Reporter braves the needle for measles jab

Mike Mather 'takes one for the team'

MIKE MATHER
Last updated 08:50 07/07/2014
Mike Mather, measles jab
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ

GETTING THE POINT: Waikato Times reporter Mike Mather mans up – mostly – to the MMR vaccine injection from NorthCare nurse Morgan Graham. He said his arm hurt ‘‘a bit’’ from the injection.

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It's a frequent occurrence for reporters to "take one for the team" and submit to unusual or even painful experiences in order to gain a better understanding of them.

We are, after all, professionals. In the course of my journalism career I have subjected myself to such indignities as deliberately making myself a target for dive-bombing magpies and (for reasons too convoluted to explain here) attempting to drive a car using only my feet - all in order to inform readers about the issues of the day.

One of my colleagues at the Waikato Times has even had herself tattooed in the course of getting a good story.

Bearing that in mind, the injection of a single needle filled with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine should, by comparison, be nothing to fear, shouldn't it?

This wasn't just an experience for experience's sake. I wasn't sure whether I had come down with the measles as a youngster - which would have made me immune to the disease. I was also unsure if I had been immunised against it during the 1970s. I didn't fancy spending weeks at home in quarantine if, through bad luck, I came down with the measles. So there was a practical reason for getting the jab too.

Putting myself into the care of the very capable and personable nurse Morgan Graham at NorthCare Medical Centre, I mentally prepared myself for the worst. The vaccine is a mixture of live attenuated viruses of the three diseases, administered via injection. That does sound a little daunting.

I needn't have worried. The experience of the needle penetrating my flesh was nothing, although my arm did smart a tiny bit as the vaccine worked its way through my subcutaneous tissues and into the bloodstream. But only a tiny bit.

There was pain to be had though. It in the form of enduring the relentless wisecracking and cajoling of Times photographer Chris Hillock and the merciless mirth of the news team when they saw the pictures.

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- Waikato Times

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