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Interview 17

Brief Outline: For DTaP/IPV/Hib' After her daughter had a reaction to the second set of immunisations she took advice from her GP, a hospital consultant and a doctor friend. In addition she got a second opinion from a paediatric immuniologist, which helped her to make a decision.
Background: At time of interview' married, one daughter aged 7 months. Parents occupation' Mother- Solicitor, Father- Investment Banker. Ethnic background' White-British.

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A paediatric immunologist was able to provide her with enough information to make what she feels...

A paediatric immunologist was able to provide her with enough information to make what she feels...

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So I went back to my GP and he was extremely helpful. And he did give me the number of a paediatric immunologist. And the person I spoke to, called me back very quickly and he was, basically, he was able to provide me with enough information, to make what I feel was the right decision. Firstly, because I'd found out the facts and I can't remember who told me this, but the five-in-one injection, has only been around for a few months. But apparently, a very similar form have been used in Canada, for about seven years, so it wasn't as if this was a new vaccination and no one really knew what was going, you know, what reaction it could have. It had been tried and tested somewhere else for some time, although it wasn't identical. 

The other thing was the fact that which was key, was the fact that if you only have two out of the three sets, you really can't, it's not as if you can say, well that almost covers you, the third is just a safety check. You know, you cannot say that you've got sufficient cover after having two. So they always recommend that you have all three, if you possibly can. So that was really helpful. And a third thing was, that he reiterated the fact that any severe reaction would happen very quickly. So I would actually be in hospital at that time.

I had a five-minute, less than ten-minute call, with this paediatric immunologist, and it just was like a breath of fresh air. It was a huge relief because I felt I could then, make a, the best decision that I could make, under the circumstances, being always aware that there was a risk and it actually went extremely well. So and I'm very pleased that I went ahead and actually I'm, I'm pleased that I made the decision. And I'm pleased that it went well at the hospital and that's she's now protected against those illnesses.

 

Listen carefully to parents' concerns so that you can answer their questions.

Listen carefully to parents' concerns so that you can answer their questions.

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The good way is listening properly to what you've got to say and to what you're asking. The impression I got when I was first given advice at the first hospital, was the fact that the registrar had, had a quick word with the consultant before, looked at my note. The consultant said, 'Well when you see the patient, well, patient's mother's, say this' and say that's what she did, so she couldn't' I mean, maybe she's still training, so she couldn't answer any more questions. Then she went and got the consultant and he wasn't listening to me either.

And I think, that when I spoke to the paediatrician immunologist, he sat quietly, he listened to everything I said and then he gave me his response to my concerns and I think that was the big difference.

It's very easy to' especially if you've come across things before, just to, and you're busy, to feel impatient and think, yes, yes, yes, I know, I don't want to know all about the details' this is what your question is. But actually if you listen to someone properly, then it might not be their question and then you might be able to reassure them about things that you didn't know that (they) would ask you. So I think it was listening properly and answering your question, rather than just telling someone what you think they should be asking you, because that then' yeah because it's almost like you had a prepared answer that you' it was almost like the consultant was getting frustrated with me for not asking the question, he wanted to answer [laughs]. And I've seen that in lawyers, a lot as well, where they say, 'No, you, what you' you don't want to ask me that question. You want to ask me another question.' And I know the reason they say that is because they don't know the answer to the question, that you have actually got. So that's what I would say.

 

A doctor friend gave her advice after her daughter had a reaction to the first immunisations.

A doctor friend gave her advice after her daughter had a reaction to the first immunisations.

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I went away and spoke to, I didn't really know what to do. So I spoke to a friend from university who's a GP, who's got two children. And she was really, really helpful. She first of all, she told me the fact that any severe reactions, such as anaphylactic shock, which is what I was very concerned about, would happen very quickly.

One of the things that had been mentioned to me when I went to the hospital was that I could get the immunisations in a hospital setting. But it would be done at twelve and I'd be sent home about eight. And because there was an eleven hours delay before the reaction happened last time, I thought, 'Well, I can stay at the hospital for eight hours, but that's not really going to help me, if she's going to have an reaction at two o'clock in the morning'. So the fact, it was very reassuring to know that any severe reaction would happen very quickly, so at least I would be in hospital, if that happened. The other thing she said was the fact that I should go back to my GP and ask for a second opinion, because obviously I wasn't satisfied with the information that I'd got so far. And that I should actually ask to speak to someone who's a specialist, a paediatric immunologist. So I went back to my GP and he was extremely helpful. And he did give me the number of a paediatric immunologist.  

 

It can be a huge relief to talk to an expert so ask for a second opinion if you don't feel you...

It can be a huge relief to talk to an expert so ask for a second opinion if you don't feel you...

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I'd say ask for a second opinion, if you're not satisfied, with the information that you're being given. Go back to your GP, if necessary, because they'll be very helpful. And if necessary ask to speak to a specialist immunologist. I had a five-minute, less than ten-minute call, with this paediatric immunologist, and it just was like a breath of fresh air. It was a huge relief because I felt I could then make the best decision that I could make, under the circumstances, being always aware that there was a risk and it actually went extremely well. So and I'm very pleased that I went ahead and actually I'm pleased that I made the decision. And I'm pleased that it went well at the hospital and that's she's now protected against those illnesses. 

 

Talking to a paediatric immunologist helped her to decide to allow her daughter to continue with...

Talking to a paediatric immunologist helped her to decide to allow her daughter to continue with...

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So I went back to my GP and he was extremely helpful. And he did give me the number of a paediatric immunologist. And the person I spoke to, called me back very quickly and he was, basically, he was able to provide me with enough information, to make what I feel was the right decision.

Firstly, because I'd found out the facts and I can't remember who told me this, but the five-in-one injection, has only been around for a few months. But apparently, a very similar form have been used in Canada, for about seven years, so it wasn't as if this was a new vaccination and no one really knew what was going, you know, what reaction it could have. It had been tried and tested somewhere else for sometime, although it wasn't identical.  

The other thing was the fact that which was key, was the fact that if you only have two out of the three sets, you really can't, it's not as if you can say, well that almost covers you, the third is just a safety check. You know, you cannot say that you've got sufficient cover after having two. So they always recommend that you have all three, if you possibly can. So that was really helpful.     

And a third thing was, that he reiterated the fact that any severe reaction would happen very quickly. So I would actually be in hospital at that time.     

One of the other things, I did try and find out when I first went to the hospital, whether or not, you are able to get, either go back to the three-in-one or have the jabs separately, because I assumed that you could just have one at a time. And I believe they're not available anyway. So the choice is either you have all five-in-one, or you might be able to have it without the whooping cough, but I'm not even sure if you can do that now. So it wasn't as if you could just have one, and even if you could have them separately as I think it was the specialist who told me, you could end up with five separate reactions. And obviously I didn't want to put my daughter through that, and I thought that doesn't really actually help at all because I'd be on tethered hooks for five times and eventually you know, will have the actual injection, which will cause the reaction. So I decided, my husband and I decided to go ahead with immunisation.

 

Short term worry that her daughter might have another reaction from the DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccines was...

Short term worry that her daughter might have another reaction from the DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccines was...

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It's difficult because ultimately I would rather go through a short-term worry for a long term peace of mind. And if in, I just can't, if I decided not to immunise her then I think I would always be worried that she would pick something up, because you know, she might go travelling when she's eighteen. She goes to, we may not have these illnesses in this country, but she could go somewhere abroad and you don't know what she's going to come in contact with and that's why I think it's quite, it's quite a high-risk strategy not to immunise, unless you really feel very sure that something could you know, could harm your child. I think that you should, well, it's up to the individual parent but I think it's safer to immunise, myself. 

But I just think that they've been immunising children for years and years and then this is the problem that you have in all these countries, isn't it? With children dying. And I suppose decades ago in this country lots of children dying for illnesses that we're very fortunate today they don't die of. And I think you're playing a bit fast and loose with, I don't, I think it is very dangerous to stop immunising children. But I don't think people appreciate how prevalent these illnesses were before. And how often children died, basically.

 

Her daughter had swollen eyes eleven hours after her second set of injections at 3 months old.

Her daughter had swollen eyes eleven hours after her second set of injections at 3 months old.

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So she had the second jab and this was just before lunchtime, on the Friday, and she cried initially, and then she calmed down very quickly and she was absolutely fine. And to be honest, I forgot to give her the Calpol, because, she seemed fine and didn't occur to me until several hours later. And I thought, well there's no point giving it to her now, because she's obviously not had a problem with it. And then it was eleven hours after the injection, she I noticed that one eye had become very swollen. And we phoned the NHS Direct and in between then and the nurse phoning us back the other eye became rapidly very swollen in about the space of twenty minutes.  

This was very frightening because our first concern, of course, was the fact that her throat might close up and she might have difficulty breathing because we didn't know what had happened. We were advised to take her hospital, which we did. And the hospital that we took her actually phoned through to a paediatrician at another hospital, and advised to give her Piriton. So we gave her 5 mls of Piriton and then they said, 'Bring her back… give her another dose in the morning… and if the eyes haven't gone down, bring her back but if they have gone down and it will take two or three days then I would just see the GP on the Monday.'

So we had a very fraught night because of course, she was wanting to fall asleep because it was about one o'clock when we left the hospital. So I couldn't keep her up, but at the same time, the doctor told me to keep an eye on her throughout the night. So we had her in the room with us and I checked on her every hour. The next morning, her eye had gone down somewhat, that's when we spoke to NHS Direct again, and we were advised that if we were still very worried, which we were, to take her back to the hospital for a check-up. So we went to the other hospital which had the paediatric unit and they checked her over. And the eyes, by this time, the eyes were really starting to come down and they said that they should go down over the next couple of days, which they did.  

They said that they didn't know what could have caused it. They did ask me whether or not I'd eaten anything different. To be honest, she was, my baby was four months old at this stage, and I'd been having the same thing for lunch every day [laughs], for weeks. So I knew it wasn't anything that she could have eaten because I'd, my diet was, had been exactly the same, there'd been no change there at all. So the only thing different was the jab. So we went back to the GP, as the hospital suggested, and the GP suggested that for the third set of immunisations, we have them in a hospital setting.  

So there was no reaction and it was absolutely fine, after she had her immunisations, and I'm really pleased that I had them done.

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