Brief Outline: For DTaP/IPV/Hib' Followed recommendations of health professionals. For MMR' Reactions that their first son had to MMR influenced their decisions for their other children.
Background: At time of interview' 4 children aged 8 years (son), 7 years (son), 5 years (son), 1 year (daughter). Parent's occupation' Mother- Housewife, Father- Househusband. Ethnic background' White-British.
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Her second child is autistic and though she feels she should immunise her younger children she...
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She felt too frightened to give her other children MMR because of the reaction her oldest son had.
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And I personally don't know if it was something in the measles, something in the mumps, something in the rubella, I don't know. It could be one thing in any one of them vaccinations. It could be the fact that they're given as a threesome. I just don't know. So that's what makes me afraid to do it. And because they are live vaccines, would I be opening my children to the risk of something happening by giving them the vaccine? It's just such a hard place to be. I would like someone just to say to me, 'Do you know what? It's all right. You can have them done because I guarantee you they're going to be fine'. But even then I'd probably laugh and think, 'No, I don't think so'.
Now I'd need a cast-iron guarantee written in stone before I'd even venture down that path again. But then obviously as I've said I'm running a risk anyway, because they're, my children aren't vaccinated. So what, what infections am I opening, making them more susceptible to and what are the consequences of those? But I just don't know. I don't know which way to do it. I mean the amount of times myself and my husband have sat and discussed this, you wouldn't even believe. 'Well, should we or shouldn't we? Should we, shouldn't we? Yes, I will. No, no, I won't'.
She decided not to continue with the immunisation programme after her daughter had a reaction to...
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And what was she like?
She was just cross and she was miserable and she had swellings on her legs that were absolutely unbelievable. I mean, and upset, didn't want her bottles, didn't want any love, just wasn't consolable. And, and then I suppose you just get to the point where you're like, 'Oh, is this happening all over again? Am I going to have to do this all again? And this is my baby and look what I've done. I've done this because I've allowed her to go there as, as I did with my second or my third son. I've allowed this to happen, you know'. And then sort of you come out the other side. After sort of a week, ten days things are getting a little bit better and then after two weeks everything's back to normal and you're like, 'Thank God'. And then it's like, 'Right, the next one's due' and you're like, 'Oh, God, no, I can't go through that again. I can't do it'. And then obviously I know I'm opening the children to infection. I know, I am a hundred per cent aware of that. But the fear in me that my children are going to have the problems that their oldest brother has got is so overwhelming that I just can't do it.
Her son was agitated and started having petit mal epilepsy after his MMR vaccine and was...
So we gave [my son] the medication. It didn't, it sort of controlled his, his agitated state for a short while, but continued to be quite agitated over a couple of weeks. I had taken him back to the doctor's a couple of times because of, well, the way that he was. And they told me that he was, just had a viral infection that couldn't be treated. We approached Christmas, and on Christmas Day [my son] wasn't interested in his presents or any, I mean he was over a year old so he, you know, he did, kind of knew, but he wasn't terribly interested.
On Boxing Day we went in, and we were late waking him up, because [my son] hadn't woken us, and generally [my son] used to, up, you know, wake at half past six, seven o'clock. Half past nine, ten o'clock we wake up and think, 'Oh my Lord, [my son] hasn't woken up yet'. So we've gone into his bedroom and he was in the cot and he appeared as if he'd had a stroke. His face was all drooping on one side and he was dribbling a lot. We took [my son] up to our local hospital and basically sat in A & E for quite a while. But then referred up on to the children's ward. And [my son] continued, he was having episodes where he was just looking straight at us but didn't seem to be aware of what we were doing or even of what he was doing. Now this happened, had happened a number of times up until [my son] had gone to hospital, but I thought it was just, you know what some children are like, they're just like, 'I'm not talking to you. I'm not your friend. Go away, leave me alone'.
[My son] went into the hospital, was up on the children's ward. Basically sort of it got late in to the evening, he hadn't been seen, because there was only skeleton staff on with it obviously being Boxing Day. The, the doctor came in and saw [my son]. [My son] had an episode where he was very, he just flopped back on to the bed, very unresponsive. He was poking, 'Little [name], wake up' and all the rest of it. Called one of the members of staff. She came in, summoned the doctor straight away. And [my son] had actually had a major epileptic fit. But he hadn't had a seizure as such, he'd had an absent fit, which is petit mal epilepsy. They took him into a side room, put a line into his arm to give him intravenous antibiotics. Had a brain scan later that night and it turned out that he had encephalitis, which I believe to be triggered by the vaccine because it was one lead on from one to the other to the other. It was kind of a progressive state.
Describes the health problems her son continued to develop after viral encephalitis was diagnosed...
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And he's now 8 years old?
He's 8 years old. He'll be 9 this year.
So he completely lost his speech?
Lost his speech. And became very uncooperative to say the least. He's now diagnosed with autism, epilepsy, possible Crohn's disease, he hasn't been investigated, that was due to me not taking him to the hospital. Because I thought he's got enough going on in his life with what he has, than to put him through something else. It doesn't really make any difference whether he has or he hasn't. He takes his anti-convulsants on his, a twice daily basis. He has to take laxatives on a daily basis. He takes Paracetamol like it's running out of fashion, just to try and keep him chilled. He's now on Diazepam to try and keep, and he's on an adult's dose, just to try and keep him level. But it's not, it's not really working.