To jab or not to jab?
Like most UK parents, we received a letter from our GP informing us that swine flu vaccinations were now available for children aged 6 months to 5 years.
We were set to attend a walk-in clinic this afternoon, but since Jed is already poorly with the sniffles, I decided to hold off.
Also I need time to do more research. It seems like ages since we’ve even heard anything in the papers about swine flu. What’s the story? Has it flown the way of bird flu? Was it all hype to begin with? Or is this just the calm before another media storm?
Six months ago, carting my little baby around public transport I was haunted by the poster of that man and his sneezy droplets telling us to Catch it, Kill it, Bin it. But now I barely give him a second glance as I board the bus.
Right now I’m more concerned about the vaccine – how new it is, what kind of side effects it has and whether the kids really need yet another injection.
I remember the agonies we endured when Ezra was coming up for his first MMR. Should he get the combined vaccine or should we go private and let him have separate doses? Should we believe some of the stuff we read online and avoid it altogether?
In the end, we researched as much as we could, got advice from a doctor we trusted and went ahead with the regular schedule.
Ezra was fine and hopefully I won’t have as many sleepless nights over Jed’s next shots.
But as any parent knows, watching the fine point of a needle about to stab your precious baby’s skin and anticipating the wailing to come is pretty hard to stomach.
If you’re still in two minds about swine flu and the jab, here’s some further reading that might help:
1. Sound, unbiased coverage from New Scientist
2. Slightly scary reports from World Health Organisation
3. National Childbirth Trust’s advice for Pregnant Women and Children
4. Somewhat alarmist post on Mumsnet about the different types of vaccines
5. Ecological Mom’s handy symptoms comparison chart
6. General advice about cold and flu season