Of all the risks that keep me awake at night about my children, I can’t say I have ever felt the fear clutch my throat and say: “Oh my God, perhaps they’ve got chicken pox!”
I’m not claiming that chicken pox can never have complications, just that – if taxpayers are going to spend millions tackling childhood risk – they might look elsewhere first.
Let’s not set out in too much detail exactly who profits by the suggestion, in a report 48 hours ago, that chicken pox vaccine should be added to the controversial MMR. But no doubt we will be subjected to the usual barrage of public relations from the pharmaceutical world, explaining how chicken pox is a major risk to us all that we have never noticed before.
But there are two other very odd things about this. Why is it that successive governments have been so fixated about the risk to babies, and overwhelm newborns – or pre-borns – with advice and care, but then let children grow up in hideous concrete Bastilles, bored out of their brains by New Labour ersatz education, fed on chemicals and additives? Strange, isn’t it.
The other peculiar aspect is about immunity. I’m not a scientist, still less a doctor, but I can recognise a mega-trend when I see one, and something funny is going on about human immunity. I don’t just mean Aids or ME, but other variants of faulty immune system like asthma (one in seven children now), eczema and allergies.
I don’t know whether this is a result of more chemicals in the environment, or whether it has something to do with overloading the immune systems of babies by multiple inoculations directly into their bloodstream. I don’t know, but I’d feel a good deal happier if the government was asking the question too, instead of just bullying people into getting the jabs.
Both my children have had them. There are good reasons for that, though I wonder about MMR. I told the health visitor about my crisis of immunity theory and could see the irritation and shock on her face. The next thing I knew, the head of immunology for Croydon was phoning me up at home to remonstrate (she didn’t agree either).
But I know other doctors who are asking similar questions. I daren’t provide any clues to their identity, because I fear the government’s health police will track them down. But I’m glad at least that somebody is asking, before we add another unnecessary jab to the already potent cocktail.