Arranging for their two preschool daughters to have an annual influenza vaccination is just one of the things that Waimana couple Dianne and Wouter Ten Haaf say they do to keep their family healthy during the winter.
[Dianne watches her daughter Tiffany play with a wooden puzzle.]
Title: Dianne & Wouter Ten Haaf, with daughter Tiffany. Supporters of influenza vaccinations for families.
[Interview with the family, intercut with shots of Tiffany in the backyard, blowing bubbles and climbing trees.]
Dianne: Being sick means being off work and you can’t afford being off sick, and me being a stay-at-home mum you can’t cope with being sick and looking after two little ones. I just find it’s really hard.
Wouter: I missed the flu vaccination once and as luck would have it that year I got very sick and it took me a long time to get back on my feet again. I also worked on commission at that stage and that affected our income severely because I was unable to work.
So from there on every single year, and it’s been fourteen years since, I’ve never had the flu thanks to the flu vaccination.
Our GP encouraged us to do the flu vaccinations for our children. We weren’t sure whether to do it or not and after consulting with him we were recommended and advised that it’s the best thing to do. And we just went ahead and did it and we’re very glad that we did it because neither of the two has been ill with the flu since birth.
[Shot of Tiffany showing the interviewer where she had her flu injection.]
Tiffany: It’s here.
Interviewer: Did it hurt?
Interviewer: Does it hurt now?
Tiffany: Y– Nope. [She shakes her head and smiles.]
[Back to the interview, again intercut with shots of Tiffany playing in the backyard.]
Dianne: Tiffany is asthmatic, or she was diagnosed being asthmatic before, so we just felt it’s really important for her to get her flu vaccination because of that. Because she starts getting coughing while having flu and a lot of sleepless nights for the whole family not just for her. So yes, that would be one of the reasons.
Wouter: And that’s why we do, for our children, we want to give them the best chance of a healthy upbringing. So we will go, whether we have to pay for it or not, for every single vaccination that we can do for them.
When their eldest child Tiffany was born they say they talked to their GP about whether it was a good idea to give children the influenza vaccination. ‘Our GP encouraged us and said it was the best thing we could do to protect our children from getting sick during the winter. They’ve been having it ever since and neither of them has ever had the flu,’ Wouter says.
‘Like all parents we want to give them the best chance of a healthy upbringing so we will do whatever it takes. We give them every single vaccination available to them.’
Having a flu vaccination has been even more important for Tiffany than her two-year-old sister, Abigail, because she has asthma. ‘Aside from the fact that she could get very sick with the flu, she coughs a lot when she is unwell, with a lot of sleepless nights for her and the whole family,’ Dianne says.
Wouter’s personal experience of influenza has made him even more aware of the benefits to his family of an annual vaccination. Fourteen years ago, before moving with Diane from South Africa to New Zealand, he was very unwell with a bout of influenza. ‘I missed the vaccination once and, as luck would have it, I got very sick. It took me a long time to get back on my feet again. I worked on commission at that stage and it affected our income severely,’ he says. ‘I’ve had the flu vaccination every year since then.’
Being a full-time Mum, Dianne says she also can’t afford to be unwell. ‘You can’t cope with being sick and looking after two little ones; it’s just too hard,’ she says.