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Interview 24

Brief Outline: She cares for her husband who had a traumatic brain injury.
Background: At the time of publishing this website, this person was in the process of filing a compensation claim. We cannot display further information until the case has been resolved.

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Single vaccines had their own problems so she decided to give her son MMR.

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Because the single vaccinations are something I looked into. But they have their problems as well like, like, I looked into it. I actually booked him in twice to have the single vaccines and both days he was meant to go he had a cold or he was a bit down, so I didn't take him. And, and it was going to take a long time because it's three different vaccinations. And then I started looking onto that, and some companies say the second vaccination should be after three months, some said six months, and some said a year. So again I was just, 'Oh' you know, my head was spinning. 'Is it, is it three months? Am I doing the right thing? Should I wait a year, because then it means he's not fully vaccinated till he's 3 years old?' There was also, at the moment there's a shortage of the mumps vaccination so you put your name on a list for that, you know. Also the vaccinations were coming in from different countries, and I'm sure they were sort of okay, but it just got all very complicated and had its, and, so that, you know, it wasn't as simple as just going to give him the single vaccination. It had its own issues as well, and I, it just was too much.  

And why did you consider, consider the single vaccines?

Because I thought if it was an easy option between, if it was a choice of single or the MMR, and there was always this doubt that maybe the MMR could cause autism and other things, then I would go for the singles. But then when it turned out the singles had their issues, then I preferred the MMR. If the singles had just been very, very straightforward and very, go bang, bang, bang, there's your immunisations, every three months, he'll be done, you know. I mean, yes, 80, '80 a pop, you know, and the travel from my, you know, the, outside London to a clinic. But, no, they started having their own issues and then, so when I weighed it up the MMR just seemed the, the most sensible.

 

Explains how they made a joint decision for their premature son's MMR immunisation.

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He was, he didn't do as much research as I did. He, he sort of listened to what I said about it and made his decision. But I had to know that if anything did happen he wasn't going to turn round and blame me. Like if he felt any, any doubt to giving him MMR we weren't going to do it.  He had to be 100 per cent in his own mind that he was going to do it. But if he had any doubts I wasn't prepared to go against him on that. So it was something he agreed with. But I, I did most of the sort of, I worried about it more than him.
 
 

Talking to other mums who also had premature babies helped her with her decision.

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I had a lot of friends that I met in hospital with premature babies and we talked lots. And they're very smart women and they've been on websites and, and they've just done a lot of research. I didn't do too much research because I'm not very good at that kind of thing, but they had. And they're all I think highly intelligent women and all of them gave their babies the MMR. I only knew of one mother who did the single vaccinations. And the rest all did it and were happy with it.

 

The advice and information she got from a paediatrician helped her to decide to give her...

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He was someone, I, with [my son] being premature I saw a consultant, when he first came out of hospital, every two months, then every four months, then every six months. So a doctor that had worked with [my son] in hospital, so someone that knew me and knew [my son]. And I knew he had kids. And he didn't think twice in saying, 'Get it done'.

Did you ask him if he'd done that with his own children?

Yes, yes.

Did that make a difference?

It made a difference to me. I just talked to not lots of doctors, but I just thought, 'He's a really smart guy' you know. I mean he's a consultant for premature babies, he's so smart. I just don't believe in my heart that doctors would give you that information if for one minute they thought it would cause a problem. And I do believe that. I mean he's a very smart guy. And I think if he believed that maybe there are problems he would just say, 'It's your choice. I can't say'. But he did actually really promote it and said, 'It's really important that he gets it'. I mean it was still ultimately my choice, but I felt like he, you know, he's a smart guy, he works in the field, he works with babies all the time and I'm sure he sees the problems of not immunising children.

 

She was concerned that her premature baby's immune system may not be developed enough, so she...

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What I've heard is the immunisation is these three things going into them in one go, you know. That sort of terrified me that if he was sort of weak or ill or small, you know, how was he meant to cope, how was his immune system meant to cope with all that? I mean I've been explained, you know, that it's so tiny that it doesn't, it shouldn't make a difference to them. But I, you know, he wasn't your average, you know, buxom 1-year-old boy, you know.  

I think every mum has their concerns but [my consultant] knew mine were more specific to [my son] being young. And that's why I think he said, 'Look, if you're that worried, wait until he's a little bit older, you know, wait till he's corrective age'. Because at 1 year old he would have been actually 9 months old physically. I still think, I mean I think 1 is, I think you look at your child and if they're a small 1 and they've been ill for a while and stuff then it might be good to wait. I also did it, I think I did it in October. I felt like I should do it before winter came in because obviously babies' immune systems and stuff, with colds. And so I sort of thought, 'I'll get it done now before we get to full cold season'.
 
 

Learning that MMR had been used in other countries for many years eased her concerns about the...

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And then another thing actually I did look up and the MMR's been going on, and I can't remember how long but I think it's been going for over twenty years in America and in other countries and they've never had this problem. And I mean I lived in America for ten years and I know if there had been any kind of problem with the MMR, believe me the Americans would be suing and they'd be up in arms and it would be taken off. So that was also something actually, that in other countries it's been fine, it's been going for years and, and it's been going long enough that if autism was related to the MMR I think they would have picked up on that by now. So we're, we're a lot later giving that immunisation than anywhere else. And I do believe in America they'd be on it if there were any problems, any side-effects. So that was something else I did believe.

 

It's important to help to reduce the incidence of measles to protect pregnant women.

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I just think, reading about it and reading everything that he said, the bad outweighed the good, and, and the whole fact that recently there was a whole measles epidemic because people weren't immunising. And I, and I just, I actually do think it's socially the thing to do. I think if we'd all do it, we can stop it. And I think I did it to protect not just myself if I get pregnant again with the measles, I did it to protect other pregnant women. I just think it's something I think we should all do as a community to protect everyone around us, you know. I just wondered how I would feel if I was pregnant, you know, and met a mum who hadn't immunised her baby and there was a measles epidemic, you know. Just the more, definitely the pros outweighed the cons.  

 

Learning that MMR had been used in America and worldwide helped her to reach a decision.

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And then another thing actually I did look up and the MMR's been going on, and I can't remember how long but I think it's been going for over twenty years in America and in other countries and they've never had this problem. And I mean I lived in America for ten years and I know if there had been any kind of problem with the MMR, believe me the Americans would be suing and they'd be up in arms and it would be taken off. So that was also something actually, that in other countries it's been fine, it's been going for years and, and it's been going long enough that if autism was related to the MMR I think they would have picked up on that by now. So we're, we're a lot later giving that immunisation than anywhere else. And I do believe in America they'd be on it if there were any problems, any side effects. So that was something else I did believe.
 
 

Her son had a mild rash a few days after his MMR vaccine, it disappeared within twenty-four hours.

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It was a relief when I did it. It was a relief even the day I did it. I didn't realise how worried I was till I actually did it. And I did it and I was like, 'It's done now. It's done'. And I, and I worried, not worried, but the first week I watched and he had the little rash and, but he had no side-effects apart from that. And I think, I think you're meant to look, I think it's six weeks is it, that you're meant to look for, that things could crop up in six weeks? And I think after a week I'd completely forgotten.

And when he had the, the rash what were your'describe to me about that and what you did?

I was fine with it. I know other mothers that babies have had the rash. And it was just on his trunk, it was very pale, I just saw it in the bath. I think it had faded by the morning. I had the leaflet. The leaflet was good, you know, I read that over and over again to check. And they said, and it was exactly when they said, you know, two or three days after the injection he had it, and he did and it went and he was fine. And, and that was it. And I think, I think really within the next sort of week I just did forget about it. And now I'm, I mean I'm just relieved I did it. I'm relieved he's, he's okay.  
 
 

Her premature baby stopped breathing briefly but he was carefully monitored and he had his second...

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He was born at 26 weeks, which obviously has its own troubles, and he was in hospital for ten weeks. While he was in hospital he had to have his first immunisations at 2 weeks old, which they carried on giving him even though he was still very premature. So he had his injections at 2 weeks. And he had a reaction to it. He stopped breathing, which is very normal for premature babies, as anyone with a premature baby will know. But it was a reaction that obviously when his next lot were coming we were a bit worried. So I think he had his next lot due just after we left, left hospital, when he was about 10, 11 weeks old. So they said we could take him, to come back to the hospital to have the immunisations and be monitored. So we did that, which was, was good and he was totally fine. So that, that was very reassuring. And then I think his next lot were done just at the doctor's, and again he, he was fine with that. 

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