Justine I Immunise A4 poster 2014

Click photo to enlarge

My early life was spent in a happy hippie home in Canberra. I remember conversations about vaccination; I had been vaccinated and some of my parent’s friends did not agree with this.

My mother was a scientist and a feminist who thought that raising ‘thinking’ girls was very important. She would always ask, “Have you seen the original study?” “Who published the information?” “Do you think it is a good source?”  Occasionally she would raise an eyebrow and say, “I think that statement lacks scientific rigour.”

When I made the decision to have children, I read information on vaccines from the Internet and chatted to other mums. A friend sent me Jenny McCarthy’s book. However, the two things that stood out were my own experience, and a lack of ‘scientific rigour’.

My own experience included encountering vaccine preventable illness in South America whilst travelling, knowing a woman in my street who still lives with the effects of meningitis, and seeing my father desperately ill with chicken pox at 60.

When I scratched the surface, a lot of the anti-vax information misquoted or downright misrepresented medical information, and down-played the serious risks of vaccine preventable illness. I was also uncomfortable with the representations of people on the Autism Spectrum as “broken”.  The final straw came when a doula in my community made a statement that I knew to be an outright mistruth. This convinced me that anti vaccination campaigners were not correctly checking facts.

I had lingering doubts when we took our eldest to have his 8 week vaccinations. However, it was nothing like I had imagined. No one hid anything. The nurses at the Hilton Community Health Centre spent 15 minutes doing a health check and going through the potential side effects. They respectfully and intelligently answered our questions, and encouraged me to breastfeed to effectively relieve the sting.

Now I am looking forward to my new baby’s vaccinations being complete. The 8 week vaccines made me feel far more confident to take him out with other children, knowing we had lowered his risk of contracting life threatening illnesses.

Immunisation Alliance

For more information about vaccination and immunisation, click the pic to visit the Immunisation Alliance Website.


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