Thursday, 11 April 2013

Not vaccinated?

Today was our free influenza vaccination day at work and, of course, I wandered in for my shot. I had my usual reaction, a small pinkish spot and some pain in the muscle when pressed. Uptake on the vaccine picked up a little in our office this year, which was nice to see. I would like to see it mandatory for all staff without a medical exemption, but that's probably not going to happen.

The front page of the Cairns Post, coincidentally, carried a front page story about Department of Health concerns about  vaccination rates in Kuranda:
KURANDA is one of only three areas in Australia with immunisation rates low enough for it to be considered a disease-spreading timebomb.

Almost 80,000 Australian children are not immunised against deadly contagious diseases such as measles and whooping cough, according to a damning report from new health watchdog the National Health Performance Authority. The World Health Organisation says immunisation rates for measles must be higher than 93 per cent to prevent its spread.

But in Kuranda, the rate of immunisation for one-year-olds is 85 per cent or less.

Cairns Public Health physician Dr Richard Gair said the statistics were concerning but not surprising.

‘‘There are pockets of low immunisation, usually it’s in an area where there are alternative groups who reject vaccination,’’ he said. 
The 85% vaccination rate in Kuranda is better than I would have thought. I thought it had a higher percentage of the "alternative groups" (aka hippies). The Letters to the Editors page will, I assume, now be filled with a deluge of wingnuts for a couple of weeks. The wingnuts are already on the Cairns Post website spouting the usual myths and lies :
Well! If Kuranda is such a disease spreading town isn't it a wonder there are any children left!? I mean after all, what have all you folk who deem to have 'protected' your children got to worry about??
Posted by: Lisa Miller of Cooktown 1:21pm today
Vaccines are poison cocktails that spread the very diseases they are supposed to protect against. Do 5 mins of research on any vaccine and you will see I speak no lies.
Posted by: Derek Ford of Toronto 12:12pm today
Believe the false prophets at you and your own families demise. You will be held accountable for consenting to inject these toxic cocktails, especially into your children.
Posted by: Zane Cosgrove of Cairns 10:06am today
If this is any indication, the stupidity shall be particularly concentrated.

Addendum: The Department of Health has a nice comprehensive brochure about vaccine denier arguments online.


  1. Thanks for quoting my post and for referring to those that disagree as wingnuts... just the usual abuse we have come to expect when standing up for our rights.

    Personally, your attitude and article doesn't lend you any credit and I would consider calling others that disagree with your viewpoint names. Maybe you could try debating instead of just trying to scorn and mock others that obviously have performed more research than yourself.

    One comment suggest to get online and do 5 minutes of research... have you done this yet or just commented on others points of views like a bigot?

  2. Mr Cosgrove

    I didn't feel the need to explain why each wingnut was wrong at that time, instead linking to a good article that explained why the common anti-vaccination arguments are wrong. Did you follow that link?

    It's amusing that you complain about the abuse of being called a wingnut while calling others false prophets and bigots.

    Yes, I have done a good deal more than 5 minutes of research. The evidence is that vaccination is safer than non-vaccination, and the claims of anti-vax wingnuts like you are misleading.

    Let's look at the first wingnut I referenced... Do you agree that the wingnut makes a mistake in assuming that a vaccinated person shouldn't need to worry? A vaccine doesn't need to be 100% effective to be effective, does it? Those too young to be vaccinated and those with medical reasons not to be vaccinated benefit from herd immunity don't they?

    Or perhaps we can look at the second wingnut... Do you agree that the wingnut is generalising from a small number of live but attenuated vaccines used in the past or in developing countries (for good reason) to cover our vaccine schedule? I find many wingnuts who think that the flu vaccine can cause the flu, for example. It doesn't. It can certainly trigger a brief immune response, perhaps some lethargy, maybe even a bit of a sniffle. But it does not cause the flu (i.e. infection with the influenza virus).

    Are you happy now that I've debated those wingnuts here rather than linking to another source? I'll leave the third wingnut as an exercise for you.