Baby Ben was up for his MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine on the 31st October, a few days after he turned one year old but I totally forgot about it. Off I went to the health center yesterday hopeful of being accepted as a walk-in patient (non-appointment) but was told I need to see the nurse in the pedia section to see if they accept walk-ins. This was after I spent 30 minutes in the reception queue – watching the ladies attend to the patients as well as to their BlackBerrys, taking their own sweet time, waiting customers be damned.
The nurse asked me to take an appointment for the next day so I have to go back to the reception again and wait again for my appointment paper. So much time wasted but lesson learned: when you have an appointment with the government clinics/hospitals here, DON’T ever forget your appointments!
That ‘next day’ was today. Don’t worry I did not forget! We were even very early there.
Nurse: Before I give the MMR vaccine, I’d like to ask you a question: Is the child allergic to eggs?
Me: I think so. Actually, I don’t know but I think so.
Nurse face puzzled.
Me: You see, his older sister is allergic to eggs so I assumed he would be too so I avoided everything and anything with eggs in it.
Nurse: So no cookies or cakes? He turned one, right?
I can read that her face says, “What kind of mother are you? No bite of the birthday cake!?”
Me: No, nothing with eggs in it.
Nurse: I’m afraid I have to be honest with you – without knowing if the baby’s allergic reaction to eggs, it’s risky to administer the MMR vaccine. Some babies with allergies might have some reaction to the vaccine because of the egg component present in it. If the allergy to eggs is extreme, causing breathing difficulties (anaphylactic), MMR vaccine will be delayed until he outgrows the allergy.
The preparation for the measles vaccine involves incubating the virus in cell cultures which contain chicken cells derived from the egg. If your child has had a severe allergic reaction to eating egg before, let your doctor or nurse know well in advance. To be on the safe side, they may suggest your child is given the vaccine in the paediatric ward of your local hospital so he can be watched carefully.
She continues: “I advise you to go back home and give him something with egg and see his reaction to it and then come back here. Oh mom, just in case anything frightening really happens, you know the emergency number, right?”
So there goes another wasted time at the clinic and I’m right here very nervous about giving him anything with eggs in it. The memories of that day 8 years ago when I ran to the emergency when Pristine had allergic reaction to it is still fresh in my mind!