Lena had her first set of shots yesterday. Well, I say set, but in actual fact it was only one. She got the 5-in-1 shot, which protects against Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio and Hib (that's Haemophilus influenzae type B) but I decided to put off the one that protects against Pneumococcal variants. Why? Because next month, she gets a booster for the 5-in-1 and her first shot for Meningitis C. Then at 4 months, she gets boosters for both of these, and a booster for Pneumococcal. But when I read the information sheet for the Meningitis vaccine, it says directly on it the following: "Concomitant use of Menjugate Kit with pneumococal conjugate vaccines should only be consider if medically important and not on a routine basis". Translation: the meningitis C vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine shouldn't be given at the same time unless there's a good medical reason for it. Why? Because they haven't studied what might happen if they are given together like they have with the 5-in-1. Yet here in Britain it is standard procedure to give them both at the same time! I shake my head in wonder; does anyone read the packaging other than me? I'll arrange for her to get it in the next week or two, without any other shot with it.
I went last week and asked for a copy of the packaging so I could read up on the inoculations. When you get a pack of aspirin from the pharmacist, they tell you to read the packaging and follow the instructions carefully. But for giving your child a shot, you just go without any instructions into the nurse's room and let them stick stuff in them. What's ironic is that for the 5-in-1 vaccine, there is a leaflet for parents. It says on it in big letters "READ ALL OF THIS LEAFLET CAREFULLY BEFORE YOUR CHILD RECEIVES THIS VACCINE." When I went for the shot, the leaflet was nowhere to be seen. It certainly wasn't offered to me (and the nurse didn't know that I already had a copy). I bet 1 in 100 parents reads the thing before the shot is given. Talk about blind trust in the system.
I don't know if the all vaccines that kids get here is the same as what they get in other parts of the world; it's been too long since my own shots were given and there's probably a few different ones out there anyways. If you want to compare though, here is a concise list of what children are offered. I say offered, because all the inoculations are voluntary.
For the most part, I'm in favour of vaccination. But I'm also in favour of knowing what is going on. I don't think enough information is imparted to parents on this issue, I had to be very pro-active to get it.
Anyways, enough ranting. Lena was very brave yesterday. I could barely stand to watch - I'm fine getting needles myself but I didn't want to see her getting it. But she gave one little cry and then it was all over. No fever, no fussiness or any other side effect last night. I can only hope they all go so well.