Thursday, March 5, 2009


Measles is making a come-back in our school system. The other diseases that we haven't seen outbreaks of for years due to previously good vaccination statistics will be making a come-back, and whooping-cough is already commonplace. 

Personally, I think that this is terrible. Grown adults made the choice to not vaccinate their children for their own reasons, and now children suffer. The most frustrating part of this is that it won't only be the non-vaccinated who get ill, as vaccines are never 100% effective, so people who chose to vaccinate their children will also have to deal with the consequences of this serious disease. 

When I went to school in the eighties and nineties, measles was unheard of and extremely rare. Now Beerwah High School (close to where I grew up) has seven confirmed cases and another eight with symptoms who are yet to be confirmed.

Thankfully the school took action and at the start of the week told students that they had to provide proof of vaccination against measles or consent to a booster shot, or they would have to go home for at least two weeks. I wonder if it isn't too little, too late.

I dread the day when we need to start treating diphtheria again, but I think that everybody in the medical profession will need to prepare for this possibility.

Part of me respects the choice of parents who do not want to vaccinate. The other part looks on in horror at what is going to unfold because of the luxury of this choice.

6 comments: said...

I know many parents that do not vaccinate. Of course, the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Anyway, they do depend on the herd to protect them. Well, in my region the herd is getting pretty weak. Many parents refusing vaccinations and then people coming over the border unvaccinated.

These parents have never seen the tragedy that these diseases bring. If they did, maybe they would not make same the decisions they are now.

You are so right. It is the children who suffer. Sad.

I really like your blog ")

The Girl said...

Thanks for your comment and lovely complement. :)

I agree with what you say about the parents, and I am hoping that we don't have to see too much of the tragedy that these diseases bring before the tide turns back the other way and we all appreciate our vaccines again.

Thankfully we live in countries where the resources are available for all children to be vaccinated when the parents decide to do so, either free or at a reasonable cost.

I don't think that they realise that the herd immunity isn't there as much as it needs to be for their child to be protected, or that as advanced as modern medicine is, children will die from these illnesses if they contract them.

Thanks again for your comment.

Milk and Two Sugars said...

I respect the choice of such parents in the "if you want to make a potentially harmful decision that's your perogative" sense. As it is I find they're usually insufficiently informed about the diseases vaccines are created to prevent.

A paediatric pathologist over here has a photograph which he shows parents as an anecdotal arguement for vaccination: a headstone listing the names, ages, and date of death of a family of 9 children in who lived in Hobart in the late 1800's. One child died shortly after birth; the other 8 were killed by diptheria, in the span of a month. Their mother survived them by several years and is buried above them. It's unbearably tragic; that people chose not to prevent such diseases is truely horrifying.

HM said...

I am still utterly bewildered on a frequent basis at the number of intelligent and caring parents who shun MMR vaccines.

It's so easy to fall into the trap of blaming them, but it's not their fault.

Such a shame.

Dr Aust said...

As you may have heard, we have a
sizeable problem with this in the UK...


...not helped by a decade of dismal conspiracy-obsessed mainstream media coverage, or fairly gutless health promotion campaigns, or the wittering of dozy minor celebs and "personalities".

I'm not altogether surprised you have the same problems in Aus - hope it wasn't us exporting it to you, though.

The Girl said...

No, we're quite capable of generating our own brand of angst-ridden avoidant conspiracy theorists. It is scary how readily somebody will accept these whacky theories. :(

I think the internet, parenting forums which spread misinformation as "fact" and the ease with which these people can publish their material without any repercussions really needs to be looked at in the grand scheme of things.