we didn't really think twice about it. So much controversy over the alleged link between the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) and autism over recent years has led to pocket outbreaks, the latest to hit in Wales earlier in the summer. Since the links to autism were largely quashed the uptake of the vaccine has increased to an average 90% across the UK while protection only really exists if 95% of the population have it. In some areas (e.g. Wales), uptake of the vaccine is much lower leaving the risk of measles outbreaks which can be fatal in young children wide open. (In fact according to the BBC and the Guardian, they had an outbreak as recently as June with 30 reported cases).

Quite worrying for me is the Leeds PCT and Wakefield PCT only have 84% and 75% for both first and second dose uptake in the area - way below guidelines for safe immunisation practice. Inadequate information might be to blame, not so much about the MMR controversy, rather immunisation protocols themselves. We last saw our health visitor when Grace was 6 months. Around her first birthday I then had a letter inviting us to attend for the 3 jabs - no information was provided over for what or the reasons behind it. Yes I'm the first to google, background read and generally gen up on things so I know the low down - but evidently around 25% of our neighbours don't. And I doubt they're wittingly putting their children at risk. I did have a quick look in the 'red book' that records her health and development but I found it sorely lacking in the kind of info I wanted.

So yes, Grace has gone to bed like a bear with a sore head. She'll be fine, she's Mummy's little pin cushion - and I'm glad we made the decision to immunise.

Any thoughts?

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