It’s astonishing – and utterly terrifying – to think we could be seeing a return to outbreaks of incurable diseases such as whooping cough, polio and measles.
But with the shocking news this week that the number of parents registering ‘conscientious objection’ and refusing to vaccinate their children has sky-rocketed.
According to reports:
LEADING scientists say the anti-immunisation lobby is endangering children’s lives because of the soaring number of parents refusing to vaccinate.
The number of Australian babies not fully immunised is now one in 12 and parents registering a conscientious objection has leapt from 4271 in 1999 to more than 30,000.
The figures have prompted 12 top researchers to launch a campaign this week to debunk the claims of groups that claim vaccinations are dangerous.
Professor Ian Frazer, who developed the cervical cancer vaccine, said he feared immunisation levels for some diseases were falling below those required to prevent deadly outbreaks.
And eminent biologist Sir Gustav Nossal has accused the anti-vaccination lobby of preventing the eradication of measles through its false claim that the vaccine against the disease caused autism.
A 20-page booklet to be launched today explains that many more children will die from diseases such as measles, mumps and diphtheria than will be harmed by the side effects of immunisation.
The booklet, launched by the Academy of Science, will also explain why it is better to gain immunity from a vaccination than from the disease.
Let’s be very clear. Those who refuse to immunise their children are not just risking their own children’s health but the lives of others in the community. Vaccinations are not perfect – occasionally, those who have been immunised can still contract the disease – but they are the best we’ve got to protect us against incurable diseases.
We all rely on the immunity of others to protect us, particularly those who are too young to be immunised and anyone with an illness that suppresses their immune system (such as cancer). They are our most vulnerable and high levels of immunisation in the community (above 95%) are crucial for their welfare.
Professor Nossal said the anti-vaccination lobby was only able to campaign against immunisation because of its success in reducing the outbreak of infectious diseases.
Professor Frazer said it was because parents no longer saw cases of measles or mumps that they did not understand measles could kill a child and cause brain damage or that mumps could make a male sterile and that chicken pox could be fatal.
“As infectious diseases become less common, people are less aware of the need to vaccinate their children,” Prof Frazer said.
We have written about this many many times on Mamamia and we will continue to throw our weight behind science and scientists like Professor Ian Frazer and Professor Gustav Nossal to help discredit the wildly irresponsible and immoral anti-vaccination propaganda actively spread by the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN).
Because on the one hand there is science and there is no other hand. Our lives and the lives of our children depend on it.
So next time some without any medical qualifications urges to you ‘do your research’, you can tell them this: it’s already been done by hundreds and thousands of scientists far more qualified than someone with access to Google.
Are you as frustrated as we are and what to do something about it?
If you agree that vaccinations are of paramount importance and if you refuse to buy into the misinformation and scare campaigns spread by the AVN and other anti-vaccination groups, if you have vaccinated your kids or intend to vaccinate any kids you have in the future, if you support scientists over unqualified, unscientific scare-mongering, if you believe we all deserve the right to live in a society free from serious illnesses that can kill the most vulnerable among us, please sign our pledge.
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