Friday, 19 February 2010

Swine Flu: To vaccinate or not to vaccinate

This has been on my mind for some time now. I have a healthy bouncy 10 month old little girl and we got 'The Letter' a couple of months ago asking for her to come in for her Swine Flu Vaccination.

We are fortunate enough to have a great doctor and so on recieving this letter I called him for his advice. He has children too and I trust his opinion, but like everything I like to do as much research as I can myself too.  He said that the national helplines are now all closed, he no longer receives calls regarding swine flu and that if your baby is healthy and normal then there is no reason to give it. Obviously he could not say 'don't do it' as he would then be liable for anything should it happen.

Statistically everyone acknowledges that this is a very mild strain, even compared to the seasonal flu; but since WHO declared the pandemic, there has been pandemonium (ref:

I think that my main concern is that this vaccine hasn't been through the proper testing channels.  Because it was declared a pandemic the vaccine was fast-tracked through the legal channels and has not had 10 years of testing etc. In addition, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has granted vaccine makers total legal immunity from any lawsuits that may result from any new swine flu vaccine. Not sure if this applies to the UK but I would think similar rules would be adopted here.

We made the decision not to give Baby Belle it. But many of my friends have given their babies it. There is no right or wrong and as a mother I think you have to come to your own decision on these things. I worry, a lot, that it was the wrong decision but she is very healthy and so hopefully even if she gets swine flu she will be OK.

What are your thoughts and what did you choose for your little one?

We also have the MMR coming up and thinking of going private and getting the seperate injections. I would also love to hear your thoughts on this too...


  1. We received the letter inviting us for the Swine Flu Jab a couple of weeks ago. In the end,after a load of research and discussion, we have decided that we are not going to give it to our daughters as she is normally fit and healthy with no underlying medical conditions.

    I'm not an expert in any way but I believe that the study that linked MMR to Autism has be retracted as it was unfounded. We gave it to our daughter and will continue with the usual childhood immunisations.

  2. I blogged about this recently infact, I also chose not to give it to my son for similar reasons. I dont believe it has been tested enough and as one friend pointed out to me if I wouldnt have it why would I give it to my child. Should swine flu become more prevelant again then maybe I will rethink but for the time being I refuse to risk it.

    Re the MMR like you I had my doubts and when I gave it to my son was extremely concerned however I was well aware evidence had shown no real link and I know recently there has been more press backing this up. I'm also all too aware of how damging Measles, Mumps and Rubella can be if caught and so wouldnt want to put my son at risk of these! Had the seperate been available to me then maybe I would have taken it.

  3. Mediocremum - Thanks for that. I haven't done much reading up on the MMR yet as a few months away but I have heard a lot recently saying it isn't linked too x

    Hayley - I will have to pop over and see your post, thanks. I would never not give BB the MMR but just not sure if I should have them done seperately. I think this is the hardest bit about being a mummy, these sorts of decisions x

  4. I was offered it as a pregnant woman but declined - I was actually recovering from Swine Flu when we discovered I was expecting so hopefully I'll have immunity but even if not I don't think I would have gone for it.

    As you've said, there just isn't the research backing it up at the moment.

  5. I havnt given the boys the swine flu vacine, but I am very pro the MMR. I suffered from measels as a child and one of my great aunts is both deaf and dumb due to catching them as a baby.

    Both the boys had the MMR and mini is due his booster next week.

    I didnt give them at 13 months, we waited until they were both 2.

    With Maxi having a chest condition he had all his vacinations and then they did a specifica antibodies test and realised that none of the vacinations had taken so he went through them all again.

    All is will take is 13% of the population not to have the MMR for us to lose the effectivness of cover we have for measels, which is very scary.

  6. Alice - Thanks nice to know I'm not the only one making this decision :)

    TheMadHouse - Thanks for comments hun. Also just to make it clear I would never consider NOT giving BB the MMR I completely agree with you but all I am thinking about is whether to have them given as 3 seperate injections instead of all in one :) xxx

  7. I got both mmr and swine flu for my two and no adverse affects what so ever. not even the usual flu injection sickness the next day with the swine flu one.

  8. I had all 4 of my girls vaccinated because i had already had the swine flu and i was so ill i didn't want them to feel as ill as i did. They were all fine apart from sore arms and a little cough. xxx

  9. Heather & Amy - Glad your little one's were OK. Like I said we all have to make the decision and neither way is easy and neither is right or wrong, just difficult :) xxx

  10. Yep, had the same letter a couple of weeks ago (LD is the same age - hadn't noticed that before :D) - and I was the same - ummed and aahed about it - and have decided against.
    My friend (who is a nurse) said that sometimes the after-effects of the jab are worse than getting the flu, and now it's all died down anyway, it seems a bit pointless really?
    Super hard decision though.

  11. I am pro choice on all things, everyone has to make their own informed decision. My toddler and baby have had all the usual 8, 12 & 16 week jabs. My toddler has had the MMR as an all in one I considered singles but discovered the background to the study that caused the media frenzy which was then proven to be unfounded and the doctor behind it successfully prosecuted and struck off. I have also vaccinated my son against chicken pox. I declined the swine flu jab when pregnant and currently have no plans to have either of my children given the swine flu jab. It doesn;t stop them catching it just reduces its duration by 24-48 hours and I have concerns like you it was rushed to market. My children have no other high risk conditions other than being under 5 years old and I figure can change my mind only one way on this one as once its given there is no mind changing. So for now I feel the best thing I can do is help make sure their own natural immune system is as strong as possble through diet, a good multi-vitamin and I also use Sambucol (like Echninacea for children). Swine flu is likely to return when flu season returns & I reserve the right to change my mind but I think its unlikely I will. It is yet another no win parenting decision with no right answer. xx

  12. Of course you've got to do what you feel is right for you daughter. I can understand your reticence over the swine flu vaccination (although I have to say No 1 Son had the vaccination and there were no side effects - he is asthmatic and so it was a no brainer for us). I would always say to anyone that having experience a fairly severe bout of swine flu I would hate for any child to go through it. But as far as the MMR goes, the MMR/autism link has been completely disproved, the doctor who came up with that is about to be struck off by the GMC, so there really is no reason not to have it any more. Just make sure your baby doesn't have a temperature or anything which would prevent her from having the innoculation. You can read some fairly strong arguments here:

  13. I did days and days of research about this last year. Even though the swine flu jab was developed quickly, it was developed in exactly the same way as all other flu vaccines, so any risks are the same (ie. small). In fact, the biggest risk is it not working at all.
    There was extensive testing done in Australia in the first part of last year too.

  14. BG had the Swine Flu jab and has no side effects, its not a live vaccination. I've known some perfectly healthy children get swine flu and be seriuosly ill with it.

    BG is having her MMR on Thursday, the link with Autism has been disproved and I have personally never known anyone that has had an issue with it. The thought of how ill BG could become by not having them is unthinkable.

  15. I had the jab. It's a long story but I was pregnant and had a miscarriage - totally unrelated as I knew it was going to happen before I had the jab. I was being a bit sneaky. I did have side effects - my arm, back and neck ached badly and I felt sick for about 6 days. I felt awful.

    The pandemic is apparently over and I did hear they are closing down the swine flu centres. I was told by the nurse that they think the extreme cold weather (for the UK) killed off a lot of the virus, although it is possible it will pick up again in 'flu season' whenever that is (I thought it was winter!). The current flu virus could well mutate next time around in which case they will need a totally different vaccine.

    I would never have given it to my daughter and I wish I hadn't had it.

  16. I questioned this in my post here:
    Sorry I don't know how to add a proper link but it gives my views and I decided not to give it to him in the end.
    To be honest I know people who have had the single jabs for the MMR and I think they wished they'd saved their money. My toddler is very overdue his but I will get it done even though my second son had a bad reaction to it. I do generally advocate immunisations.