In support of Debating Vaccination by Eugene Sims (MM July 5), my husband and I have two children who are now in their 20s. Our daughter never had a problem with any of her vaccinations, so I wasn’t concerned when our son Josh came along and he started having his vaccinations, too. But he was a totally different case. Each time he had a vaccine he would react badly. One time he had a swelling on his leg at the vaccine site that was about the size of an orange. So, it was with trepidation I took him for his MMR vaccine at 19 months. In the early hours of the following morning we were woken by a high-pitched scream from Josh’s room. When we tried to pick him up he was rigid and arched backwards. My husband and I were frantic and rang the doctor and Plunket several times. We were told, “Don’t worry some children sometimes have a slight reaction following a vaccination. Just give him Pamol or put him in the bath to soothe him.” I had the feeling that we were being considered over-reactive parents. When finally our son fell asleep, I thought “Thank God that’s all over.” But it was far from over. Josh changed from a smiley, friendly, toddler to a screaming, crying wee man who stopped interacting and kept banging his head, which he had never done previously. I sincerely hope there are some medical practitioners who are really listening to the parents of the children they are vaccinating, and if they tell them, “My child had quite a bad reaction to their last vaccination” then perhaps other options could be made available.
Sharon and Gary Barber, Warkworth (abridged)