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The vaccination debate

January 22nd, 2015 | Blog | Tags:

The following article by Pia Akerman appeared in The Australian on 19 January 2015. It caught my attention because of both the importance of immunising children, and the vigorous way immunisation is being supported in some States.


The vaccination debate.

Immunisation critics base their arguments on emotion, rather than fact, relying on parents’ love for their children and their strong desire to protect them against all ills. One of the problems in our world today is the ability of extreme views to be amplified and disseminated by social media. We all enjoy the connectedness offered by the internet and social media but there is an increased need to review and filter messages which may be faulty.

The best care we as parents can give our children must be based on good science.

This is definitely the case in the immunisation debate where our society has made great leaps in the protection of our children from potentially deadly diseases with the introduction of immunisation. Immunisation has been one of the largest life-saving advances made by modern medicine. The very best social outcomes are achieved by complete coverage of all children and adults for all recommended immunisations.

The broad level of protection is lessened by families who do not immunise their children. This places their own and others’ children at risk.

I face criticism from time-to-time about my strategies to assist children to sleep. The criticisms are always emotive rather than factual.

The advice I give both my critics and supporters alike is:

  • Criticism is an important part of all scientific development. If a philosophy is based on appropriate science and this science is linked with practical experience it will stand up to the criticism. This is definitely the case with both immunisation and my sleep strategies.
  • Over the years of developing my sleep guidelines, I have gone to great lengths to be able to prove that they work. We have also proven improved emotional wellbeing for mothers.
  • I fully comprehend the difficulties in managing multiple and contradictory parenting philosophies. The best way to achieve high quality and enjoyable parenting is through the use of advice based upon evidence and experience. Be informed of the options and base your decisions on fact tempered by your own experience.

Sleep well

Dr Brian Symon

The Babysleep Doctor

No jab, no play: children face lockout from childcare, The Australian, 19/01/2015

VICTORIA is set to follow NSW in implementing “no jab, no play” laws to restrict unvaccinated children from using childcare centres.

Work had already started on the legislation, which could come into effect as early as next year, Health Minister Jill Hennessy said yesterday. “We’re very passion­­ate about our ‘no jab, no play’ policy,” she said.

“To not vaccinate your child is unsafe — it’s unsafe for that child, it’s unsafe for other children.”

NSW introduced the policy last year, with children not fully immunised unable to enrol in childcare unless they have an approved exemption for a medical reason or their parents have a conscientious objection.

To get an exemption, parents must receive counselling from a medical practitioner and state that they have been advised of the risks of not immunising their child.

In Victoria, childcare centres will be required to turn away children who are not vaccinated, or face fines.

Vaccination rates in the Melbourne, Great Dandenong and Port Phillip council areas are below 90 per cent, despite a state target of 95 per cent.

Yesterday the government also announced the start of the tender process for a state-­sponsored whooping cough vaccine for expectant parents and parents of newborns.

The previous Coalition government ended a similar program in 2012, a move Premier Daniel Andrews linked to a 57 per cent increase in whooping cough notifications last year.

“People can exercise their own judgment, but the weight of evidence and common sense tells you that we ought to be vaccinating all of our kids,” Mr Andrews said.

“There is no doubt at all that this decision will save lives.”

The government anticipates providing about 80,000 extra whooping cough vaccinations each year under the program, which is expected to cost $8.4 million over four years.

Funding for the whooping cough vaccine will be stripped from the abolished Construction Code Compliance Unit that was set up by the Coalition as a building industry watchdog.

Mr Andrews has condemned the CCCU and the associated building industry code.

He said it was a “make-work scheme” that wasted taxpayers’ money.

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