Thursday, 18 December 2014

Friggin measles!

There is a measles outbreak in South Africa at the moment and it is making me feel uneasy. Bad enough that I am not immune to Rubella and it is not something that is on the free vaccination schedule in this country. I seem to have avoided that issue and the horrible things it can do to unborn babies, thankfully.

The last few days I have seen a few moms post that their babies have measles on Facebook. My immediate question is WHY? Measles vaccine IS on the free schedule because it can be a very serious illness, especially amongst immune compromised and malnourished people. I have seen very distressing photographs of the havoc measles can wreak on the eyes of children who have a vitamin A deficiency. In this country where many people have AIDS and others have a high likelihood of being malnourished you would think the measles vaccine would be taken VERY seriously. So why are these middle class babies getting it? Did they not get vaccinated or are they just not finished with the boosters yet? I also understand that in this country not everyone has easy access to good healthcare and many young ones are not getting vaccinated as they are not being reached and this leads to outbreaks of these illnesses. But these are middle class babies I am seeing on Facebook, with access to both free and private vaccinations.

It scares me because I am about to have a newborn and by default they are immune compromised. I don't want my tiny baby catching measles! I have had measles as a teenager. It was horrible and the worst fever ever and my eyes have been light-sensitive ever since. And I have a great immune system.

I wish people who refuse to vaccinate realised how much of a risk they put other people in by not getting their kids vaccinated. People with cancer, AIDS, other immune disorders and old people whose immunities to measles have worn off are particularly vulnerable, as are little babies. We vaccinate not only to protect ourselves but everyone in society too.

I feel very vulnerable right now. And saddened by the bad advice out there. My own midwife advised us to plan our own vaccination schedules if we wanted to rather than following the scientifically tested and validated schedules that are used. Awful, awful advice. If those ladies delay the measles vaccine then this outbreak could become even worse. Ugh. I can't believe she is advising a group of people with no scientific background to go over the heads of scientists in these situations. So dangerous.

I will just be hiding in my flat for the first few weeks of my baby's birth and just hoping I don't meet up with a measles baby at the clinic or anything. 

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