WA in dan­ger of be­com­ing an im­mu­ni­sa­tion weak spot

Pilbara News - - News - Cathy O'Leary Med­i­cal Ed­i­tor

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.”

Picture: Astrid Volzke

A sur­vey found par­ents in the State have the most con­cerns about vac­cine safety.

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