kerry haggardby Kerry Haggard, mother, writer, editor, social media voyeur, who works in communications for a living.

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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