Child Neglect and Vaccination - A DiscussionThursday, 23 July 2009
I was sent a link today which frankly chilled me to my very core.
The new NICE guidelines have recently been published to give healthcare professionals clear information on how to identify abuse to children. I’m glad of that, in fact I think it is LONG overdue and I raise a metaphorical glass in the hope that they will prevent future tragedies.
So why, you might be thinking, would the publishing of such virtuous guidelines chill me to my very core? Well the answer lies here
in section 1.3.11 which states that healthcare professionals should:
“Consider neglect if parents or carers persistently fail to engage with relevant child health promotion programmes which include:
• health and development reviews
Still not obvious? Well basically what this clause is saying is that if I refuse to allow my child to follow the prescribed pattern of immunisations, then I am a neglectful mother.
Now I want to say up front that I am not against immunisation per se. I think that mass immunisation has been an enormous force for good and has helped to eliminate a lot of needless death with all the heartbreak that comes with it.
That said, I am not one to go quietly into the night (she says shamelessly stealing Dylan Thomas’ line) and for once, Keith and I have been instinctively single minded on the subject. It is our intention to vaccinate our children – BUT – to do so to our own timetable and for those diseases we see as a genuine risk, because I tell you what, there are a lot of components of these new combinations jabs which frankly, even the NHS struggle to justify in their own literature.
A quick trip to the NHS vaccination site and I can talk in actual examples, rather than fluffy hypotheticals about the jab with perhaps the worst reputation of all, the MMR.
The ‘R’ element of this jab is of course Rubella, a viral derivative of Measles which, according to the NHS’ own site “is usually mild and can go unnoticed“ when caught. The danger of Rubella is to the unborn child which in itself is usually enough to make any responsible adult proclaim loudly about how the unborn child should be protected at all costs. Therefore, the argument goes, we need to immunise everyone to protect these innocents from being at risk of developing Congenital Rubella Syndrome, which I can quite understand, as we are talking about an especially nasty, preventable set of symptoms.
My issue with including Rubella as part of the MMR is this:
According to the NHS site (which I am choosing to quote as any other source might be seen as having a nefarious agenda) “in the five years before the MMR vaccine was introduced, about 43 babies a year were born in the UK with congenital rubella syndrome”. So to put that into context, out of the +/- 500,000 live births in the UK every year, 43 of them were impacted to a greater or lesser degree (we aren't told) by CRS. I don’t claim to be a great statistician, but I'm fairly sure that works out as around 0.009% infection rate. We are jabbing for a disease with a 0.009% non lethal infection rate.
Surely I can’t be the only one to find that strange.
When I was 13 I, like all my pre MMR peers was given a single jab for Rubella. As it happens, I was one of the very few who’s body take major umbrage at measles of the German variety and I was extremely ill. I lived though, and with no ill effects, but I was 13 years old, with a mature immune system and enough strength to see off the virus.
It also made sense to me, even then, that all of us girls be given the Rubella jab when we were on the cusp of womanhood, because let’s be honest, for once men can’t be blamed for this. If anyone is going to suffer because of Rubella, it is because a mother has caught it and passed it to their unborn child.
So why are we now routinely jabbing both girls and boys in infancy? Why would I want to subject my son to an injection that introduces something so unpleasant into his body when in reality, it makes no difference to man nor beast?
The answer is that I don’t, and quite frankly I could go through the rest of the elements on the vaccination schedule and make reasoned arguments to support my point of view for any one of them. Time was I could do that as a mature adult in a free society.
And that, my friends, is what scares me most.