Pharmacist slammed for claiming infant vaccine ‘unnecessary’

‘My pharmacist tried to talk me out of getting my baby vaccinated,’ claims Aussie mum

An Australian mum has spoken to parenting publication Kidspot, saying her experience with one pharmacist in relation to vaccination has been less than positive.

The mum, Alison, told Kidspot that she decided to get a private script for the meningococcal vaccine from her doctor for her five-month-old daughter.

She then headed to the local pharmacy to get it filled.

At first, the pharmacist told her that one of the vaccines the doctor had recommended was out of stock.

Alison questioned when it would be available, and the pharmacist responded that the vaccination wasn’t necessary and added that Alison’s baby didn’t need it anyway.

“She said it was unnecessary, especially because my daughter was so young,” the mum told Kidspot.

Alison then asked the pharmacist if she was aware of the outbreaks that had occurred in young children around Australia and informed her “it was really rude of her to say that it was unnecessary for me to protect my daughter’s life”.

But the pharmacist simply responded that the vaccination was an unnecessary measure.

She then repeated that the pharmacy didn’t have it in stock anyway and walked away.

“To hear that from somebody working in a chemist, she should know how serious that disease is. I felt like maybe she was an anti-vaxxer or something,” Alison told Kidspot.

“Basically what she was telling me was that meningococcal isn’t that serious and that’s ridiculous. I was very surprised.”

Babies and children at risk

According to Meningococcal Australia, babies and children up to the age of five years are at higher risk of developing the disease, accounting for two thirds of cases of meningococcal disease.

This is due to their less mature immune system and tendency to put things in their mouth and share food, drink and toys.

Meningococcal disease is a medical emergency, says the advocacy organisation.

“It can kill within hours, so early diagnosis and treatment is vital,” it says.

“A high fever is usually one of the symptoms.

“In Australia there are now vaccines available for each of the five main strains of the disease.”

There are currently three quadrivalent conjugate vaccines available for immunisation against Meningococcal A, C, W and Y: Nimenrix (from 6 weeks of age), Menveo (from 6 weeks of age) and Menactra (from 9 months of age).

A single dose of Nimenrix is currently provided for free at 12 months of age on the National Immunisation Program.

There are also two vaccines available on the private market for the protection of Meningococcal B disease: Bexsero (from 6 weeks of age) and Trumenba (in ≥10 years of age).

A better result

Alison went back to the same pharmacy two days later to ask about the vaccine, and said this time a different pharmacist handed over the vaccine without a problem.

“The next lady that served me was fantastic, she said ‘you know it’s really good you’re taking a proactive approach with this one, getting your baby vaccinated so young for it’, she was just really nice,” said Alison.

“Everyone else has been fine about it – it’s just that one chemist who was quite rude.”

Other mums supported Alison online, with one saying that pharmacists “need to keep their opinions to themselves”.

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  1. Amandarose

    Maybe the pharmacist in question was trying to reassure her because it was out of stock? It

  2. Ron Batagol

    What can you say? If the initial “discussion” by of the pharmacist was, exactly as related by the mother, you’ve got to absolutely cringe at such a response. What was this pharmacist thinking?????

  3. Alison Claxton

    As a pharmacist who almost lost their 5 month old child to meningococcal B when there was no Men B vaccine, I can only imagine this would come from someone who either a) was opposed to vaccination b) uninformed c) has never had anything to do with meningococcal disease. It can kill perfectly healthy people in less than a day. We should be speaking from the evidence when giving advice about any product.

  4. Gavin Mingay

    Hopefully the patient just misinterpreted what the pharmacist said, as often does happen when they are given the bad news that something is unavailable (which is now a daily occurrence)…

  5. Stu Ronny

    Totally lacked human to human communication and entirely spoken with supply and demand. Reassurance is one thing but to lie in such a manner is disrespecting your intelligence and your humanity.

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