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Interview 10

Brief Outline: For DTP/IPV/Hib' Followed recommendations of health professionals for her first child. For further immunisations' Read leaflets given to her by her homeopath, read books and talked to her health visitor and GP. Gathered some information from the media but was aware that it may be biased to a specific perspective.
Background: At time of interview' married, 3 children, aged 10 years (daughter), 4 yrs (son), 12 weeks (son). Parent's occupation' Mother- Home Educator, Full time mum, Father- Estate Agent. Ethnic background' White-British.

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Her personal belief is that the risk of the diseases were less than the potential risks of...

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It's very hard and, and some days I do still worry, you know, it still crosses my mind and I, and I hope that I've made the right decision. But certainly some of the literature that I'd read seemed to, be quite dismissive of the fact that the immunisations actually give sufficient cover for a child anyway, and in fact in some circumstances there have been outbreaks of some of the diseases even where there's been a very high take-up of the immunisation. And that actually went quite a long way to me making my decision because I felt that I wasn't happy with the children having the injections if there really wasn't going to be any cover provided anyway. And no one could really categorically tell me that, that it would actually help them and, and keep them safe from the problems. 

So weighing up the risk, that was quite a big factor in the fact, you know, understanding that perhaps they weren't going to be covered anyway and, and perhaps only minimally. I also spoke to as many people as possible. And my mother was quite a good source because I have elder brothers and sisters and the immunisations weren't available when they were children, and she nursed them both through measles and mumps. And she felt that whilst it was distressing in some ways and they were very poorly, you know, she managed, she managed to keep it under control and she was able to nurse them through. And I felt confident that I give my children a good diet, we eat organic food when we can and we have lots of fresh air. And also we use homeopathic remedies and I felt confident that my homeopath would be able to help us prevent and perhaps nurse through any of these illnesses should they arise. So that's how I assessed the risk in the end.

 

When the health professionals she talked to weren't willing to discuss her concerns it made her...

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And I think also, I found, what I found particularly disturbing was that when I did try to discuss it with any health professional they were very dismissive and just wanted really not to be having the conversation. And I found that, that seemed to answer a question in itself that, 'What were they covering up? You know, if there's, if there's nothing wrong, why won't they discuss it openly, you know, with me?' So, you know, I found that, you know, gave me more answers than actually discussion, discussing it.

 

Her questions and concerns were not answered by the health professionals she talked to which...

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I think again as in anything, particularly in parenting, you're always doubting yourself anyway. And, and I think just for somebody to have had a listening ear really and just to have had more time, just to have said, 'Well as we're discussing now, you know, 'What, exactly what's concerning you? Why are you sceptical? What, what has brought this to your mind?' You know, 'What...?' And actually listen and just say, 'Yes, I understand where you're coming from'. And then perhaps being able to give facts and figures and information from their point of view.

 

Get as much information as you can, don't feel pressurised by anyone else and feel happy with...

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I would say, 'Try and find as much information as you can. Try and talk to as many people as you can, older people that didn't have the immunisations available to them and obviously contemporaries. And try and find a health professional who will sit and talk to you. And try and ask peoplewhat they've done. Just get as much information as you can. And don't be frightened one way or the other. If you make a decision then that's absolutely fine. You know, if you go ahead and have the injections  then that's good too because you're happy with that choice. Don't feel pressurised by anyone else, you know. Feel happy with your decision'.

 

She preferred to nurse her children through any of the diseases and chose not to immunise her...

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I also spoke to as many people as possible. And my mother was quite a good source because I have elder brothers and sisters and the immunisations weren't available when they were children, and she nursed them both through measles and mumps. And she felt that whilst it was distressing in some ways and they were very poorly, you know, she managed, she managed to keep it under control and she was able to nurse them through. And I felt confident that I give my children a good diet, we eat organic food when we can and we have lots of fresh air. And also we use homeopathic remedies and I felt confident that my homeopath would be able to help us prevent and perhaps nurse through any of these illnesses should they arise. So that's how I assessed the risk in the end.

 

Has a personal belief that immunisations are no longer as important because the incidence of...

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I believe there's some evidence that these diseases were actually beginning to die out and lessen anyway. And I personally feel that perhaps the, there should be education for parents in actually helping to boost the children's immune systems and actually putting energies into that and, and good hygiene and so on, so that the community benefits that way. I can, I can fully see, I know people have used the argument to say that, you know, 'Okay, so you're actually benefiting from us having our children immunised because that's keeping the disease rate lower'. But I've balanced that as I've said with the fact that I believe that the, that the diseases were, although still about, still around, people are getting them less anyway.

 

Believes her children's immune system is stronger through not having any immunisations.

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I strongly feel that my daughter had a worse childhood through having them. And I can't be absolutely sure, but she did suffer a lot as I've said before with ear infections and bladder infections. And in fact when she was 20 months she actually contracted pneumonia and was very poorly in hospital. And we, you, we just couldn't be sure that, although we couldn't link it directly obviously with being immunised, her immune system just did seem very weak and very poor. Whereas with my sons as I've said they had, perhaps even one of them had measles. And certainly my middle son had an ear infection last week and within two days he was actually back up on his feet. We had no question that we were going to give him antibiotics. And he had homeopathic remedies and was much, much stronger. And we feel again that his immune system hasn't been weakened and we feel that it stays strong and it can be strengthened by, you know, by other means and actually keeping them stronger. So it hasn't, doesn't necessarily have day-to-day implications but we feel happier that the boys react better, their own bodies react better.

 

Her concerns that live vaccines were given with MMR, influenced her decision not to give her...

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And some of the other ingredients seem to be an unlikely, candidates to be in such, in something that you're going to put into your body. Also I just personally feel that such a small child has a very weak and perhaps undeveloped immune system, and I just feel that it's very difficult to bombard it with so many diseases if you like all in one time. And certainly with the MMR when they're all live vaccines I just find it, you know, I just personally feel that it's a lot for a small body to actually fight and to cope with.

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