I rarely believe in a one size fits all approach to parenting. Whether you breast fed, co-slept, control cried, or did baby led weaning. We all have a right to bring up our children how we choose and to respect one another’s choices.
Except when it comes to vaccinating our children.
I have no time or respect for the anti-vax movement and I I truly believe it is putting the lives of children at risk.
Because these people pushing false information are having an effect. And it’s a scary one.
The UK has lost it’s measles-free status from the World Health Organisation. There were 231 confirmed cases of measles in the UK during the first quarter of 2019.
Only 87% of children are receving the second dose of the MMR vaccine. This figure falls short of the 95% uptake required to provide herd immunity.
Let me just state that again. We do not have herd immunity. We are no longer protecting those children who genuinely can’t have the MMR vaccine due to a weakened immune system, who happen to be the same children that measles could be fatal to.
It is now estimated that 1 in 7 five year olds are not vaccinated. Picture your child’s class whilst you think about that figure. And keep them in mind when I tell you that 1 in 20 children who get measles will contract pneumonia as a result, and pneumonia is the most common cause of death as a result of the measles.
Let’s not forget that measles isn’t a simple rash that you whack some calamine lotion on and hibernate for a few days. The common symptoms of measles are diarrhoea, vomiting, ear ache, sore throat, pneumonia, fever and seizures. Sounds pretty nasty doesn’t it. That’s just the common symptoms. Complications can cause permanent vision loss, hearing loss, hepatitis, and meningitis. In severe cases measles is fatal.
My youngest son had really bad chicken pox, the poor kid was covered in them and as a result has over 20 scars on his body. He felt rubbish and didn’t sleep for days. The chicken pox vaccination wasn’t available then, but knowing what I know now I would give it in a heartbeat to save him going through that.
I don’t go into things blindly or unquestioning. When my eldest son was born I questioned the safety of the MMR jab, because I remembered the now debunked research by Andrew Wakefield claiming MMR and autism were linked. So I did some research, I asked people for advice. And when I say people, I mean people with a medical degree who are actually qualified to give advice on the subject.
I take medical advice over opinion every time.
And let’s be clear, when I was researching, it was to see if we were going to pay privately to have the MMR jab administered as three separate vaccines, rather than in one dose, because I was always going to have my son immunised.
I have yet to hear one argument form the anti-vax campaign that cannot be discredited with scientific fact. You know actual evidence based scientific facts.
The figures speak for themselves; in 1967, the year before measles vaccine was introduced in England and Wales, there were almost half a million reported cases and 99 deaths. By 1998, this had fallen to an all-time low of 56 cases and no deaths.
How many anti-vax parents who don’t vaccinate their children because of the ‘harmful toxins’ in vaccines, and want their child to have a ‘natural’ immunity, would refuse medical treatment for their child suffering from complications of the measles virus on the bases that those life saving medicines are not ‘natural’? I figure that figure would be zero.
I cannot imagine how miserable it must be to live your life so cynically that you do not trust the very people who are there to look after you when you need it the most.
If you have any doubts about the safety of vaccines don’t listen to me. In fact I urge you not to. I am not a medical professional. Listen to someone who is. Look at trusted sites like the NHS and The World Health Organisation. Read the British Medical Journal. Just looks for the facts, not the fear mongering spread by the anti-vax campaign.
Remember there is no cure for measles. That’s why preventative vaccines are crucial.
And here’s some final figures to leave you with; Measles is still a major cause of child death in many low-income countries, although the measles vaccine is thought to have prevented more than 20 million deaths in 2000-2017
If you feel passionate about vaccinating children, please report any false information you see on social media from the anti-vax campaign reporting that vaccines are not safe. It takes five seconds to do. Instagram and facebook are taking this seriously and are trying to clamp down on the spreading of lies and misinformation.
We need to take this seriously too.