Interview 33 - Immunisation

Brief Outline: At time of interview' married, one son, aged 17 months. Parent's occupation' Mother- Editor (Publishing), Father- Web Editor. Ethnic background' White-British.
Background: For DTaP/IPV/Hib' Followed recommendations of health professionals. For MMR' She read an independent literature review published in a Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin on studies examining the link between autism and MMR, which helped her to make a decision

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She had concerns about autism but after reading an independent research review she decided that MMR was the right decision for her son.

She had concerns about autism but after reading an independent research review she decided that MMR was the right decision for her son.

I'm the leader with a kids' group, as a volunteer. I've been doing that for a number of years and over the course of that time I've seen a lot of, not a lot, but a few, fair few children with autistic spectrum disorders, invariably boys. Which I think was why I was especially concerned because obviously I had a son.   

So for me the decision was never not to vaccinate or not, it was a decision between triple jabs or single jabs. And I guess I just felt I really needed to be informed. Because you know that the GPs are going to tell you that it's, the right thing to do is to have the triple jab. Because that's what they have to do. And I just wanted some sort of more impartial view. So again we're lucky, we had another friend who's a hospital doctor. And he pointed me in the direction of a paper, which had been written. It's from Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin, volume 41, number 4, April 2003, page 25. And it says at the top, 'The independent review from the consumers' association'. I'm not sure which consumers' association. But what it is, is a review of a lot of studies that have been done, looking for links between MMR and autism. 

And I read this and to summarise, one of the things it says is that autism has increased, or recorded incidences of autism have increased, you know, over the last ten or twenty years. The sort of line of autism has gone up like this. But at the time that the MMR jab was introduced, which I think was 1988, you might have expected the rate of increase to suddenly spike upwards like that. But the gist of this paper was that, although it was increasing, it would, wasn't increasing any more because of the MMR jabs. And it also suggested that there wasn't any link between numbers of people who reported autism whether they'd been vaccinated or not vaccinated. Again there didn't seem to be any connection. It seemed equally likely that you would report development of autism if you hadn't been vaccinated. So on the basis of this I think I tried to engage my scientific brain and think, 'Okay, you know, these are independent people. They haven't got a particular axe to grind here'. There are further risks associated with the single jabs, because your child is not immunised for a longer period of time and is therefore in slightly more danger themselves, but also posing a slightly greater risk to the rest of the population, particularly babies who haven't been immunised because they're younger. So with a slightly heavy heart I thought I'd go for the triple jab. If I hadn't read this, I'm not entirely sure what I would have done actually. But this was sufficient for me to make my mind up.
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