Auckland couple Ian and Linda Williams thought they had made an informed decision against immunising their three children because of concerns over adverse reactions.
But they regretted their decision when middle child Alijah contracted the potentially fatal disease just before Christmas, and was put in an induced coma on life support at Starship hospital.
They immediately immunised their other children and wrote to Alijah’s school to warn parents who had not vaccinated against the disease and others such as whooping cough.
“It was me that put my son in this situation,” Mr Williams said.
“Parents like us make the decision to not vaccinate on very little factual information about the actual consequences of the diseases – massive pain, disability and death – and a lot of non-factual, emotive information from the internet stating inflated figures on the frequency and severity of adverse reactions and conspiracy theories about ‘evil’ doctors, governments and drug companies.” . . .
This is another example of arguments based on emotion rather than science.
Mr Williams, a food technologist with a science degree, believed much of the information that convinced him and his wife not to vaccinate was misinformation and myths.
“Believing myths about vaccines is not the same as getting the facts. And that is the core problem.”
Auckland Regional Public Health clinical director Dr Julia Peters said parents who did not immunise their children were making choices with potentially far-reaching implications for society.
They should think about whether they might infect someone without the same level of defence as them, for example, someone with cancer or a baby who was not yet immunised. . .
Herd immunity requires most of the herd to be vaccinated.
Those who don’t immunise their children put them and other vulnerable people at risk.
My mother nursed people with polio, tetanus, whooping cough and other debilitating and potentially fatal diseases which were common before mass immunisation.
That they are rare now is no excuse not to vaccinate. the Williams’ family’s story illustrates the risk is still there.
If you follow the link above you’ll see a list of myths about immunisation and the rebuttal.