Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nagging about MMR

According to Wikipedia, plenty of US home schoolers are unprotected against measles. I'd reckon the same could be said of UK home educators. The hypothesised link between MMR and autism was the killer blow. Since plenty of families in the HE community contain children with autistic spectrum disorders, many younger siblings would not have been vaccinated. Other home educators just reject vaccination on principle.

In the population as a whole, the number of measles cases has shot up this year. There have already been over a thousand cases and this despite the fact that rate of vaccination in the younger age ranges has slowly risen, though it has apparently recently stalled. Herd immunity is only achieved when 95% of the population are vaccinated or are already immune.

A small percentage of those who have received two doses of the vaccine are still susceptible to measles, though they should have a less severe form of the disease.

Deaths from measles are due largely to an increased susceptibility to secondary bacterial and viral infections. Mortality rates in the developed world are quoted at best as being around 1/5000, (though other sources put it at 1/1000). However, even in the developed world, 30% of the immuno-compromised will die if infected. The mortality rates in undeveloped countries ranges from 5 - 10% and there is currently a huge push to vaccinate those most at risk in these populations, ie: the under fives.

Measles is highly contagious. Once it gets a grip, people will die or be left with permanent complications such as brain damage, however well-nourished they may be.

There is no proven link between autism and MMR. When they stopped using the vaccination in Yokohama, the incidence of autism continued to rise.

The single vaccine for measles result in more cases of life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Go get your MMR!


Allie said...

We vaccinate in this family but, in my experience, nagging doesn't work on people who don't vaccinate. They have their reasons.

Personally, we've been glad of the MMR as we know so many people who don't vaccinate and Leo avoided measles after spending a day with a friend who was just coming down with it. Yep, I like vaccination!

Anonymous said...

I agree, thanks Carlotta for being pro-vaccination.

I know there are some HE'ers who don't vaccinate (i don't understand why even though they've told me), but I do get annoyed when some people automatically assume that a lot of HE'rs don't vaccinate.

I home Ed and I've vaccinated my 2 and I'm happy to.

What I do object to though, is how the govt have kept lowering the age of the second MMR because they are getting children into schools younger and younger....

Ruth said...

I'm generally pro vaccination in theory but what is bothering me right now is the calls to make it compulsory. Like we want to be giving the government that kind of power?!

While I have had my dd vaccinated I don't think it's anywhere near as cut and dried as all that and I do plan on getting the facts and making the decision myself each time rather than simply trusting that the government is making the right decisions.

Carlotta said...

The last time the idea of compulsory MMR came up, (2003), the DOH did dismiss it

I wonder how they will react now with the increased infection rate?

I agree it is still a bad idea.

Clare said...

Hello Carlotta

Please can you tell me some ideas of how, when you 'take your children seriously', you get them to be vaccinated?

I am (as I always am) considering and reconsidering vaxing/not vaxing (I would never assume to make a decision and stick by it regardless) but have no idea, if I were to go ahead with MMR (or at least the measles one - don't see the point of giving vaccines that aren't necessary at this stage), how I would get my DDs to agree to it. Email me if you'd rather.



Anonymous said...


Germs enter our body all the time without our consent, so that shouldn't be an issue.

For a baby or a toddler, what you have to avoid is the pain and distress of inserting a needle in their body.

You can explain it to an older child.

Ruth said...

I sit on the fence. After always getting my kids vaxed ( all have ASD or AS) our paed advised us not to have the booster MMR for our autistic twin boys as one had definitely got worse after his first MMR. I am not sure there isn't a link and neither was the paed sure and I do not think it should ever be compulsory.

Carlotta said...

Hi C,

re: issues of non-coercion and consent...obviously with the very early jabs, explicit consent wasn't possible, but I did manage it apparently without coercion in that the children seemed to barely notice them.

I think I was using gate theory of pain I held child very closely, with option to bfeed at any point, and massaged the muscle of the upper thigh, above point of injection for a few minutes prior to vaccination. Then just as injection was about to happen, I gently squeezed the muscle above the injection site, (without disturbing the injection itself obviously) and then fed child immediately afterwards.

I think the nurse looked at me somewhat suspiciously as child didn't even appear to notice injection at all. I think she might have thought that I beat them up so badly that they didn't even notice this type of pain!! Ho hum.

When children were older, I just explained issues, (including the pros and cons), got their consent, gave them calpol before we set out, did the rubbing thing - this time on the shoulder above the injection site, (obviously no bfeeding this time!) Then showed them how mobilising the limb after the vac will also reduce the pain.

I don't know if both mine have high needle pain thresholds but yet again, neither child appeared to notice it and again got funny looks from nurse...oh honestly!

This calmness on part of children is the complete opposite to me: I have to be virtually pinned down in the surgery by any available delivery men and a couple of receptionists before they can get a jab into me. I honestly prefer very bad contractions to jabs...!

Clare said...

But what about when they refuse? I mean, I've had to take them to the drs for illness in the past and they've point blank refused to get out of the car! And this is an otherwise highly rational, sensible, intelligent 5yo :-(

Carlotta said...

Hum difficult. Not had that particular problem!

If after explaining the potential value of the vac, and the problems of catching the various diseases, it that isn't convincing, I would try to find out if there is something else other than the vac that is the problem...would they prefer another person at the surgery? Would they prefer to go to another surgery..(with more welcoming environment, better toys perhaps?)

Or perhaps consider leaving it with them to think it over for a bit, and then come back to it at a later date.

Definitely wouldn't go without consent though. To me that would be the highest priority with the MMR.

Clare said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, interesting. However there is not a risk free option in this decision. Once vaccinated some people will also develop permanant complications (compensation paid out to vaccine damage children by the government). It's still unclear whether mass vaccincation may be protecting against some diseases but contributing to the rise in other chronic auto-immune type conditions however well norished people are.

What gets my goat is the complete lack of choice. With other health decisions, even serious ones (eg chemo vs chemo + radiotherapy) it's likely that choices would be possible and ultimately respected.

With MMR it's that or absolutely nothing on the NHS. The argument being that the child is left unprotected between seperate jabs. It's umm, coercive really.

Don't laugh but my 'Gillick competant' (not a legal term I know) DD opted to have HPV vaccs inspite of me laying out options of waiting etc.


Carlotta said...

I think you're right about the lack of choice being coercive. It is annoying. My guess is that MMR is offered as the only option so as to prevent parents just getting the Measles bit and ignoring the Rubella bit with all the congenital problems that may ensue from that, but am not sure exactly what the thinking is here.

Also, coercive in that your GP is quite likely to start treating you badly if you refuse the vacs. You can get taken less seriously in every other regard too. Know of several examples of this.

Anonymous said...

If you want to be rational about this look at the science.