There have been more than 40 reported cases of measles in Sydney’s south west this week with 10 affected people being taken to hospital.
A spokesperson for the South Western Sydney Public Health Unit has warned that all of those who have been hospitalised were not fully immunised against the disease.
The Herald Sun reports:
The majority of those affected have been school-aged children and babies under 12 months old. The Department of Education confirmed four high schools and a number of primary schools had circulated letters of warning to parents…
Meanwhile, Australian Doctor magazine has revealed the number of parental objections to vaccinations are at an all-time high. According to statistics collected from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register, 30,882 parents have formally objected to their child being immunised.
Of the more than two million children on the register, more than 6000 have no vaccination history.
The risks of failing to immunise children against potentially deadly diseases has been well documented on Mamamia (here and here). But with the anti-vaccination movement apparently gaining ground, we thought it was about time we revisited Dr Rachael Dunlop’s post about the common myths about vaccination and why they’re wrong.
Please read it and share this post among your social network so we can work against the dangerous misinformation circulated by the (Anti) Australian Vaccination Network (AVN):
Myth 1: Vaccines cause autism.
No doubt you’ve heard this myth – it’s been around for some time now. In a nutshell, there is no solid scientific evidence for a link between vaccines and autism. And believe me, science has been looking for well over 14 years. The theory that vaccines cause autism was first suggested by Andrew Wakefield in 1998. Since then, Wakefield’s paper has been discredited and withdrawn from The Lancet and Wakefield has lost his medical licence for showing “callous disregard” for children’s welfare.
Since 1998 there have been countless large and comprehensive studies looking for a link between vaccines and autism, but the evidence keeps coming up negative. The largest study was done in Denmark and covered all children born from January 1991 through December 1998. A total of 537,303 children of which eighty-two percent were vaccinated for MMR were examined and there was no association between vaccination and the development of autistic disorder.
Further, in August 2011, an exhaustive review of the scientific literature by the Institute of Medicine in the US concluded that overall “few health problems are caused by or clearly associated with vaccines”. And when I say “exhaustive review”, I mean 12,000 peer-reviewed articles, covering eight different vaccines were pored over by a committee of 18 experts in the largest review of adverse events associated with vaccines since 1994. It was a thorough and herculean effort concluding that there is no causal relationship between vaccines and autism.
Myth 2: Vaccines contain mercury
Mercury was removed from all routine childhood vaccines in Australia in the year 2000 (with the exception of one type of HepB vaccine which contains trace amounts) and it was never in the MMR vaccine. Prior to 2000, thimerosal, an organomercury compound, was used in the manufacturing process of vaccines as a preservative. The process left only trace amounts in the finished product – you ingest more mercury when you eat a can of tuna than you would ever get from a vaccine. Also there are two types of mercury – methyl mercury is the scary environmental toxin that “bioaccumulates” in your body, and ethyl mercury the type found in thimerosal, which does not bioaccumulate.
If thimerosal was implicated in autism, you would expect a significant drop in cases after its removal. Instead the opposite is true – autism rates continue to rise.