Last year, our daughter, aged six, had an injury which has required some extra care – which is why I have taken a bit of extended maternity leave. Spending time at the Children’s Hospital during her recovery meant we saw a lot of sick and injured kids. Then, after a party the other weekend and our toddler got really sick. On the way home he got so much worse, so we drove straight to the Royal Children’s Hospital. There was a small child in the room next door who was about four years old. She was just so ill with extreme diarrhoea, which she’d had for over a week. It turned out that the child hadn’t had her Rotavirus vaccine. It was so upsetting to see how much pain and distress it was causing her. I wouldn’t wish that on any child, especially if it could be avoided. These experiences have made us think that even though there are a lot of things that are beyond our control as parents.
Immunisation is one area we can control – so we can ensure that some of these awful things don’t happen to our kids. Because we run a small business we speak to lots of mums and immunisation is often a topic of conversation. Some people don’t like to go with the crowd but we are all part of the big picture. For example, most of my friends in my play group have older children who go to primary school. They had a measles outbreak recently. The whole school was totally disrupted. The parents couldn’t come in to do reading groups unless they could show their immunisation certificates. The kids just couldn’t understand it and got very upset. They missed their big Book Week event, which they had worked on for weeks. Everyone was totally shattered about it. It is really difficult to think that not immunising is a decision anyone could make. That decision not to immunise really affected everyone in the school community.
We want the best for our kids and that’s why we believe in immunising them. I remember to do the appointments. I check the book supplied by the health nurse to see where we are at, and then pop a reminder in my phone. It is extremely important to us that we protect our kids from something we can prevent.