You may know that there’s a measles epidemic based in Swansea, & that it’s spreading. It seems to be the result of children not receiving the MMR vaccine in the light of the 1998 Wakefield debacle where MMR was falsely linked to autism & bowel disease, herd immunity now wearing off & a misinformed campaign by a local newspaper.
We live too close to be unconcerned. Jake & Ellie have just turned 3 & are starting pre-school in 2 weeks. There may well be infected children there!
Measles is a highly infectious viral disease, spread respiratorily. It is at its most infectious for 4 days before any symptoms appear. Complications can affect as many as 1 in 15 & can result in permanent disability, even death. Roald Dahl‘s 7-year-old daughter, for instance, died from encephalitis – inflammation of the brain – as a result of catching measles.
So we’re taking no chances! Jallie were due their 2nd jab in July but following official advice from Public Health Wales in response to the epidemic we brought it forward. We’ve just come back from the hospital where a special vaccination session has been organised.
Even though we arrived at the starting time of 10am there was already a queue outside at least 60m long!
It was heartening to see that so many have responded. It will slow the spread of the epidemic, & will very likely have prevented serious illness, disability & maybe even death for the children there & others they will come into contact with.
It would have been better for us if there were fewer there though!
Jake & Ellie were great. They’re very good at making their own fun. They’re very sociable & were going up to other children in the queue, chatting away. There was space enough to run around in & they were soon playing with another boy & girl who we thought were also twins but who were in fact cousins. There were walls to hide behind, sticks to wave around, spinning to be done.
It was sunny, but cold: they didn’t seem to mind at all. I love how sociable & fun-loving they are!
It was an hour before we got inside, & by this time the queue looked to be at least 100m long. It was very crowded, but staff there were efficient & organised. There were some great little toys & books there so they were quite happy.
They were seen quickly, & didn’t even seem that bothered by a needle in their shoulder muscles. Jake cried a little bit, but they were both fine afterwards. Especially after as many mini chocolate eggs as they wanted! They were so good: they deserved it!
After being there for an hour & a half we finally headed home, the twins quickly drifting into a much-needed nap.
I guess we should be annoyed with the people who caused the epidemic. The corrupt Wakefield for his falsified ‘research’, the media who promulgated his lies, & the many ‘misinformed’ parents who have – & still do – put mistrust of authority & belief in unlikely conspiracies ahead of solid scientific evidence.
But actually we just feel relieved. We’ve only lost 2 1/2 hours of 1 weekend, & the twins actually seemed to have fun. And got to eat lots of chocolate mini-eggs.
No, we can now be 98% certain that they are safe from a catching a dreadful disease, safe from the horrible complications it can cause, safe even from possible death.
And that’s got to be worth a bit of queuing.
I’d like to say a huge Thank You to Public Health Wales for their quick & efficient response to the crisis. And to the many NHS staff, at hospitals & GPs’ surgeries all over the region, for their hard work & for their time & effort. The NHS has its problems, & I for one have been vocal about them, but here they’ve really come through for us, & for that we are grateful.
- IMPORTANT: Public Health Wales’ Advice on Measles Epidemic
- Why wouldn’t you get your child vaccinated against measles? (The Mum Blog)
- Ranty Friday – MMR Jab (Lost in Blaenavon)
- Wales measles: long queues for MMR jabs at hospitals (bbc.co.uk)
- Measles Epidemic 2013 (The Boy and Me)