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"Get over it": farmer's approach to vaccination anxiety

TOM Hannon has a simple message for parents concerned about side effects from vaccinations: "Get over it."

The Gunalda farmer and horse owner says overcoming vaccination anxiety is a lot easier than getting over whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus or polio.

These are the terrible diseases he remembers as commonplace during a childhood growing up on Sydney's north shore in the 1930s.

He was incensed when he read recently of an outbreak of whooping cough at Kilcoy.

"I'm not much interested in getting my picture taken," he told The Gympie Times yesterday, "but that story really stirred me up.

"It shouldn't be happening in this day and age. I had whooping cough as a child. All us kids between six and 10 in a few blocks near home - the whole lot of us had it."

Mr Hannon was born in 1926, in a world free of vaccination controversy.

"We didn't get needles then," he said.

Instead, they had some of the world's most deadly and disabling illnesses.

"A lad at school went home on a Friday and we never saw him again. He just disappeared.

"About a month or so later we heard he'd caught diphtheria and he'd died.

"My mother's cousin was just playing with his kids in the backyard when he fell and scratched his hand. He got tetanus and died.

"On a farm like mine, with a few horses, you make sure you've got your (tetanus) shots up to date."

"I got a job as a message boy at Royal North Shore Hospital and I remember they had a two- or three-storey building for all the children crippled with polio.

"They used to wheel them out in the sun once a day. A lot of people suffered with polio in those days."

Mr Hannon said he had a relative who was concerned about immunisations.

"I told my daughter a few stories to pass on to her and I think she's changed her mind now," he said.

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Barbara Richardson When will people learn? Parents should be charged with child neglect if they do not have a valid medical reason for not immunising their child.

Denise Hartley Vaccinate all children. Do the right thing. VACCINATE.

Dianna Day-Stevens I witnessed a couple of years back at my daughter's school a whooping cough outbreak.

To my knowledge they had been vaccinated and they had their up-to-dates vaccinations and had been done since babies etc...

Maybe the vaccinations are not working as well as we are led to believe.

They never seem to disclose how many of the vaccinated people contract these diseases. They always point the finger towards unvaccinated.

But from what I have witnessed, the vaccinated can spread the virus too.

Before you go attacking me and portraying me as an irresponsible parent for stating the above, I'm not against vaccination.

Just wondering why it isn't disclosed how many who are vaccinated have contracted the disease.

Topics:  gympie health vaccination whooping cough

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