I hate vaccinations!I hate vaccinations, but I consider them a necessary evil. I know there are strong opponents of vaccines out there, and I’m not looking to open up debate about this. Suffice it to say that when it came to getting Little Man’s vaccines, I read EVERYTHING I could find online about vaccines, pros and cons, and I came to the conclusion that the benefits of the vaccines outweighed the risks for us.
That doesn’t mean that we consider vaccines to be risk-free. I myself reacted really badly to a vaccination as a baby – my mother still recalls her worry when my entire back swelled up in response to one of my early vaccinations. So it’s always a worry at the back of my mind when we take Little Man to get another round of vaccinations – will he react badly to this one? The thoughts of anything happening to him strikes a cold fear in my heart and stops my breath. I can’t bear to think about it.
So when it came to the MMR vaccine, I found it harder than ever to calm those fears. Even when it was officially announced that the study linking the MMR and autism was financially motivated and fraudulent, there’s still that nagging doubt in the back of my mind. “But what if?”, a little voice whispers.
We made our decision though, and last October, we made an appointment to get the MMR (and the other 12 month vaccines) for Little Man. But he was running a high temperature the night before and the doctor advised us to postpone Two months later, he was still in the grip of creche-itis, and we had been forced to cancel a number of appointments for the vaccination because he had a fever, a cough, a cold… A few people told me that minor illnesses weren’t a reason to cancel to vaccination, that he should still be fine. But that wasn’t a risk I was willing to take. How would I know whether he was getting sicker because of a reaction to the jab or a worsening illness? Charlie and I figured his immune system had enough to deal with, without subjecting it to a controversial vaccination while he was already under the weather.
So we were determined to wait until he had two full weeks with no illnesses. It took a while. So far, I’ve received two letters from the HSE reminding me that my son’s vaccinations are overdue. But every single time I made an appointment, like clockwork, Little Man would come down with something. Or he’d spike an unexplained fever (which was explained by a new tooth a few days later), and we’d postpone for another few weeks. It became a bit of a running joke between me and the receptionist at my GP’s clinic.
Little Man’s immune system finally seems to be kicking in though, and we’ve had a few weeks of good health now. So we made another appointment for Monday, and imagine our surprise when Monday morning arrived, and Little Man was fit and well. Off we went to the doctor’s for his jabs, eight months later than originally planned. I have to admit, this time was much much easier than when he was a baby. As we sat in the doctor’s office, Charlie and I explained to Little Man that the doctor was going to give him two injections, and that they would hurt like a pinch, but only for a minute and then the pain would be gone. He was so good. He barely reacted to the first injection at all, and he cried after the second injection, but only for a minute. It felt so much better to be able to explain what was happening to him, and have him understand it, than to inflict this unexpected pain on him like last time.
So far, he has reacted reasonably okay to the injections. One of the injection sites was inflamed yesterday – but we got the doctor to look at it and he said it’s just inflammation, rather than infection. And today it’s much better thankfully. I don’t think I’m going to fully relax until we get past the two week mark though. And then a couple of weeks later, we get to do it all again with his final set of infant jabs. Did I mention I hate vaccinations?!