Immunisation: the effect of choice

     CANBERRA, October 10. – The Daily Telegraph in Sydney editorialised yesterday about the need for parents to stop turning down vaccinations for their children. It is a part of their campaign to make childhood vaccinations all but compulsory.

I don’t find myself doing this very often, but I’m mostly siding with the Tele on this one.

Western medicine isn’t the be all and end all. The concept of medicine and healthcare is wide ranging and we shouldn’t, without hesitation, limit this definition. But when there is a method of preventing deaths that works in most cases, shouldn’t we be enthusiastic about implementing this measures?

Many of my friends haven’t been vaccinated. Most of them are healthy people and they’re usually well. Whenever the time comes for school based jabs, they start to sing the praises of not having to get injections.

They talk about the risks of being immunised, which, in their minds, seems to outweigh the risks of not being immunised. But the argument that makes the most appearances is that: “If most people are immunised there is no need for me to be immunised.”

It is this last argument that concerns me.

It is as though there is a perceived immunity by default if you are surrounded by people who are immunised but there are others relying on the same argument as you; these others can infect you with an easily preventable disease.

Perhaps there isn’t a sense of concern about these diseases. As the effect of immunisation kicked in, less causes of these diseases could be seen. The fear in the collective consciousness had been killed by the hypodermic needle. The need for immunisation isn’t seen or understood on the same level anymore as a result of immunisation.

The critics of immunisation talk about the “risks” of having the jab. Surely, though, the “risks”of not having it are of greater concerns than the “risks” involved with immunisation?

The Telegraph would like it to be practically unavoidable to have these immunisations – such is the message of a campaigning newspaper. I, however, believe the choice should remain.

In making this choice it needs to be recognised that the decision is about the ability to prevent death in the face of a diseases which we can conquer, the decision is also about whether someone wants to risk their child with getting away without immunisation.

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