AMA Vice President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that the AMA is greatly concerned that groups that are promoting discredited theories
about immunisation are exposing Australians to the devastating effects of preventable illnesses.
said that recent media reports outlining the views of the Australian Vaccination
Network (AVN) show that this organisation has drawn the fire of the NSW Health
Care Complaints Commission (HCCC).
"It is important for parents to have their children
immunised. Immunisation saves lives," Dr Hambleton said.
"While we all value freedom of speech in our society,
groups that promote what the NSW HCCC has described as misleading, inaccurate
and deceptive information about immunisation, under the guise of
'pro-information' and 'pro-choice', are putting Australians at risk of diseases
that can be prevented through vaccination.
"We are almost two generations away from deadly
diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria and polio. Our grandparents can remember
how bad it was.
"Parents who choose not to immunise their children need to
consider that they are putting not only their own children at risk, but they are
also risking other children, with potentially fatal consequences.
immunisation rates fell because many parents relied on the efforts of other
families to vaccinate their children, under the misapprehension that this would
provide sufficient protection to the whole community, there would be new
epidemics of old illnesses.
"The last outbreak of measles occurred in a school in an
area with low immunisation rates. The outbreak was so severe that it
interrupted the educational curriculum.
"The NSW HCCC's findings and concerns regarding the AVN
released last month are consistent with the views of the medical profession.
critical that Governments promote the evidence and benefits of full
immunisation and run an ongoing public education program that informs the
public about the devastating effects of diseases that can be avoided through
AMA welcomes the announcement last week that seasonal flu vaccination of young
children can now be resumed, and commends the Commonwealth Chief Medical
Officer for taking early action to investigate this matter and the latest
advice, which means we can maintain confidence in our vaccination program," Dr