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Interview 32

Brief Outline: For DTaP/IPV/Hib' Followed recommendations of health professionals. For MMR' Didn't feel the need to search widely for information but talked to her health visitor and read information in the media before making her decisions.
Background: At time of interview' married, two sons, aged 3.5 years and 14 months. Parent's occupation' Mother- Nurse, Father- Nurse/Teacher. Ethnic background' White-British.

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Explains why she trusted the information given by the health visitor and practice nurse.

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I guess people just have to feel happy that they're, they've got the information they need. I would say I'd worry about people not trusting healthcare professionals. I would say you know, I feel quite strongly that people can trust their GPs or health visitors, practice nurses, and use those as, use them as a source of information. I don't think finding information on the Internet necessarily, about healthcare necessarily is that, is very helpful, and it's really not necessarily regulated, or you can't count on it being truthful. I think there is a, perhaps a tendency for people not to trust healthcare professionals as much as they used to, which in some ways, you know, that's people have got to, have got to be quite questioning. But I do feel on issues such as this, GPs, practice nurses and health visitors they're really not going to wish any harm on people or, or children. And I think for if one moment they thought that there was great danger that they would say so. I don't think they're, sort of just doing it because they've been told to. So, so I'd say ask them and trust them.

Having worked in healthcare for some time, I just, it's just noting most GPs' or nurses' natures to, that's not why people go into the profession really. It's, I don't think that's necessarily true. And I think, you know, people like for example health visitors don't, certainly don't get paid. And I think they'd be one of the first people to notice if there was a link and, and say so I think if they would feel it was their responsibility to do so. And so I think they, in my opinion they can certainly be trusted.

 

She read the leaflets and found that they provided answers to the things she had been worried about.

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To be honest I felt quite happy that, that it was the right thing to do. And I did get, before each of them were immunised, I got sent I suppose pretty standard leaflets, information about, about immunisation, and I was happy with what, what was on there, those. And I think the information that I needed to know was, 'What side effects would they have?' Because obviously as I say, you know, I said I was quite happy for them to be immunised, which I was, but I'm also aware that they were going to have side effects in terms of temperatures and perhaps feeling a bit unwell. And I think, you know, giving any drug of any description you're going to have something. And I just wanted to know what they would be and how I could deal with those really. And that, and that was all, that was all dealt with in the, the information I received through the post.
 
 

She knew from her own work how the media wrongly portrayed health care issues so she didn't...

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I think partly because I work in healthcare, and noticing how healthcare is sometimes portrayed in the media, and in scare stories. I'm really wary of, of anything that suggests links between things, or it, that, it just really seemed quite, you know, out of all proportion. And there really didn't seem any particular evidence, as far as I was concerned, no evidence that I was happy with that, that there was a link with autism or, you know, or bowel disease in children. I just didn't really believe, didn't really believe it and felt it was a lot of, as I say a lot of hype about something that really wasn't, I don't know, that just wasn't believable for, for me anyway. And I think it just frightened an awful lot of people unnecessarily. And just very disappointing really, you know, that, I think, you know, I think the autism was a great, it, you know, something a lot of families have to deal with and it's very, very difficult. But I don't think it helped the cause any. But I think it's detracted a lot. And it just, I suppose it made me feel quite angry in a way that, I think a lot of, when you see a lot of healthcare issues portrayed in the media and it's quite irritating to be honest. I didn't, I just didn't feel there was enough evidence there to influence my decision at all.

 

She checked with her health visitor but felt confident there was no need to be concerned about MMR.

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I suppose when I was looking, when my oldest son was about coming up for needing immunisations, there was quite a lot I suppose particularly about MMR in the, in the media. But I never really had too many concerns about getting him immunised really. And it had always been something I just assumed that we'd do and be happy to go ahead with. There were I suppose, I probably thought a bit more about it just because of the information that was there. I think I got some from the health visitor when he was very tiny, when he was first born, about the first lot of immunisations he was going to need. And I think as regards the MMR that was more, again I got some information from the health visitor, but also from the media. But I don't think I particularly went looking for a great deal of information specifically about immunisation. I don't, I felt quite comfortable with having him immunised.

 

Her relative was very unwell with measles when he was a child and she feels that her own children...

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I know from my mother-in-law, she's, always spoken, well, she spoke about it before we had children, I was aware that, that, that he'd been very, very unwell with [measles]. And, and I think it impacted quite a lot on her really having such a, a sick tiny child, with two other small children around as well. I think it, it really frightened her and, and worried her. And I don't think it had a particular impact on my decision to, or our decision to have our children immunised. But certainly it's something that you hear about people being very sick with, with diseases now that we don't really think a great deal about. But it, it's, I guess it's, just because it's not so common you don't, you don't really think so much about it. You just think it's something that's just not too, not too difficult and you get over if you have it. But he was really very poorly with it.

 

There is no need for children to suffer these diseases when immunisations are available to...

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I felt quite, in a way quite strongly about having children immunised in order to I guess protect the wider public. I know it, it's a bit more difficult when they're, when it's your own child and you're looking at, you know, a very personal thing. You're obviously not going to want to do them any harm. But I think in general they have been of great benefit and have really, I don't know, stopped a lot of people dying from things that are very, very preventable. My husband's brother was very, very sick with measles. So for something that as I say so preventable, it just seems, seemed to me a, quite a natural and obvious way to protect your children against something that they didn't really need to be battling against.

 

Her eldest son didn't have any reaction and her younger son was irritable and had a temperature...

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No. Our first son didn't really at all. My second son, after each of the first, I don't know, 2 months, 3 months and 4 months, did develop temperatures and was irritable and not really a happy baby for a day or so afterwards. But my first son didn't have any, I didn't notice any problems with him at all.

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