We took Bear for a private Meningitis B vaccine today, so not only was it the first day back at nursery (after two weeks of climbing the walls) but it was also what will forever more be known as ‘what a prick day’.
I’m probably the ‘prick’ in his mind for putting him through it, but hey, I can live with that.
The Meningitis B vaccine for infants was introduced between the births of my little Beastlies, meaning Bunni has had it but Bear had not. A catch up service was also rolled out but he just missed out on it due to his date of birth.
This didn’t sit right with me. How could I immunise one child against something and not the other? How could I think it was important for Bunni to have it and not Bear? What if something happened? My little luvvies do so enjoy picking up the most random of ailments, particularly the Victorian ones.
I couldn’t live with the risk.
So I joined the waiting list at two private practices, knowing that they were both waiting on the vaccines to come through and I was one in a long line of parents wanting to ensure that their little one wasn’t going to miss out.
I waited and I waited but nobody contacted me. I sent emails. I chased. I was told, ‘It’s coming soon’. But it never did despite reassurances that I was on the list. Meanwhile, Bunni was born and subsequently vaccinated.
One child done.
One child immune.
Then I discovered that Boots were offering the vaccine so I tried to book online. I have to say, their website is pretty poor and not at all user-friendly. It crashed continuously, despite trying for several days until I eventually gave up and went to ask about it in my local store. Unfortunately they couldn’t help but suggested I ask the Doctor to write a prescription that I could pay for in full (not the reduced NHS cost) but when I asked about it at my surgery the Sister told me that this was a ridiculous suggestion and besides which they barely had enough of the vaccine as it was. Oh well, it was worth a try.
I forgot about it for a couple of months, until recently when I heard about a tragedy in Lancaster and my friend mentioned that she’d booked her daughter in to have it through Boots and that I should get back onto it. So after a lot of shouting at the Boots website (and a few swears), I got an appointment for today.
The jab was a bit nasty. The needle was bigger than any Bear has had before and it has to stay in (the arm) for a few seconds which doesn’t help, so it came as a bit of a shock to him. He had actually been looking forward to it all weekend. Poor kid. He cried silently for about 3 seconds, before perking right back up and shouting ‘thank you very much Doctor’, to the Pharmacist as we left – I should point out that she was absolutely lovely and handled him very sweetly.
To soften the blow we went straight to Home Bargains (I bloody love it in there) and spent three quid on a ‘ bravery reward’. I’m also hoping that this reward system will make my beautiful boy a bit less scared to go back for the second (and final) instalment of the vaccine in 8 weeks. Fingers crossed.
Do I feel guilty that my little guy has walked around with his arm held close to his body all afternoon, unable to use it properly? Errr, no. Yes, it’s achy and tender and I know it will give him problems in his sleep but I have no regrets. A day or two of discomfort is nothing compared to the ‘what-if’ or the ‘might have beens’.
Did I give it a second thought because it isn’t free? Hell no. I worried about the cost, of course, I’m a stay at home Mum, so we only have one income and it’s not cheap to get vaccinated privately. Boots charge £110 per dose (x2). But when you break down the cost over a 12 month period, it’s about the same as one takeaway a month. So, we’ll have a few less chippy dinners and eventually it will all even out, including our ever expanding waistlines. How could I not afford it when it’s broken down into curries?
I wholeheartedly believe in vaccinating my children. I’m aware that not everyone does and whilst I strongly disagree, I completely respect that each Parent can only do for their children what they are comfortable with. For me, the pros far outweigh the cons and I cannot ignore the statistics. We are so incredibly fortunate to live in a country with an outstanding NHS that vaccinates our children against many different things, at great expense, whilst remaining absolutely free to us and our families. But even where there is cost involved, I believe in the importance of the vaccine as a preventative measure regardless.
I’m off to get a little night time survival kit prepared – Calpol, water, thermometer, a stock pile of patience (that one may be trickier) – for the inevitable waking’s we are going to have but I’m going to sleep a little bit better knowing that I’ve wrapped yet another layer of cotton wool around my most precious things.