Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pneumococcal Vaccine and another campaigning moment

We appeared in our local newspaper again yesterday. I'd written a stroppy letter to the editor following an earlier story and the Health Editor, Clare Boyd, had got back to me. She was keen to get the story straight but needed a new angle (that hackneyed 'Nasty PCT won't pay/postcode lottery thing wasn't going to make the cut again).

This led to 'Don't Gamble with this awful illness' - a full page story in the paper edition, complete with sidebar listing the symptoms and a large photo of Family Broekhuizen playing with the ubiquitous toy train. The story ties in with the launch on Monday of the Pneumococcal vaccine as part of the Vaccination Schedule for under-twos. Dad Jason Broekhuizen (36) comes over as a bit of a know-it-all but his heart is in the right place.

You don't want this illness happening to your kids, believe me.

Thinking about the couples with children I know, all of them have one parent who tends towards the 'it won't happen to us - look at the odds' when it comes to the category of experiences I will refer to obliquely as 'Bad Things'. I was that parent; I always thought that the balance my rationalised optimism provided to Nik's intuitive caution meant that, through the continual series of compromises and trade-offs that formulated our combined parenting approach, Tom would come out balanced and OK. Other children wouldn't have to be scrubbed and sprayed with DDT before being allowed in the house and we wouldn't let him juggle with scissors and bread knives until he was old enough to mop up the blood himself. So we went on until our luck ran out and were reminded that, just because there were long odds against something, it can still happen.

To finish up this broadcast promoting Pneumococcal Vaccine, I'll leave you with a quote from BBC Wales (and anyone else who's running a similar story this week)

Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Tony Jewell said: "We have already seen the immense impact this programme has had in the US. Since its introduction, infections in young children caused by the strains in the vaccine have fallen by 94%.


Brian Archbold, The Ear Foundation said...

The article reads well, so don't underestimate the impact that you're making!

All the best.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jason, Nicky & Tom. Gerri just sent me the link to your blog and I've had a quick read (another busy day at CERN). It was nice to get some news and hear about the good bits (unfortunatly don't know too much about PCTs). I thought your comment on the "it won't happen to us" was spot on, and your right, wishful won't doesn't mean can't. Also loved the sing-a-long story, may your life get filled up with more moments in this line. Should the Broekhuizen Family Singers be touring the Pays de Gex in the future please do drop by, we have some requests.
Love to all, A+A+SH