Saturday, May 14, 2005

MeNZB. Is this safe?

We're parents of two pre-school kidlets. They are both vaccinated against a whole load of mysterious diseases and we always go through the same decision points before they get jabbed:

Is it safe?
What are the side effects?
What are the risks of not vaccinating?

Nonetheless, both Ms R and Little Ms R are covered for lots of nasties. Ms R, being born in the UK, is already vaccinated against Meningococcal C, the strain that was most prevalent over there, and there was a similar series of concerns over its safety. Little Ms R, being born in NZ, is not covered.

Now we find ourselves wondering about Meningococcal B, the strain that is apparently an "epidemic" in NZ. We spent several hours last night on Google reading up about the new vaccine MeNZB from Chiron and now we have serious concerns.

I was of the camp that we should vaccinate as the risks are too great and this is one mean little bacterium. Mrs R was nervous already, having heard some negative stuff.

Having trawled cyberspace, I am real worried. Now, I am not a big conspiracy theorist but this vaccine all seems a bit rushed and the positive stuff is all spookily the same, as if it was a big "cut and paste" from a Chiron PR brochure. The negative stuff contains so called "facts" that are at odds with the government "facts" and they are poles apart.

So, who do you believe?
What is clear is that this is a rush job and the words "experiment" appear a lot out there.

Who do you trust?
Having read the parliament transcript, it ain't Annette King as she doesn't seem to understand our concerns and appears to be reading straight from the "how to patronise parents and make them feel stupid" book.

We have to make a decision in the next three weeks and don't feel informed enough to go either way. We found this interesting update but, again, who do you trust?

Either way, you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
Does anyone have any idea?
Has anyone already had the vaccine and were there any side effects?


  1. As my nurse friend said a few weeks ago "if you had nursed these poor children (as she has) then you wouldnt hesitate about getting your own kids vaccinated".

  2. Thanks birman b.
    If it were that easy a decision we would have made it already.
    The point is that this appears to be an unproven vaccine with unknown side effects - apparently. We don't know really, which is why we were asking.
    We are terrified of not vaccinating as we have a very good idea of the effects of this bug. The question is "would you risk it not knowing the whole story?" To put it into context, even our cats are vaccinated against most things but the vaccines are well tested and proven in animals.....

  3. My older two had the first of the 3 jabs at school last week. No side effects, except sore arms..

    And yes, I wrestle with the whole thing too...Youngest has to have his done in hospital because he is anaphalatic. Dreading it.

  4. carolineM: Thank you. It is always a worry. I'm sure all will be well for your youngest - from what I read, the medium they use in this one does not contain the stuff that is usually to blame for instant negative reactions. We had a shock with our youngest after the MMR hence our concern and sensitivity this time.
    It is good that you can take your youngest to a hospital - that must be reassuring. We are going to see our GP this week to talk it through - I expect we will go ahead anyway as the risks of not are too great to bear.
    Hope all goes well for you and yours.