An Important Date You Don't Want To FORGET! | Life Love and Hiccups: An Important Date You Don't Want To FORGET!
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Wednesday 17 September 2014

An Important Date You Don't Want To FORGET!

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This post is brought to you by NSW Health - Immunisation

My 13 year old son came home from school the other day and said “Thanks for warning me I was going to get jabbed in the arm at school today Mum”

“OMG, I forgot all about that, I’m so sorry hun” I replied with shame. And there genuinely lies a problem - vaccinations are so easily forgotten about in the busyness of life, and yet they could single handedly be the one thing that saves your child’s life.

Vaccination is something I am very passionate about, and although I am acutely aware that it is a subject that is surrounded by such an emotional minefield, I AM willing to stand up and state that I am pro-vaccinations.

This is a big call coming from someone who is terrified of offending anyone, and I haven’t always been so strongly opinionated about this subject. Nearly losing my precious child to a vaccine preventable disease was enough to do it for me.

When I was pregnant with my first son I received a group email from another Mum-to-be in my antenatal group. Say NO to the vaccinations was the message in her email and she went on to tell us about how she had a friend who had a friend who believed her child’s autism was caused by a routine vaccinations.

I hadn't even given any thought to vaccinations at that stage. I was so focused, at that point, of getting that heffalump safely out of my belly that I hadn't even begun to consider all those kinds of things. Yet there I was scared about the idea of potentially harming my precious baby before it was even born. Already scared of something I truthfully knew nothing about?


I emailed her back asking some questions around the how and why and what happened to her friend-of-friend’s child and her response was simply “I don't know”. 

OK, so I was scared out of my mind about vaccinating my child because I had fear instilled in me via a friend of a friend story?


That was possibly the start of my lifelong commitment to my completely non-qualified medical career, you know the medical profession where us Mums and Dads spend hour upon hour researching everything and anything to do with our kids’ health and safety.

I refused to base my decision about such an important subject on someone else's fear, because
I am of the belief you need to be armed with the facts from all angles to make that kind of judgment call. The problem is so many of our decisions seem to be based upon fear and snippets of information we receive from others.

Turns out, I discovered first-hand the importance of vaccinations when our beautiful boy Kai came within inches of death after being struck down with meningitis and bacteremia septicemia – a deadly disease caused by the pneumococcal bacteria, a disease that can be largely avoided with the pneumococcal vaccine our kids now routinely receive.

Late last year I had the privilege of attending a photo shoot with Anne Geddes. Anne was photographing the most beautiful survivors of meningococcal in an effort to raise awareness for this insidious disease.

Whilst I was there I had the opportunity to interview Professor Robert Booy - the head of Clinical Research at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance and I took this opportunity to ask Professor Booy about the concerns I most frequently hear from those who are anti-immunisation, including the fear that the MMR immunisation may be linked to Autism.

Professor Booy explained to me that this fear initially came from a Doctor in the UK who released this Autism theory back in 1998. The theory was disproved within a year following a systematic review, up until 2004, where hundreds of thousands of valuable research hours were spent on researching any potential link.

The original theory was withdrawn and the Doctor responsible for releasing the initial report was found to be fraudulent and unethical and has since been struck off the Medical Register.

Unfortunately, a genuine fear was created by this Doctor and still remains with some people today.

Look, I am not here to tell you which decision to make nor am I going to stand here and judge the decision of a parent to not vaccinate their child based on their own personal experiences. We are all parents who love our kids and doing our best to make decisions based on what we believe will protect our precious children.

I do however beg of you to consider these proven facts in your decision making process;

 The NSW Health Save the Date to Vaccinate website is an awesome resource to find out everything you need to know about the why, when, how and myths and realities surrounding vaccination. It is easy to understand and get your head around and I seriously encourage every parent to check it out.

So, you have made the decision to vaccinate, now you just need to stay on top of when it is due - which admittedly can be hard at times, especially when you have multiple children all requiring vaccinations on different dates.

Well, lucky for us NSW Health is making it easier for us parents to ensure our kids are vaccinated on time with their Save the Date phone App – available for iPhones and Android devices.

The App allows us to enter our child’s name, date of birth and GP contact date and it will then calculate their next immunisation due date and send us a series of reminders to prompt us to call our GP to make the appointment. You can even make that call straight from the App.

 What about you – was vaccinating or not vaccinating an easy choice for you?

(As I’ve said before - I know this is a very emotional topic and although I welcome open discussion, I do ask that everyone please play nicely and respect each other’s rights to differing opinions)