Vaccinating Rosey on the NHS

The one thing the NHS prides itself on, regardless of all the red tape around it, is how the public has “choices”. Well, using their moto, The Hubby and I decided we would be as informed as possible and use all the choices we had in parenting Rosey:

  • When it came to deciding where she would be born we looked into home birth, the local birth centre, and then the hospital maternity department.
  • We wrote a “birth plan” and identified which pain relief we were more keen on and which we wanted to delay as much as possible.
  • We also wrote in our birth plan that we wanted Rosey to have delayed cord clamping, due to its benefits, rather than the quick cut of the umbilical cord that usually occurs.
  • We decided to review whether Vitamin K was to be administered to Rosey (as an oral dose) or whether we would opt out of giving her Vitamin K all together.
    • Many of the midwives we spoke to, prior to Rosey’s birth, said they would recommend Vitamin K if the baby was delivered in a traumatic manner; whereas if the baby was born naturally without any complications then they didn’t see the need to administer Vitamin K.
    • Also as of writing this, in the UK, the Vitamin K can be given in two forms – the 1 injection at birth or 3 separate oral doses within the first three months of life. For anyone who is Muslim, Jewish or a vegetarian you may want to know the injection is covered in bovine to help transport/preserve it. Thankfully the oral dose isn’t covered in bovine and from my knowledge is vegetarian friendly.
  • The TB injection was another choice we didn’t know we had until nearer to our due date. Here in the UK, the TB injection is only given to those who the WHO have classified as “at risk” so certain ethnic groups won’t be offered the TB injection at all but can have it later on in life if they are going to a “at risk” country. For this reason, we didn’t see why we had to give the TB injection to Rosey as we’re all British and weren’t planning to go to a “at risk” country. So we opted to delay giving the injection to her till we felt it was necessary.
  • Vaccinations – oh the big one! We opted for a different plan.
Before I talk about my last point, did you know you had all the choices above? Thinking about the 5 new mothers I know who have had a baby during the year Rosey was born, I can definitely say that only 1 of them knew about these choices!
Why is it that many parents are ignorant about the actual choices they have? Is it because they are happy to follow and trust the system? Or is it because they simply have no clue they had a choice in the first place?

The Hubby and I had decided early on in my pregnancy that whatever happened, we would make sure we were informed and knew what we were putting into my system for the baby to grow. A concept we recently learnt Penelope Jagessar Chaffer talk about in her documentary “Toxic Baby“. So why then should we have stopped being informed parents when it came to giving injections to Rosey after her birth?

We researched and discussed our choices with the appropriate health professionals. Most of the choices we were making we sailed through without much difficulty. I say this because I’ve seen how some health professionals can look down on/disapprove of parents who want an alternative way of doing a procedure. However, when it came to thinking about the current vaccination plan in the UK, I was hit with a lot of pressure to “just go along with it”.

Initially I wrote on my facebook wall “To vaccine or not to vaccine?” mainly to get an idea from dear friends what they’re thinking was. One friend who is a doctor privately messaged me to say “Don’t be a hippie and get it done”. Though initially this comment made me laugh, I started to question “Why should I follow something so blindly?” and furthermore started to ask whether I really had a choice in this matter or whether it was down to how well I could deal with the pressure of not conforming. So I did what I usually do when I’m not sure about a matter: I read and researched my options.

I read articles from Dr Sears Vaccine section. Dr Sears advocates parents being informed in order to make the right choices for their child. He even goes further to recommend an alternative plan that parents can get in the USA and I think that’s brilliant coming from a Paediatrician, as flexibility in the medical profession is often lost due to red tape. I then found a doctor here in the UK who administers individual doses of vaccines (for a fee) and this got me thinking as to whether we had to become private patients or whether it could be done on the NHS. Finally, we took the UK Vaccination Plan and our questions to our practise nurse, who we had arranged a meeting with. This meeting wasn’t at the 8 week check when the first vaccines are given. We thought that it would be very unfair of us to attend the vaccine appointment and then ask all our questions and maybe leave without vaccinating Rosey. So we arranged a meeting prior to the vaccination date.

We wanted to be informed about the level of mercury, aluminium and the actual ingredients placed in the vile to make the vaccine. The practise nurse kindly gave me the patient information leaflets that come with the vaccine boxes so that I could research each ingredient.

A few points, as of December 2011 (and no doubt will need to be reviewed because every year GPs are given different brands of vaccines on the NHS so each year the content will need to be looked into):

  • In the combined vaccines the level of mercury isn’t high especially as the UK has done it’s best to reduce the mercury content in its vaccines. However, there is still some mercury in the vaccines and there’s not enough research to say how much, if at all any, is safe for babies.
  • The levels of aluminium in the combined vaccines are not that much (compared to the level in the vaccines found in the USA) thoughonce again, I do agree, more research needs to be done in this matter to see what is a safe level of aluminium to give to babies. Apparently if you become a private patient you can get injections with no aluminium content.
  • Most of the first year vaccines are cased in bovine and the vegetarian alternatives on the NHS are for children aged beyond 2 or 3… so if you’re religiously minded you should discuss with your local scholar to see whether it’s permissible in your school of thought.
  • Even the patient information leaflets discuss an alternative plan! When our practise nurse called The Department of Health they said that it was up to the GP to decide if he/she wants to offer the parent an alternative plan. So if you want your child to have single doses or space out the vaccines given or delay them all together, via the NHS route, you can do so as long as the GP is happy to do this. If you want to opt out all together be prepared to thicken your skin.

To conclude, I hope in writing this that all new parents are aware of their choices and can make an informed decision about what they are agreeing to put inside their child’s system. You do have a choice in this matter and it’s up to you what you decide for your child(ren). Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

May God grant us wisdom to apply the knowledge He gifts us; may He protect our children from the harms of others, restore their health to goodness when they become ill, and grant them ultimate good in everything that they do. Ameen.

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