9/03/2009 12:00:00 AM
I am not anti-vaccination but I am in favour of parents being given factual information regarding vaccinations so they can make informed decisions as to what they have their children vaccinated against and when they do it.
Jack Waterford's diatribe in Times 2 (March 5, p2) against people who decide not to vaccinate their children is both ill-informed and, in some cases, factually wrong.
I will restrict my response to just one area the link between autism and certain vaccines.
The US Government has just accepted the scientific and medical evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism in a second case, where compensation has been paid. Thousands more cases are in progress or waiting to be heard.
Some children have a mitochondrial disorder which predisposes them to autism if they are injected with the MMR vaccine.
There is a test that can identify these children but this test is not available in Australia and there is no indication as to when it will be.
Some of the people/organisations advocating further research into the link between autism and vaccines include: the Director of the Centre for Disease Control in the US, the former head of the National Institute of Health and the American Red Cross and autism researchers at the John Hopkins University Medical School.
And finally, Waterford, if vaccines are so safe and effective, your darlings should be fine, even if other children are not vaccinated.
David Hobson, Spence
Vaccine danger evidence
TIM SCHILDBERGER (''Refusing to vaccinate children an arrogant choice, Sunday Canberra Times, April 5, p24) seems unaware of recent news about vaccine safety, and the contradictions in his statements.
In February this year there was enough reliable evidence of a link between autism and the MMR vaccine for the United States Government to pay compensation for the second time to parents of a child who became autistic after vaccination. There is enough doubt about this vaccine's safety for the Japanese Government to have banned its use. No one has ever tested it and found it will protect a child during a measles, mumps or rubella outbreak. No one has proved it is safe to give to every child. So no one can claim vaccinations work in this case.
It has been shown again by the 2008 measles epidemic in the US that no level of coverage is enough to create the fabled ''herd immunity'', once thought of as community protection.
There are multiple examples of outbreaks where vaccinated children are equally affected. I hope Tim's children do not suffer from reactions to the MMR vaccine. As for the other vaccines, I would like to warn him that the effects are incremental the immune system reacts more strongly with each injection. Signs like excessive dribbling, face dropped to one side, sudden jerky movements and fever show the immune system has not coped and the brain has been affected. If it is your child, it is more than ''a terrible shame'', and no amount of community feeling can remove that pain.