If I wanted to get to the point of this blog quickly, the answer to my title would simply be, “Because I’m not an imbecile.”
But that doesn’t make for good reading (or maybe it does, I don’t know), so I should probably throw a few more paragraphs into the mix.
I still remember the day that Spawn #1 got his first vaccinations, aged a weeny six weeks old. I was a mess; big fat tears rolled down my cheeks and splashed on his head. He cried the most awful little baby cry and it cut me to the core, but a quick suck on the boob solved everything and he napped for the rest of the day.
When he got his five-month jabs, it was a whole other story. He screamed and screamed and screamed for I don’t know how long afterwards. People looked at us funny in the doctor’s waiting room. I lived just around the corner from the doctor’s so I didn’t think to take all the things to placate him, like a bottle of milk or his favourite snacks. I’d thought that we’d just go home afterwards and indulge in all the things there. He was totally fine, but in the moment it was definitely a bit shit.
When it was time for Spawn #1’s 15-month vaccinations, I was very prepared. Like, overly prepared. I packed ALL THE THINGS. In the end, he simply sat on my knee watching Thomas the Tank Engine while the lovely nurse did her thing and literally didn’t bat an eyelid despite however many jabs and oral drops he was given. We left with smiles on our faces, lollipops in our mouths and an enormous bag filled with all the things that we really didn’t need but would have really come in handy some months earlier.
In case you hadn’t heard, there’s currently a measles epidemic in Canterbury. More than 25 people have been confirmed as having measles; this morning some lady on telly said another 50-odd might have it too (although that number might be a bit high – I read somewhere else that it was more like 20). Authorities are now recommending that parents avoid taking their kids who are too young to get immunised against measles into the area, so if you were planning on taking your six-month-old to Christchurch, it’s time to cancel your plans, soz.
Today it was confirmed that two Aucklanders have been diagnosed with measles too. Some doctors are also saying that they’ll refuse to see potential measles-infected patients in their clinics; instead they’ll give them the once-over in their own cars in an attempt to prevent the spread of the infectious disease.
It was only a few years ago that New Zealand could say that we’d given measles the boot. For whatever reason (I don’t know, I’m not a doctor – I’m just a mum), measles didn’t happen here anymore. For whatever reason (again, I’m not a doctor – I’m just a mum), it has come back. And for whatever reason (yep, still just a mum over here), some parents think that not vaccinating their kids against serious diseases like measles is actually a legitimate life choice.
Um. Hold the phone. You might think it’s a good life choice for your family, and that’s great. (Well, it’s not … but each to his own.) But when your kid gets sick because you knowingly put them in the firing line for some of these diseases that can literally kill people, then my kid gets sick too because he’s only three and is fully immunised but hasn’t had his MMR booster yet because he’s not supposed to get that until he’s four because HELLO, we don’t have measles in this country so I shouldn’t have to think about lining him up to get jabbed earlier, then we have a problem.
I’m also days away from giving birth from Spawn #2. This small she-human has already been vaccinated against whooping cough because I got the jab a few weeks ago and my immunisation will protect her for those first six weeks before she gets her own, but for whatever reason (again, not a doctor), the same theory doesn’t work for measles. The idea that she could come out of her safe womby sanctuary and immediately be confronted by a life-threatening disease simply because other people have made bad life choices or had bad life choices made to them is, quite frankly, frightening.
We don’t live in a communist country so I don’t want to sit here typing, “Thou shalt get your children vaccinated.” But seriously, GET YOUR CHILDREN VACCINATED. It’s common sense, and if that’s not your common sense, you need to find some new common sense. #soznotsoz
And even if you’d rather trust the ill-informed advice of social media influencers over people who’ve actually studied this shit for however many years at uni and now have student loans the size of the debt of small African nations, at least consider the protection of the kids that hang out with yours.
With this news of measles now hanging out in Auckland, Husband and I will be taking Spawn #1 to the doctor ASAP to get his MMR booster nine months early. It’s allowed, and it’s a good idea. I have enough life admin going on in my life as it is to worry about my healthy kid contracting a disease that really should have been eradicated bloody ages ago, so if other people can’t do the decent thing and practice common sense then I’ll have to go ahead and carry out some preventative measures instead.
And if you’re a parent who for whatever reason has chosen not to vaccinate your kids, please let me know so I can maintain control over the health – and the fate – of my children, and decide for ourselves if we can still hang out.