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Why Sam won’t be having the swine flu vaccination

December 11, 2009

‘  This little piggy went to market
This little piggy stayed at home
this little piggy had roast beef
This little piggy had none
and this little piggy went “cough, sneeze” and the whole world’s media went mad over the imminent destruction of the human race, and every journalist found out that they didn’t have to do too much work if they just did “Find ‘bird’, replace with ‘swine'” on all their saved articles from a year ago, er, all the way home.’  

‘THE World Health Organisation has confirmed that a Swine Flu pandemic is now imminent, raising fears that millions of people obviously have no idea what a pandemic is.’ 


 In the last few weeks I’ve spoken quite a lot on Twitter about why I won’t be taking Sam for the swine flu vaccination and I’ve been quoted twice in online articles for Gurgle and In fact Google ‘Emma Murphy Swine flu’ & you’ll find me in 3 of the top 4 results! Finally, I’ve arrived! However, obviously only so much of what I said has been mentioned and I wanted to make sure that people didn’t think I was a mad woman who was putting her child in danger. I don’t usually write ‘serious’ posts (as you can tell), ‘fluffy waffle’ is what I call my blog but SnafflesMummy encouraged to write a proper post about it & I thought why the hell not! 

 I don’t disagree with vaccinations in principle, Sam has all his including the controversial MMR. I researched it, looked at the arguments for and against, looked at the side effects and what would happen if he didn’t have it and made the decision that it was safer and more necessary for him to have it than not. Incidentally I only recently found out that my mum hadn’t agreed with the MMR when I was little and so hadn’t let me have it. I was very poorly with both measles and German measles and she regrets that decision. 

 I don’t believe that swine flu is as prevalent as the government makes out. The medical profession hasn’t tested for swine flu for months now so how can they know figures? Most people who have been diagnosed with swine flu probably have just had a bad cold or just ‘normal’ flu. We’ve become such a nation of moaners and hypochondriacs that we say we have flu when we just have a cold. I’ve only had real flu once and it knocked me on my arse for almost 3 weeks. When people in the pub or at work say they have flu I always tell them it’s just a cold, you’d know if you had flu & you wouldn’t be here! That’s how I feel about swine flu. The people at work who have sent me a sick form saying they’ve been off for 2 days with swine flu are wrong. They’d have been off a lot longer. Until we start testing again, we can’t know how many people actually have swine flu and if the pandemic is as serious as thought. 

 Sam doesn’t have any underlying health conditions. He’s a healthy little Squidge with the usual coughs and colds any 17 month old has. He is cared for by my husband and mother in law when I go to work so doesn’t have a huge amount of contact with other children who may pass things onto him.  He does go to music group, messy play and soft play groups but he is supervised and pulled away from any child who looks overly snotty. We wash hands and have anti bacterial gel as a precaution. 

 I also don’t believe that the swine flu vaccination has been tested enough over a longer period of time that could show side effects. This is a new vaccine rushed out under the hysteria the media has provoked. I have a friend who works producing vaccines and she assures me that the swine flu vaccine isn’t that different from the normal flu one and made in the same way. But I think the flu vaccine has been around for a long time, has been tried and tested and therefore is safer. Saying that I still wouldn’t let Sam have it as I don’t think it’s necessary for him. I’ve had the flu vaccine once and was quite poorly from it. My Grandma though has had it for many years and has only had a bad reaction once. 

 I don’t want anyone to think that I am preaching that no one should give their child the swine flu vaccine, I think it’s a very personal decision and there are no right and wrongs. I’ve been chatting to someone on Twitter who was very poorly with real swine flu and chose to have her children vaccinated. That’s a very different experience to me and I can’t fault her decision. We haven’t had contact with anyone with real swine flu, there are no break outs near us and as I said Sam isn’t in nursery where viruses are rife. 

 I don’t want to put my son in danger but all of the above has convinced me that, for the moment, the swine flu vaccine isn’t for us. Maybe things will change over the next few months but I can’t see how. As long as we’re cautious, sensible and use good old fashioned common sense I think we’ll be fine. Even if we do get swine flu I wouldn’t have Tamiflu. Research has shown it does very little. My mum ( a nurse for 30 years) spoke to a very senior doctor in the NHS who admitted not only was take up for the vaccine for those on the ‘front line’ (doctors, nurses etc) very low (less than 25%) he wouldn’t give his grandchild the vaccine or Tamiflu. He advised the best thing to do was be cautious and if Sam did catch it then fluids, paracetamol, Ibuprofen, honey & lemon and good old fashioned keeping warm was the best thing for it. 

 So, what do you think? Am I being uptight about it or am I taking the sensible approach? I’ve had comments from both sides so far and I’m genuinely interested in what other people think. Sorry for the long ramble!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2009 9:29 am

    I am in full agreement with you on the Swine ‘flu issue. I would go slightly further and say that the vaccine and Tamiflu are cashcows for the powerful pharmaceutical industry who are lobbying a knee-jerk media-led government.
    However, against all my principles (and this is a rare event) my family will be having the vaccination. The reason? We are spending Christmas with a severely immuno-compromised chemotherapy patient – and we won’t have this chance again.

  2. December 11, 2009 9:37 am

    For my part, I would take it up, both for me and my daughter. Yes, swine flu seems no worse than seasonal flu, but that’s bad enough for me. As you said, it’s down to personal experience, and we’ve seen a healthy young man die of flu related complications. That wasn’t the swine type just to clarify. I know it’s rare, but flu does scare me endless now.

  3. December 11, 2009 9:38 am

    I think you are spot on about the hypochondriacs we have all become. I can’t remember how many ‘I’ve got swine flu’ or ‘my child has swine flu’ updates I’ve seen on Facebook over the last month. At first I was upset, surprised, I messaged back to see how the were etc, worried for them. But it turns out they were just feeling a bit poorly, they had a cold. Like Flu, it is unlikely unless you are bedridden that you really have it.

    However, we have had confirmed cases of it in our town and I wanted to take no risks of my little ones getting it so I have had them vaccinated. They are fine. Not a single side effect was had, not even the usual temperature and grumpiness they get from other vaccinations.

  4. December 11, 2009 10:07 am

    Well done for writing the article you wanted to and not worrying about the content of your blog. You obviosuly feel very strongly about this so why shouldn’t you write about it.

    Very well written post.

    I totally agree and Snaffles will not be having the vacination either. Nor would we have Tamiflu if I felt we did have the virus.

    I am fairly certain that my husband was correctly diagnosed with it last month, I have never seem him so ill and he was incoherent.

    However, basic hygiene rules and antibiacterial gels and spreacys prevented the other 3 members of the household getting this.

    I completly agree that each family needs to make their own decisions depending on their circumstances.

    For now my decision is no but if our circumstances change then i would reconsider my decision if necessary.

  5. December 11, 2009 10:17 am

    We “think” that the boys had flu over the summer when they were no longer testing. I didnt give Tamiflu and both boys were fine in about a week.

    MaxiMad has underlying health issues, but at this time we have chosen not to give it, however, we have not even been offered it!!

    I believe that everyone needs to make their own decision, but I feel strongly that children should be vaccinated for Mumps and Measles, especially as my Great Aunt is Deaf and Dumb due to measles and I spent a week in ITU at 5 with them.

  6. Queeneileen permalink
    December 11, 2009 10:29 am

    I wasn’t given the MMR due to my mum previously having a severely disabled child but W has had it BUT neither of us are having the swine flu vaccine. People die of flu every year, I can’t see how this is different, really.
    I’m with you 🙂

  7. December 11, 2009 12:19 pm

    see- I’m going to wait just a little longer to see what happens with side effects before my children go near it…or me even

  8. December 11, 2009 3:36 pm

    I don’t have any issues with the vaccine but there’s research published in no less that the BMJ that seriously questions the value of Tamiflu ( – undoubtedly the real cash cow.

  9. December 11, 2009 4:42 pm

    as you say it’s a personal choice.

    My daughter is 10 and therefor is not offeered the vaccine. I am an NHS worker but not ‘front line’ so I’m not offered it either.

    IF I was I would have it, if I coud get it for my daughter I would.

    Evey flu vaccine is new each year – they have to be as the strain changes – so the H1N1 is just the same as all seasonal flu vaccines.

    A 9 yo girl has just died near here of H1N1 (yes she was tested and no, she didn’t have any underlying health issues)

    so I’m not having it but I wish I was and I wish the rest of my family was too.

    I agree too that MOST cases of all flus are not lethal.

    Stay well everyone.

  10. Emily O permalink
    December 11, 2009 9:10 pm

    An interesting one. I’m pregnant and decided to have the swine flu vaccine a couple of weeks ago. I was undecided for a long time but went for it because pregnant women are far more likely to be hospitalised with swine flu than any other group. Also I realised my new baby would have my immunity through breastfeeding. I’ve decided my two under 5s will have the vaccination because this particular flu strain is hitting the young much harder than the usual flu strain. This vaccination is not very different to the usual seasonal flu jab. It’s a very personal decision and I respect your decision to do the opposite to me! I agree with you about hypochondriac society, one of my friends’ sons supposedly had swine flu and he was ill for about two days. There is also the controversy over Tamiflu and the vast amounts of money the drug companies are making from it. Have you heard about the £20 note test? If you’re on the sofa ill and a £20 note is lying on the floor: you pick it up if you have a cold, but if you’ve got proper flu you can’t!

  11. notsuchayummymummy permalink*
    December 11, 2009 10:24 pm

    Thanks so much for all your comments. As I’ve said it’s such an individual choice and people’s circumstances are very different. I have to say Emily I don’t know what I’d do if I was pregnant, 2 people I know are curently trying to decide what’s best for them.
    Dotty – completely understand your situation, you can’t put them at risk.

  12. December 11, 2009 11:40 pm

    I’m not giving it to my two yr old or anyone in this family either. I was talking to a chemist about it (the kind who sells the vaccine) and he said he wouldn’t. The vaccine protects you for a year. Getting it and getting through it protects you for life. He reckons it may well come around again, and possibly in worse form, in years to come, and chances are that those who’ve had it by then will have built up a resistance.

  13. December 23, 2009 12:34 pm

    sadly Mwa you can’t build up a resistance to influenza. It’s one reason it’s so deadly, and also the reason that a new vaccine is made each year. the virus mutates and is different each year. It’s why ‘flu vaccinations are a yearly event.

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