Melissa shares her story about her daughter Elyse who at 5 weeks caught chickenpox. Immunisation effects everyone in the community and it’s important to recognise that it’s our responsibility to keep everybody safe, not just our own child. 

When Elyse was 5 weeks old we woke up one morning and she had just a little spot on her chest. We took her to the doctors and they did’t know what it was so we rushed off to the Children’s where she was put in isolation. She was later on diagnosed as having Chicken Pox at only 5 weeks old. 

So when Elise was a baby I was a little bit sceptical to take her out too much, we just tried to stay home and have just family and friends visit. We had a family function to attend to when Elyse was bout 4 weeks old, we were unaware that there were primary school aged children there that were not immunised. We did’t know what it was so obviously we thought worst case scenario as a mother normally does. A lot of guilt set in that I hadn’t protected my daughter, and being a first time mum you obviously have all these expectations that you just want to do everything the best for your child. This caused a lot of anxiety which led to me suffering from post natal depression. You just think that these things won’t happen to my family or my child, yet they do. 

Immunisation is important to me because I would not like to see any other family go through what my daughter, myself and my family have gone through. I’m very lucky where Elyse has no long-term side effects, but we’re the lucky ones.

Immunisation effects everyone in the community and it’s important to recognise that it’s our responsibility to keep everybody safe, not just our own child. 

What I would like to say to parents is having the disease is a lot worse than having the vaccination.

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Department of Health and Human Services

Last updated: April 2016

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