Taking the littlest Haggard for his shots

Not just because of articles like this, ( War on Science), I’m quite into the whole vaccination deal – anything that can keep my sons alive and prevent them suffering the symptoms and after- effects of a potentially damaging or fatal illness is a good thing, I reckon.  We didn’t get around to the chicken pox shot – and they’ve both had it already, but with the stories of fatalities caused by a measles outbreak in Gauteng, the time had come to have the littlest Haggard have his MMR shot.  His older brother had it a year ago.

I’m no medical expert, but I do know that the world would be a much more miserable place if we still had polio and smallpox. I know that measles can cause permanent damage, as can mumps. I know that rubella can cause severe deformities in babies. And while I do know that I’m no medical expert, I also know that I’ve done enough reading (thank you God, for the Internet) to be comfortable that vaccinations don’t cause autism. That’s a whole different issue entirely.

I’ve taken both boys to Elizabeth Beavon at the Link Pharmacy in The Colony in Craighhall since they were babies. She did ante-natal classes with me, and is the most awesome lady – clued up, practical, and an all round nice person – the kind of person you would want to have sticking needles into your child, if there was no choice about the needle part, really.

As a mom, you feel pretty shocking, taking your lamb to the proverbial slaughter – even though you know he’s going to come out with a better chance of staying alive than if you didn’t take him. Baring that little chubby leg, and holding those precious arms tight so that he doesn’t hit the needle away is one of the most difficult things you have to do as a mom. But the pain is brief, the tears pass quickly, and before long, he’s forgotten that anything happened, and is radiating that brilliant smile at anyone who looks at him again.

I know that debates around vaccination are lengthy, heated and emotional. I also know that without them, the odds of my children contracting dangerous diseases are significantly higher. It’s a matter of weighing up the odds, really.  This is not the first time that my son has had to endure something unpleasant that will help him in the long run, and it won’t be the last. But at least I was there to love him, hold him, and kiss the tears away, reassuring him that the bad thing would soon be over. As a mom, it’s the least I could do.

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Kerry Haggard

Kerry Haggard

Kerry Haggard, mother to the two most beautiful boys that ever there were. She’s willing to do pretty much anything for the two little Haggards, but every now and then she does draw the line – and hopes that they will understand why one day. You can follow her on Twitter: @KerryHaggard

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9 Responses

  1. Nicely written ! i too have to take little Gabriella for her MMR … i have been procrastinating a bit.. i am not sure if the reaction is worse for her or mom.. but i believe that it is important and necessary to have at least the major immunisations ….

    1. Immunization is a subject that evokes very strong opinions and usually stirs up heated debate as to their efficacy, safety, and reliability. The main questions parents have to answer are whether to immunize or not, and if so, when and with which ones.

      There are several other criteria which should be evaluated before a decision is made:

      *What is the risk or probability of the child getting the disease?

      *What are the health consequences of the natural infection if contracted?

      **How safe is the vaccine that is available?

      *Is the immunity provided by the vaccine solid and long-lasting?

      *Will the vaccine stimulate the appropriate parts of the immune system — is the route of vaccine administration compatible with the route of natural infection?

      *Are there alternatives to immunization, and if so, are they safe and effective?

      At the moment Thimerosal is the preservative in the vaccines that is the ‘possible’ link to Autism. Because of this you can ask for Thimerosal-free vaccines.
      Several studies are underway to examine the possible connection between the vaccines and autism,

      Public health specialists say it is better for children to be inoculated with those vaccines than to go without protection.

      On a personal note – I own and run a playschool and I had a child that was never vaccinated for MMR and he infected a pregnant mother and her unborn baby received the short end of the stick. The outcome was horrible.
      Yes as parents we are concerned about our children. Are we also not concerned about the people around us???

      It’s a tough one and a personal choice. I think Kate Jumped the gun and started to attack Kerri’s opinion publicly. By the way….your apology came a little late, Kate.

      I am proud of Kerry for taking a stand and stating her beliefs openly. I too have vaccinated both my children and infact MYSELF too, because I am at high risk due to being a teacher.
      I am aware of the risks, but until proven 100%. I have very little to go on. I need to protect my children as best I can.

      Feel free to voice your opinions….please don’t condemn.

  2. I think this sort of thing should happen more often if we want our children to be safe from fatal illnesses

    If this came from the “department of healh”
    “Great job Guys”

    Lets keep it up for the sake of our children


  3. Hello Kerry,

    I appreciate that you are a concerned mother but there are major risk factors either way you look at it. I am concerned that an article like yours in a forum like this can be very influential and that parents take action based on your opinions without doing their own research

    There was a mom on 702 just last week in tears about the MMR and her personal opinion ( as Mother) that the MMR vaccination brought on Autism in her young child and pleading for parents to think before they hurridly vaccinate under mass panic around the Measles at present !!! Lambs to the slaughter is an apt description of how parents hurd their children blind sightedly based on the fear factor without doing their homework and forming their own personal opinions.


  4. I think the dept of health are doing a great job with the mass immunisaztion. At my daughters school proper procedure was followed and parents had to give consent for their ki8ds to get the dose and subsequent reminders were sent prior the day so that we could prepare the little ones.

  5. Thanks for the debate ladies, if nothing else, it’d good to see people voicing their opinions.

    @Mina: thanks for the facts.

    @Kate: I would venture that far more people heard the mother on 702, than are reading this blog, and that her concerns would have far more influence than my musings. This piece of writing was merely my thoughts and experience of taking my son for an immunisation, after I had considered the options. There’s nothing in my piece that encourages or persuades or instructs anyone to do the same – it just relates my experience of a free choice that I made. The piece is all about my opinion and experience, which I am completely entitled to blog about. At no point do I pretend to be an expert of any sort – in fact I affirm twice that I’m not. The beauty of blogging is that we can put down our thoughts, and that others can read them, comment on them and debate them.

    I love that there’s debate – but feel quite strongly that the debate should be about the issue of immunisation, rather than about my suitability for publishing my own experience – which is what a blog is all about, really. If you feel strongly about it, and have an experience or facts to write a thought-provoking piece that will also stimulate debate, I’m sure the guys at JoziKids would have a look at it, and you could be published too?

  6. Thanks Kerry for a great piece. As regards those replying, let us take a look at the facts here. (and let me offer the disclaimer that vaccination falls outside my area of medical expertise)

    Is there good evidence that the MMR prevents measles? Yes.
    Is there good evidence that the MMR causes autism? No.
    If you spend a little time on the ‘net googling the issue you will find that there is much “hysteria” surrounding causality between the MMR and autism.

    Could it be that the diagnosis of autism is so devastating that those unfortunate parents will look everywhere for something to blame, and the logical scapegoat is the vaccine. This probably reflects the fact that autism is often diagnosed for the first time in the period around which the vaccine is given. The hysteria was instigated by a paper produced in the late 90s by an author who has subsequently been discredited for receiving funding from a trust which was involved in litigation against producers of the MMR vaccine in the UK.

    There is incontrovertible proof that MMR vaccination virtually eliminates measles, and we have a responsibility to those who share our space, wherever that may be, to vaccinate our children. If the health department’s vaccine programme was as good as they make it out to be, we would not have a measles epidemic. There is a concept termed “herd immunity”, and by not vaccinating your children you are causing a chink in the armor afforded by widespread vaccination.

    As regards the woman who spoke on 702, it is my opinion that talk radio stations have a duty to balance such statements with expert opinion as now everyone who heard her now has formed biased feelings. (But that is a separate issue)

    /rant off

  7. Nice article – this is such an emotional issue for many parents – as we truly want what is best for our children. I too have taken the decision to vaccinate my two girls. I have a friend who, after reading many different articles has taken the decision not to undergo any vaccinations for her new born – which has caused much debate between the two of us – but I have to respect that as a parent she has done her own ‘research’ and chosen to take on the risks associated with no vaccinations – just as she has to respect that I am happy with the ‘risks’ of vaccinations – however, even with this understanding we still argue about this all the time – as you say though – thank goodness for the ability to have a healthy debate

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