Immunisation a duty - mother
Those who don't - rely on those who do.IAN ALLEN
Will you/have you immunised your child?
Parents have a responsibility to society to have their children immunised, says a Blenheim mum.
Anna Crowe, whose three children aged 7, 6 and 2 are fully immunised, said people who didn't vaccinate their children relied on those who did.
They relied on the fact that bugs wouldn't be in the community, she said.
"If lots of people stop vaccinating it increases the risk for everyone, vaccinated or not. Especially for the more vulnerable people in society like the elderly, pregnant mums or newborn babies. It worries me that people don't vaccinate [their children]."
Her comments follow news that the growing number of objectors meant the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board missed its immunisation health target for children under 2 for the last quarter of the year.
The Health Ministry insists 95 per cent of infants are immunised by 24 months for diseases such as whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B and measles, mumps and rubella. The health board achieved 85 per cent for January-March. Parents declining vaccines jumped from 5.3 per cent to 9.1 per cent in that time.
Diseases such as polio and tetanus were rare because of immunisation, Ms Crowe said.
"We don't see a lot of these any more because of vaccines, and all the medical evidence says the best way to protect children is through vaccination. I think it's really good that we don't see these nasty bugs any more that have killed or left people with long-lasting side effects."
Bugs were easily passed around by children in classrooms and public places, she said.
"Once a bug starts, it spreads like wildfire."
Ms Crowe understood that immunisation did not guarantee full protection.
She suspected all her children had whooping cough earlier this year although only one was formally diagnosed.
They had a mild dose, she said.
"It could have been much worse had they not been immunised. I know they can still get a virus but it increases their immunity. I trust in modern medicine."
However, Blenheim mother-of-four Tina Connor said yesterday none of her children had vaccine shots as toddlers.
Her daughter caught whooping cough from a school friend.
"They call it the 100-day cough and that's what she had. There were no other symptoms."
The argument for immunisation was very one-sided and driven by billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies, she said.
"Alarm bells go off and you start to question whether they have our children's best interests or making money at heart."
Mrs Connor remains comfortable with her decision.
Blenheim mother Lindsey Bartholomew has one child immunised and one not.
She stopped vaccinations for her eldest daughter after a severe allergic reaction to the measles, mumps and rubella shot.
Her daughter also had minor reactions to other jabs, Ms Bartholomew said.
"If measles was to go around I'd have to take her out of school like I did when swine flu was about. It was just too risky as she has severe asthma. If she got something like that she could end up really sick."
However, Ms Bartholomew still considers herself pro-choice when it comes to immunisation.
"It comes down to personal circumstances. I would never outright tell someone off [for not immunising their child]."
- The Marlborough Express