WA in danger of becoming an immunisation weak spot
Doctors have warned that WA could become an Australian immunisation weak spot after a survey found parents in the State have the most concerns about vaccine safety.
A national poll of almost 2000 parents commissioned by Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital shows WA parents have the lowest support for the no-jab, no-play policy that excludes unvaccinated children from child care in some States.
The Australian Medical Association WA said the findings could reflect a lack of knowledge but, worryingly, meant those parents were highly vulnerable to the antivaccination comments of One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.
The poll found 67 per cent of WA parents supported legislation that excludes children who are not fully vaccinated from kindergarten and child care unless they have a valid medical exemption.
This compares with 72 per cent support nationally.
Thirty per cent of Australian parents have concerns about vaccine safety but the rate is 40 per cent in WA.
Poll director and paediatrician Anthea Rhodes said most parents supported childhood vaccination and kept their children up to date.
But it was concerning that despite extensive medical research to the contrary, one in 10 parents believed vaccines could cause autism and another 30 per cent were unsure. AMA WA president Andrew Miller said he was concerned that Senator Hanson’s comments could sway parents away from vaccination.
“It is hugely disappointing that Pauline Hanson has arrived in WA to desperately beg for a few votes from those attracted by misinformation peddled by a few people on the internet,” he said.
“This is a desperate ploy by One Nation to garner attention and frighten people.”
A survey found parents in the State have the most concerns about vaccine safety.