Every time I read a headline about the measles epidemic in Wales I flinch with shame. This is because I used to be one of those people who refused to have their child vaccinated – for anything. My daughter was born in a London hospital in September 2011, and every time the doctors, the health visitors and the nurses at the weighing clinic tried to give her the routine jabs, I put her back in her pram and wheeled her away.
The NHS schedule of inoculations felt so over the top, full of diseases I'd last heard mention of in gloomy Victorian novels. Injections at two, three, four, 12 and 13 months, for diphtheria, tetanus, tuberculosis, pertussis, polio – all these archaic names, not things that you actually think your child is going to catch.The stupidity of this is one thing - we're used to the stupidity of all these fucking hippies. It's the out and out selfishness of this approach that makes the red mist descend. Why does she think diphtheria died out? (For that matter, when? Far from being a Victorian problem, it was the third largest killer of children under fifteen as late as the 1930s). And also, tetanus? That really hasn't gone anywhere, adults need a ten year booster vaccine to maintain immunity.
My children (both fully immunised, MMR and all) rely on the community immunity that you get when children are all immunised (i.e. their parents aren't drivelling fucking simpletons in gypsy skirts knitting their own muesli). So when I hear this:
The fact is, I still have a hunch that puts me off vaccinations, a hunch that I can't explain. I just feel funny about them.funny isn't what I feel. Furious maybe, but not funny.