Opinion: Educate anti-vaxxers, don’t threaten them
CARROTS and education, not threats, should be used by governments to improve vaccination rates, Australian Medical Association Sunshine Coast spokesman Dr Wayne Herdy said.
His comment was in response to confirmation from Social Services Minister Scott Morrison that the Abbott Government was reviewing loopholes that allow people to opt out of vaccinating their children yet retain the right to claim family tax benefits and childcare payments.
Gympie father of seven and family blogger Bruce Devereaux agrees.
"I'm wary of the government making mandatory something like this," he said yesterday.
"It really should be winning people with the arguments in favour of vaccinations.
"However, I think I fall in favour of protecting our children. If there's a family history or medical reason a child shouldn't be vaccinated, then that's fine. But otherwise, read up and put your mind at ease, stop listening to rumour and nonsense and then line your kid up."
Mr Devereaux said there was never any doubt in his mind that all of his family would be fully vaccinated.
"Back when my oldest two were kids we didn't have the internet confusing the issue," he said.
"We had a question about the safety of vaccinations we asked our doctor, who'd studied for years at a university and read medical journals.
"I think the internet, as wonderful as it is for information, has muddied the waters a bit."
Mr Devereaux does not understand why anyone would "willingly ignore the science and choose to risk their children to the full blown onslaught of such terrible diseases as polio".
"I think the biggest problem is being unable to decipher fact from fiction," he said. "And some of the stuff out there is really scary, so you would be wary. But the facts show vaccinations work. They save lives."
Some parents avoid vaccinating out of love and thinking they are doing the right thing.
"But I think they're confused by the misinformation out there and about how science works.
"The argument in favour of vaccinations is overwhelming. Science isn't anecdotal, and it's peer reviewed.
"I think a lot of anti-vaccination misinformation is at best anecdotal, and at worst deliberately false and misleading. But it is so scary you can't help but worry. This is the trouble."
Bruce Devereaux's family blog can be read at http://www.bigfamilylittleincome.com