A couple weeks ago I read this story about immunization in New Zealand. Apparently, even though we are a developed country, we suck at immunizing our children.
You know, before the child was born, I sort of bought into some of that hippie thinking about vaccinations. About how sometimes, your child is treated like a guinea pig (not that I think animal testing is okay, but that’s another post). And about how you have protection in the herd. And maybe the MMR vaccination is dangerous because it’s a live vaccine.
However, we always intended to vaccinate. And we did.
When the child was six weeks old, New Zealand rolled out its Menigococcal B vaccinations, and I admit it, we did feel like guinea pigs. But we went ahead with the four rounds of the vaccine, because we felt the risks in the virtually untested vaccine (and the fact that it doesn’t last or vaccinate for all the strains of meningitis) were outweighed by the risks of actually contracting the disease, which is epidemic in New Zealand.
And thank heavens, we haven't gotten meningitus.
Yesterday, when we were up the line, running errands, we ran into an acquaintance from the village. She is a left-leaning, educated hippie type. And she was bringing her girls to the toy shop, to buy a new game, because, oh, by the way, her girls have whooping cough.
Theirs are not the first confirmed cases of whooping cough (pertussis) that I’ve heard about in the village either. One case of whooping cough was confirmed at our playcentre, and it resulted in hospitalization.
People, there is a reason why vaccinations are recommended. Because whooping cough and the measles are serious diseases.
See, I can sound right-wing if I want to.
When I was pregnant with the child, I found out that my own MMR vaccine had worn off, and I didn’t have enough antibodies to protect the unborn child against rubella. At the time, I thought, oh, there will be protection in the herd. The chances of being exposed to rubella are low. And I looked it up on the internet, and yes, the chances were quite low.
But you know what? The chances of my unborn baby being exposed to rubella should have been zero.
And of course, I should have had those antibodies checked before becoming pregnant. A service that is not readily available in New Zealand to woman planning to become pregnant.
Now, I’m not announcing a pregnancy on the internet. Although it is no secret around Wellington Road that I’d like to have another baby before I get too old. Yes, thank you, biological clock. I can effing hear you.
Not long ago, I went to my GP, and I said, um, you know, I just want to sort of get ready, just in case we decide to make another baby. Is there anything I need to do?
And he said, no, not really.
And so, I was forced to bring up my lack of rubella antibodies, which had made me do a lot of worrying when I was pregnant with the child. My GP was sort of like, oh yeah. And oh, maybe I could give you some folic acid too.
Yes, the downside of socialized healthcare. You really do need to be your own patient advocate. But then doctors get annoyed, when you’ve been reading on the internet. You just can’t win!
Anyway, I got the MMR vaccine. And I can tell you, it wasn’t very much fun. At all. I have MUCH more sympathy than I did back when the child got HIS vaccines. And I believe we were VERY liberal with the Pamol. Going forward, I plan to be even more so.
Whew. That was a bit of a tangent.
So, yes, vaccinating. I think it’s a good idea.
Unmagical thinking - I know people talk about the transformative power of grief, and I know that there’s supposed to be some alchemy whereby you internalize the person you lost...