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A parent’s guide to the chickenpox vaccine

Main image 26 July, 2019

There’s nothing worse than seeing your child get ill, and even suffering a comparatively mild illness such as chickenpox can leave a child (and the parents!) feeling miserable. Itchy spots, a high temperature, loss of appetite, aches and pains… it’s no fun for anyone. That’s why many parents opt for the chickenpox vaccine; a simple injection in the leg and a second dose administered after four weeks, which provides full immunity against the disease.

Here at YourGP, we go out of our way to ensure every visit to the practice is as relaxing and reassuring as possible, for the parent and for the child. But don’t just take our word for it. Read on for a first-hand account of what a visit to YourGP is really like. Here, local Edinburgh mum Emily shares her experience of taking her daughter Rose to YourGP for the first time to get the chickenpox vaccine.

As a first-time mum I’m an incessant worrier, and potential health issues are right up there at the top of my list! Thankfully my daughter Rose, who is now nearly two, has never had anything more than the odd cough and cold, but when my nephew recently got chickenpox and I could see how miserable it was making him feel, I decided to look into the possibility of getting Rose vaccinated.

Although the chickenpox vaccine is not currently available on the NHS here in the UK, it is given as part of the routine immunisation schedule in many other countries. With my mind made up that vaccinating Rose was the right thing to do, I just needed to decide where to get it done. After a quick search online, YourGP immediately stood out. I’d never visited before but I instantly recognised the name after reading recommendations from other mothers on Facebook groups and local online forums. And after mentioning the practice to a few other mums at playgroup, the responses were all overwhelmingly positive and I was certain Rose would be in safe hands.

I called the practice and explained that neither I nor my daughter were registered at YourGP but the friendly receptionist assured me that this wasn’t an issue. She talked me through their availability and just a couple of days later I was in the consultation room having an in-depth chat with the nurse while Rose helped herself to the box of toys and puzzles.

Seeing how relaxed the nurse was instantly put my mind at rest. She talked us through all the details, from the best way to hold Rose to stop her fidgeting while the injection was being administered, to possible side effects. When we were ready, the nurse played a cartoon on her computer screen as a clever distraction tactic, and quick as a flash, the injection was over.

Of course, there were a few tears from Rose, but a big hug from mummy and a sticker from the nurse made everything better. Four weeks later and no sign of any side effects, other than a little initial redness on Rose’s left leg where she was injected, we returned for the second dose. I was a little apprehensive in case Rose remembered the last injection but she made a beeline straight to the box of toys and seemed completely unphased while we waited to be seen. Again, it was all over quickly and despite a few more tears, Rose walked out of the practice proudly sporting a sticker to show how brave she’d been. And I walked out of the practice with a weight lifted, knowing I no longer had to fret about Rose getting chickenpox – one less thing to worry about!

If you’d like to find out more about the chickenpox vaccine or any other child health services available at YourGP, book an appointment by emailing our reception team at reception@your.gp or calling 0131 225 5656.

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