Q: Do I have the right to refuse vaccinations for my baby?
A. Prior to 1898, parents who refused to have their children vaccinated were fined or imprisoned. But the 1898 Act has removed the penalties for non-compliance, thus allowing parents decide whether to have their children vaccinated or not. This has not changed when the National Health Act 2006 was enforced.
So, as parents, you can choose whether or not your baby is vaccinated. It is not legal for heath authority to force you to have your baby vaccinated. However, before making the decision to refuse immunisation for your baby, it is important to examine your reasons against the safety benefits offered by immunisation.
Q. Should I take my baby for his immunisation if he is ill?
A. If your baby has a cold but doesn’t have a fever it is ok to go on as normal. But if your baby has a raised temperature, wait until your baby is better to avoid fever being linked with vaccine, or the vaccine worsening your baby’s fever.
However, speak to your GP or practice nurse before your baby’s immunisation. They will be able to decide for themselves whether it is safe to carry on with the vaccination or to differ it.
Q. Will my baby suffer from side effects?
A. All medicines have potential side effects, but vaccines are proven to be safe. However, it’s possible for your baby to exhibit minor symptoms such as:
…Redness, swelling or tenderness around the injected area. This will gradually disappear without mediation.
…High temperature or fever.
Q: What medication can I give my baby if he exhibits some side effects?
A. As mentioned, the redness and swelling will disappear on its own, so you don’t need to treat it. You just have to be careful not to bash it. Some parents put a plaster on the injected site to remind them to be careful with it. And you already know that there is no treatment for irritability, apart from making your baby comfortable.
So, the only symptom you can treat is fever. And for this, you can give Paracetamol or Ibuprofen. Never give your baby any painkillers before his vaccination.
Q: Is vaccination safe for babies with allergy?
A. Eczema, asthma or food intolerance should not stop your child from having his immunisation. But if you know or suspect that your child has allergy, discuss it with your GP or practice nurse.
Q: Are there babies who had an allergic reaction to vaccination?
A. Yes, it is possible for babies and children to have allergic reaction to vaccination, but it is very rare and completely treatable. Only one in a million babies experience anaphylactic reaction – a severe allergic reaction, to vaccination. This occurs within a few minutes after the injection. And the people who give the injection are trained to deal with this situation. Children who suffered anaphylactic reaction completely recover from it.
Q: My baby was premature – when should I have him vaccinated?
A. If you premature baby is healthy, he should follow the same vaccination schedule as full term babies. Premature babies are higher risks of catching infection, so it is important that they are protected early. It seems cruel to inject a vaccine to a tiny baby but it is more cruel to leave him unprotected and open to diseases.
As with all medical queries if in any doubt talk to your doctor or Midwife