What to do? What to do? My daughter is due for her first vaccine imminently … this week actually. At two months old my baby is to be vaccinated against Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) Pneumococcal infection. It is common knowledge that in order to make someone immune to a disease, doctors have to inject the actual disease into a person’s body so that antibodies to fight the illness can develop. My husband and I have a problem with injecting a healthy baby, who is only two months old and very little, with diseases – even if it is to build antibodies. I guess that some people just have their children vaccinated because they are told to, and that’s fine but the thought wrenches my gut and my instinct tells me not to allow it. After much thought and discussion my hubby and I have decided to delay her two month injection (as well as the forthcoming ones) until my baby’s immune system has matured. We will probably only consent to vaccinations after she is two years old and we will also select the ones we wish her to have. There is always massive debate surrounding the question of immunisations and the term ‘irresponsible parent’ is often thrown around loosely. I thus made a call to the NHS and was told that I should consult with my GP and my health visitor but that it is my right to decide whether or not to have my baby vaccinated. In my mind each choice (to immunise or not) is based on fear: the fear of one’s child getting an illness hence the choice to immunise, or the fear of side-effects hence the choice to forego immunisations. Either way, a risk is involved. I am not anti-vaccination, just anti putting a small baby under the jab.
According to the NHS, the side effects for the two month vaccine are (potentially)
• a slightly raised temperature
• some sickness and/or diarrhoea
• a small lump at the site the injection, which may last for a few weeks
• your baby may be miserable within 48 hours of having the injection.
• Some swelling and redness at the site of the injection may occur in as many as one in ten children who receive the vaccine.
Very rarely (in less than 1 in 1,000 children), a day or two after they have received this vaccine babies have been reported as:
• experiencing febrile convulsions
• having very high temperatures
• being floppy and less responsive than usual
• crying an unusual, high-pitched cry
For further information on the immunisations given to infants click on the link: NHS Factsheet