Australian Parents Pay the Price for Doubting Vaccines

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, In The News, Health

australian parents

Australia has a full-blown epidemic on its hands. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

As cases of whooping cough are spreading in the land Down Under, Australian doctors are warning parents of newborn babies to keep their children home.

The London Daily Telegraph reports Australia has a full-blown epidemic on its hands, largely because Australians bought into wild stories about the dangers of vaccines.

"It's a phenomenon where highly educated people feel they need to do their own research on what is best for their child and there is skepticism of official government policy," Rob Menzies, deputy director of the National Centre for Immunization Research and Surveillance, tells the Daily Telegraph.

"But a lot of people are likely to find wacky anti-vaccination sites where a lot of the information is distorted," he adds. "It is not helping that people opt out of vaccination. It puts their children at risk, and it puts other people's children at risk."

The Daily Telegraph reports northern Sydney has seen 669 cases of whooping cough this year, followed by southeastern Sydney with 522 cases. The Illawarra region was next highest, followed by western Sydney and southern Sydney.

The epidemic has infected one in five children at a school near Lismore, according to the newspaper.

"With vaccination rates so low in this area we say to the mothers of newborns, do not take them out in the community," pediatrician Chris Ingall tells the Telegraph. "We're appalled at how many kids are getting whooping cough because the chardonnay set and the alternatives don't vaccinate their children."

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