I wish I had given my daughter the swine flu jab

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Sick child My 7-year-old daughter had swine flu and it was hell.

It lasted two weeks. She had a sore throat and a high fever. She had a chesty, hacking cough that would lead to getting sick (not that she had much to throw up, she wasn't eating). She was tired and listless. At one point she recoiled when I touched her. She just wanted to be in bed, alone, with the lights off. She had a respite after a week, but then it came back with a vengeance; more coughing, more getting sick, more high fever. My main goal was to keep her temperature down and to make sure she took liquids.

My GP is a star and checked on her each day. Right before Christmas, as a precaution, he treated her with antibiotics for a secondary infection. He said she wouldn't cope well if she developed a chest infection over the holidays, and that hospital was the last place I'd want her to be.

She pulled through without having to go into hospital, but it was physically and emotionally draining. I didn't want to go through this with my other children, so it looked into the jabs.

I had forgotten that my youngest had the jab last year when the NHS offered it free to under 5s, so she was still covered. But I was worried about my 8-year-old going back to school and into mainstream germ warfare. She is not in an "at-risk" group, so not eligible for a free jab under the NHS. However, I requested it, and our GP gave me a prescription for the jab which I had to fill myself and bring back to the sister to administer. They did not charge to administer it. I picked up the prescription at Boots, it cost £12.99. While I was there, I spent another £12.99 and had the jab too. There was no waiting and it took 5 minutes. It takes up to three weeks for the jab to be fully effective, but the sister told me my daughter would start making antibodies immediately.

My 7-year-old survived swine flu, just like most healthy children will. But I sure wished I had given her a little more protection and given her the jab.

Photo credit: free parking

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  1. enid holmes
    04/02/2011 / 03:57

    The NHS is the jewel in the crown of the U.K.
    Having lived pre-1947 and experiencing the fear of medical bills and illnes and the feeling of security since, I have gladly paid through my taxes for the benefits it provides. As for the scare stories….well, newspapers have to be filled, haven’t they !

  2. 08/01/2011 / 01:42

    Apparently there is a swine flu threat here in the USA but they are not pubicising it in the same way as last year. The only available jab is the combination flu/H1N1 and I got both my kids vaccinated as well as myself (as we did last year). So sorry your child had to go through this.

  3. Amodernmother@gmail.com
    07/01/2011 / 18:31

    Good luck with your daughter. My brother-in-law is a consultant and he said an email went out saying GPs can issue the vaccine at their discretion.

  4. Antonella
    07/01/2011 / 18:16

    Hi Susanna, It’s me again. Got my jab today. The only place where vaccines was still available in my town was Tesco! And at 2.30 they were already running out of the 100 doses they received today! I’m getting a phone call from another doctor in the surgery on Monday about my daughter. We’ll se what he says, but in the meanwhile the stocks are running out. Have a great weekend. Hope your daughter is feeling much better by now. Ciao. A.

  5. 07/01/2011 / 11:29

    Hi Susanna
    Great post. Sorry to hear your little one had it. My husband had it last year (confirmed by private swab) but strangely didn’t give it to me, my two year old or my then three-month old baby. I know a lot of mums who are asking about getting the jab for their little ones but there is much confusion about whether the GP will give it if your child is not in a ‘at risk’ group. Thanks for the info anyway. Ren x

  6. Surprisedzoe
    07/01/2011 / 11:06

    Gosh, I have been a bit blasé about the whole thing but I guess I was wrong.
    I am so glad you are through this and thank you for sharing.

  7. A Modern Mother
    07/01/2011 / 10:00

    I can’t believe they won’t prescribe if you pay yourself! i suspect it’s down to the GP’s judgement. You could change GPs, but that is not practical. I’m not sure who to ask if it is a right. Any ideas readers????

  8. Antonella
    07/01/2011 / 09:45

    Hi Susanna, I’m having my flu jab this afternoon in Tesco. Asda and Boots have run out of doses! But my GP surgery refuse to issue a prescription for my daughter who’s 11. My son is 17 and doesn’t want to have a jab. I wonder if you know if we have a right to get a private prescription if we pay. Many thanks. Ciao. A.

  9. Knackered Mother
    06/01/2011 / 22:11

    My eldest boy’s class is half the size due to children poorly at home with various bugs and lurgies. I’m calling my GP in the morning, want to get the little ones done a.s.a.p.

  10. 06/01/2011 / 21:23

    Oh lord. Had no idea! I am so so sorry to hear your daughter had the swine flu. How heartbreaking, witnessing her suffering so much. Glad that she is on the mend, poor thing.
    Cannot believe they don’t give the flu shots more willingly to children (older than 5)–if I understood your post correctly.
    We haven’t heard of the swine flu here in CA THIS year, but my nephew did catch it last year.
    Here’s hoping that everyone stays well & healthy into 2011!

  11. 06/01/2011 / 17:47

    After the big hoo-ha last year, I heard someone complain that she didn’t know what all the fuss was about – swine flu hadn’t been that big of a problem. Erm, perhaps that’s because everyone went and got the shots? Just perhaps?
    I am guilty of not getting a shot this year (did you notice how you’re saying “jab” and I’m saying “shot”?) – but my shoulder is still recovering from the idiot pharmacist last year who stuck the needle under the nerve tissue in my left deltoid. I’m just praying that if my kids are covered, it probably won’t get to the house.

  12. Lorraine The Party Times
    06/01/2011 / 14:45

    Must have been dreadful for the whole family – brought home the severity of it with you comment about your daughter recoiling when you went to touch her – you must have felt so useless. And now all must be totally drained physically and emotionally so be kind to yourself x

  13. Suzanne
    06/01/2011 / 09:31

    You sound like you have had an awful time, just so pleased that your daughter is on the other side of it now. I also have a seven year old who has gone back to school today and I must admit you have given me food for thought about the jab. Thankyou.

  14. 06/01/2011 / 09:12

    What a rough ride for you all. I’m glad to hear you are all better now. It’s *so* hard when our LO’s are ill; show me a parent who wouldn’t rather take that illness and go through it themselves rather than watching their babes suffer.
    Personally I don’t give vaccinations for anything, but I believe in a ‘live and let live’ attitude towards all things in life. As parents it’s a tough enough job to make the right decisions without feeling attacked or criticised by other people for our choices…
    Just glad all is well now and thanks for sharing your experience. You’ve clearly inspired a lot of your readers to take precautions and offered great information for those who want the vaccinations but were not eligible. Your GP sounds wonderful; an understanding and supportive GP is worth their weight in gold.

  15. 06/01/2011 / 08:00

    Glad to hear that your daughter is better 🙂 Here in Ireland we’re just starting to think about vaccination as we read about cases of swine flu in the UK. I hate giving vaccinations ti the kids so only Smiley got it last year – through her school – as she is a high risk case. As her carer I got it too. Haven’t decided what to do yet.

  16. Susanna
    06/01/2011 / 07:01

    I was talking to my mother in California and she said the same thing — she hadn’t heard of any cases there. I’m afraid it all comes down to cost.

  17. Susanna
    06/01/2011 / 07:00

    I do miss that about the US!

  18. 06/01/2011 / 00:09

    I wonder why the NHS don’t offer it or at least encourage everyone to get it? Here my work actually offered free flu jabs (included swine flu) to employees and family so we all get one. Everyone gets a flu shot every year here as I’m sure you recall. I’ve heard so many tales of sick kids in the UK and not heard of a single case here, I’m really surprised that its not offered routinely. Must be the cost, I guess.
    Glad your daughter is feeling better, poor thing.

  19. 05/01/2011 / 21:27

    Very nasty and glad to hear she got through it. I’m having a jab tomorroww. Although my youngest had the jab and also had swine flu…

  20. 05/01/2011 / 20:58

    good for you! I’m so sick of people trying to scare others out of jabbing their kids! MIne, my own arm and my husband are fully jabbed to the hilt. Thanks!

  21. 05/01/2011 / 20:56

    I’m so glad you’re out the other side. My 2yo had to go to hospital last week with breathing difficulties caused by suspected swine flu. It’s awful. Thankfully he’s bounced back really quickly. I would have no hesitation in all of us having the jab, both boys had it the year before but weren’t eligible this time. I didn’t know you could pay to get it done. There’s too much scaremongering regarding jabs these days. I wouldn’t wish swine flu on anybody x

  22. 05/01/2011 / 19:41

    That sounds terrifying – so glad she pulled through and is on the mend. It’s a scary bloody thing and I just hope we don’t get affected as none of us had the jab either.

  23. nappyvalleygirl
    05/01/2011 / 16:45

    So sorry you had to go through that over Christmas.
    My boys have had the jab, last year and this. The only person not innoculated is me but you have reminded me to go and get it!

  24. Susanna
    05/01/2011 / 16:25

    Let me know how you get on, very interested

  25. Susanna
    05/01/2011 / 16:24

    It doesn’t seem to be a threat in the US this year — perahps because more people have had the jab???

  26. Susanna
    05/01/2011 / 16:23

    I’d be very interested in hearing what happens Antonella. If you buy it yourself, I don’t see why they wouldn’t prescribe it for you. You could always try another GP!

  27. 05/01/2011 / 16:16

    My pediatrician recommended that my three get the regular flu jab this year (which they did) but I opted not to do the Swine Flu one since they had that last year and Swine Flu doesn’t seem to be as much of a threat this year. It’s always difficult to know what to do, but since there’s very little risk involved, I would err on the side of caution at all times. Little kids being very sick is worrying and exhasuting, as you say.

  28. Antonella
    05/01/2011 / 15:53

    Thanks, Susanna, for the info. I don’t think my gp will prescribe it for my daughter but i’ll try. Ciao. A.

  29. tammi
    05/01/2011 / 15:38

    Glad to hear that she is better, must have been a nightmare for you. Ashton had his last year, but leighton has never been offered it. I spoke to my gp today and although the government do not put leighton in the “high risk” group, my gp agreed with me that be should have it ASAP ad last year he had a cold which resulted in him being admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties. Personally I think all children should be offered it still. X

  30. Susanna
    05/01/2011 / 14:45

    This year’s jab includes swin flu, and other strains. You can go yourself to a chemsit like Boots (or Sainsbury’s) that provides the service. I had to look around a bit to find one near me. I didn’t have to make an appoitnment at Boots, I just showed up, bought it and got it (it alltook about 5 minutes!) These services cannot give to under 16s though. If your child is not in an at risk category, you need to get a prescription from your GP and buy the jab yourself, then bring it to the sister to administer. Last I heard it was very difficult to get Fluarix (for under 5s) but the one for older children/adults was still available.

  31. 05/01/2011 / 14:12

    So sorry to hear this, Susanna. I’m just glad that she pulled through ok withour going to hospital. I’m terrified by swine flu as I was last year. But I’m confused abiut this flu jab. is it just for the normal flu or also for swine flu? And can you just have it done in Boots or other chemists or you had to get it from the doctor’s. Wish you all the best. Ciao. A.