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Doc prescribes immunisation

Shepparton paediatrician Peter Eastaugh says information will help counter anti-immunisation perspective.

RUTH MCLEOD December 6, 2012 10:17am

Leading Shepparton paediatrician Peter Eastaugh is throwing his support behind a national document in the hope it will discourage anti-immunisation views.

‘‘By supporting or fostering anti-immunisation, people are supporting or fostering harm to children,’’ Dr Eastaugh said yesterday.

A document released recently by the Australian Academy of Science titled Science of Immunisation: Question and Answer found immunisation promoted health.

It was released to promote public understanding about the benefits of immunisation.

It tackled claims which directly opposed immunisation and provided statistics on the reduction in deaths from specific illnesses since vaccinations were introduced.

Dr Eastaugh believes immunisation is ‘‘an issue of health and welfare of the community’’.

He compared anti-immunisation groups to those in favour of cigarette smoking for health and asbestos.

‘‘When they make a statement that they believe immunisation campaigns are propaganda they are reflecting their intellectual competence,’’ Dr Eastaugh said.

‘‘Come and watch a child die from whooping cough if you don’t agree.’’

Many of the questions in the Science of Immunisation: Question and Answer document directly address statements made by anti-immunisation groups.

It states links between autism and vaccinations have been conclusively excluded.

The Australian Vaccination Network website states ‘‘individuals are potentially at risk from vaccination and should have a right to choose whether or not they vaccinate’’.

The News was unable to reach representatives of the network yesterday.

School entry immunisation certificates are a national requirement for all students entering primary school.

Certificates are automatically sent to families when four-year-old injections have been completed.

However, families with a conscientious objection to immunisation or medical reasons for not being immunised may get an exemption.

According to the Australian Academy of Science document, the number of deaths from whooping cough went from 1693 from 1936 to 1945 to fewer than 500 during the 10 years following because of the introduction of the whooping cough vaccination.

The death rate from whooping cough was 17 between 1995 and 2006.

For the full report, visit www.science.org.au/policy/immunisation.html

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