Vexed by childish fear of the anti-vax brigade

Vexed by childish fear of the anti-vax brigade

PARENTS should avoid feeding young children lest they get food poisoning and die.

There are statistics and studies that prove this scenario is possible, so any loving parent would surely keep their kid’s mouth closed. Maybe forever, just to be on the safe side. Also, parents should restrict access to toys, heaven forbid any of them come alive and, like a Chucky doll, grab knives and bats in a crazed kill-frenzy.

Just because we have no proof this has ever occurred, other than in horror movies, does not mean it will NOT occur. How foolish you would feel if your child was the first reported casualty?

And parents should never, EVER, let a child go outside: there is an infantismally minuscule, but oh-so-terrifying, risk of a meteor shattering as it enters Earth’s atmosphere, sending a glimmering falling star to distract doe-eyed kids while other white-hot rocks of death shower down on them.

No, nup and nuh-ah. In 2014, parents should not be allowing their fears to deny children the chance of a full, happy, productive and, above all, healthy life. Yet many are allowing an irrational fear to prevent their kids from being properly vaccinated.

Infectious diseases are the scourge of modern life. Seemingly no sooner is one disease brought under control than another is discovered or mutates into a different form.

Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children are undermining medical science in this never-ending battle against nature. If you believe Darwin’s theory of evolution (many anti-vaxers don’t) or survival of the fittest, some of us seem to be sending the message that humans deserve to die.

After much consideration, and having sought expert advice, Australia’s health ministers have agreed to support a new National Immunisation Strategy. Just published, it is a timely move, given the disruption caused by the Australian Vaccination Network (a group of underminers being forced to change their misleading name), debate over drug practices, new measles outbreaks and the release of geographic immunisation rates.

According to the National Health Performance Authority, in 2011-12 only one of the 61 Medicare Local catchments had a full immunisation rate among five year olds of 95 per cent, the level required to prevent a measles outbreak. In Eastern Sydney, the rate was only 84 per cent, while in the Medicare Local areas of Perth Central/East Metro and North Coast NSW it was 86 per cent. That’s why, targeting low take-up areas, governments will roll out awareness campaigns and remove any financial barriers to immunisation.

Health ministers considered, but rejected, measures that would have prevented unvaccinated children going to school. While the advice they relied upon remains secret, there is no conspiracy here: again, an informed decision appears to have been made in the best interests of the child.

And that should be the key for parents, too: demand information from your GP or nurse practitioner, consider it and act in the best interests of your child. There are risks, but in all but the most unusual cases vaccination is the way to go.

By the way, if any of the scenarios raised at the beginning of this column made your heart beat faster or your hands go clammy, consider this: there is also a chance of paper cuts from the newspaper you are reading or electric shock from the device on which you are browsing. Maybe its time to live on the wild side, mum and dad.


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Source: The Australian


Comment: A slight paradox: trying to negate our fears, yet raise them about vaccination.

The vaccination debate is loaded emotionally, and it is very, very difficult to gain a clear perspective beyond the political, social and medical investments in the field.

It also attains the proportions of a religious crusade, which makes any controversial view very subject to various forms of censure.