Anti-vax team targets Top End
NORTHERN suburbs residents have been letter dropped with pamphlets by antivaccine campaigners.
The pamphlets, which feature questions including “is the HPV vaccine causing infer- tility” and “do vaccines cause autism” have been slammed by Northern Territory medical professionals.
Australian Medical Association NT president Robert Parker said the pamphlets were dangerous to parents and children as they were factually incorrect.
“Vaccines have had a massive effect on improving children’s health,” Mr Parker said.
NORTHERN suburbs residents have been targeted by anti-vaccine campaigners, with pamphlets dropped in letterboxes.
The pamphlets, which feature questions including “is the HPV vaccine causing infertility” and “do vaccines cause autism” have been slammed by medical professionals.
Australian Medical Association NT president Robert Parker said the pamphlets were dangerous as they were factually incorrect.
“Vaccines have had a massive effect on improving children’s health,” he said.
“100 years ago we had diphtheria and measles. People forget these things existed because now we have vaccines for them.”
Dr Parker said he uses one particular story to try to convince nonbelievers to vaccinate their children. “The story I tell is of a woman who refuses to give her child the rubella vaccine,” he said.
“20 years on, that child gets pregnant, and while pregnant she gets a rubella infection. She then gives birth to a child with massive birth defects.
“What that grandmother has done is give her daughter and her granddaughter a lifelong sentence.
“What right have you got to do that to your child and grandchild?”
Dr Parker said the evidence clearly showed vaccines were effective at eliminating diseases and improving health.
“It’s had such a major influence on society,” he said.
“It is unfortunate how quickly people forget the major improvements in health over the last century due to immunisation.” He said poorly researched papers had caused the anti-vaccine movement.
In the late 1990s, Andrew Wakefield published a paper suggesting autism was related to the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. The paper was unable to prove a relationship.
Further extensive research found there was absolutely no connection between the two.
It was also found that Wakefield had falsified information, had been paid by attorneys seeking to file lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers, and his article was retracted. Wakefield also lost his medical licence.
In the NT, vaccination rates are below the national average.
As of September 2017, 93.16 per cent of children in the 12 to 15-month age group were fully immunised, 88.31 per cent of the 24 to 27-month age group were fully immunised, and 92.97 per cent of five-year-olds.