Maitland parents should be congratulated for looking to science, not scare tactics, to protect their children.
Once again the region’s little ones have recorded one of the highest immunisation rates in the country. Just 46 of Maitland’s five-year-olds are not fully vaccinated and the area has an immunisation rate of 95.5 per cent.
For many parents, it’s a must-tick box. We don’t want our children to fall ill so we take preventative action.
For others, however, fears that vaccines contain toxins or make children more susceptible to illness are cause for avoidance.
The Australian government introduced legislation at the beginning of 2014 to prevent unvaccinated children from being enrolled in childcare.
Medical experts say that immunisation rates among children need to be at 93 per cent to stop the spread of disease. When rates fall below this, outbreaks occur. Yet immunisation remains a polarising issue. People who believe vaccines are more dangerous than illness are passionate and persuasive.
Earlier this year an official investigation found that the Australian Vaccination Network, a group that claimed vaccinations caused autism, cancer and brain damage, had spread inaccurate information.
The group surrendered its charity status and was forced to insert the word skeptics into its title. The group lives on, however, as the Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network.
But the reality is: among pockets of people where there are low vaccination rates, there have been outbreaks.
In an era of health, sanitation and overall prosperity, most of us haven’t shared our lives with people crippled by polio. We haven’t lost siblings to mumps or whooping cough.
Let’s keep it that way and maintain our strong immunisation rate.