Sunday, August 25, 2013

Israel Polio Scare II

After much deliberation, listening to the official Ministry of Health explanations and filtering out the useful information, I have come to understand that only children who have already had the dead (inactive) polio vaccine will be given the weakened live polio vaccine.  The live vaccine stays active for up to six weeks.

Before Raphaela's surgery around the age of two, I felt her immune system was too weak to handle the slew of vaccines regularly offered to children, and I did not finish the series.  Raphaela is, as someone said to me yesterday, "one of the unwashed masses for whom this hysteria has been initiated," so it appears that my daughter will be receiving the regular (IPV) vaccine instead.  I must protect her as best I can before she starts school and may be exposed to the live virus through contact with other children in the new Gan.

The weekend newspapers said that we Jerusalemites were terrible terrible people, with a compliance rate of only 2%.  They reported that all the nurses specifically hired to deliver the vaccine were sitting around, twiddling their thumbs in boredom.  The Ministry of Health threatened than any child not properly protected against the disease would not be allowed in school (which starts this Tuesday) for six weeks.  The New York Times featured a page two story about the spread of polio in third world countries, where politicians/dictators deny their population the vaccine.

Sufficiently frightened, I decided that I would take her to Tipat Chalav [the municipal Israeli Well-Baby Clinic system] on Sunday. After a brief work day, Raphaela and I drove to the nearest center, only to be greeted by parents and children overflowing into the street, numbers being assigned and the warning of at least a two hour wait.  We received number 484, and they were only in the mid 430's, and so we settled-in on the floor with my iPad and played games.

At a certain point a whole group of children were gathered around our iPad, and one of the mothers offered to exchange a food run for baby sitting, since I had completely neglected to bring any food for the long wait; I happily agreed to the deal.

Two and a half hours later, I explained to the nurse that my daughter (for reasons I did not wish to explain) actually needed to start the regular IPV series, rather than receive the live polio drops.  The nurse offered me a three for one bargain, she would consider putting in Hep A and Hep B at the same time, and I very firmly refused.  Research has shown that bundled vaccinations cause more damage than a stand-alone version.

All morning long, my amazing and intuitive child  had been asking me, "What is the doctor going to do to me?"  And I had dodged artfully.  Now she understood that she really wasn't going to enjoy this doctor's visit, and she started sobbing and running away, and hid in a corner of the room.  It took five minutes for me to immobilize her, and once the nurse injected the vaccine, I then allowed myself to cry with her.  Frankly, I am surprised you all didn't hear her screaming.

The nurse assured me that it will be "this craziness in Israel" for the next three months, and then invited me to come back after the Jewish holidays for her second dose.  The nurse suggested that maybe I should bring my husband next time, or an extra pair of hands for help.  (And presumably, my husband would not cry like I did?)    I was barely listening, just trying to get us both out of there so I could comfort Raphaela in private, and not scare the other children.

Then we went to the store and I got Raphaela a fantastic treat; as most parents will agree, bribery works.  But when I offered her a Chiropractic adjustment, something I regularly recommend to my clients after their children get vaccinated, she refused.

1 comment:

Commenter Abbi said...

You did the right thing. I hope you complete the rest of her shots.