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Thread: Immunisation debate

  1. #37

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    Ivana-baby, yes, the menningicoccal IS for the scary strain! As I have mentioned earlier, a child at Jack's day care got menningicoccal and the health dept came to talk to us all about the risks for our kids, and gave antibiotics to those who were most exposed. I asked tonnes of questions and found out:
    - there are 2 strains that are common in Aus, B and C
    - the vaccination is for strain C
    - Strain C is the nasty one,
    - USUALLY (but not always), Strain B is not as bad
    - the vaccination is effective for 19/20 children.

    Also, as I mentioned in an earlier post, my GP this week (when Jack had his chicken pox vaccination) told me that there are definately nasty variants of chicken pox which the vaccine protects the child from. He listed about 4 but I can't remember what they were (pg brain!). I was not going to do this one thinking it unnecessary but then I decided to because of the fact that there can be very serious effects from chicken pox and also because the GP assured me this was one of the safest vaccines. Also, if the vaccines wear off, they change the immunisation schedule to get the kids re-vaccinated as teenagers, or at whatever age is appropriate, so they are not left at risk.



    HTH, Melanie

  2. #38

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    Wow, as always this topic brings up so many emotions for people.

    There are a couple of points that have been made that I would like to comment on. I quote from my first post:

    We live in a very different society to what we lived in 100 years ago. We have soap, warm water, safe drinking water, access to medical support, nutritious food and importantly access to information and education. Some cultures dont' support submitting their children to vaccination at birth or even in the first year. Is it Japan who dont offer routine immunisations until 18 months? I think it is but correct me someone if I am wrong.

    Folk have pointed out that access to these basic needs don't make us immune to disease. I was not making that point. I am no bunny I know we can't live on love and booby milk alone! The point I was aiming to make was that not having nutritious foods, healthcare, clean water and education put society at a higher risk. This is a fact.
    Anyone who has travelled or worked in a third world country knows this. Untreated and disease laden water, little or no vitamin content to food etc hightens the risk of contracting disease. Cross infection due to unsanitary conditions etc. Rotting human waste. It is disease city and common illness wipe out villages literally in a sneeze. We are blessed not to have to live in those conditions.
    Now, I don't think we need to rely on our good fortune. We are simply by birth (many of us) fortunate not to have to live in those conditions. I think immunisation is valuable. Talk to any elderly surviver of polio. However, I question that we immunise our children so so early in their little lives. As I said, many countries do not support this and their disease rate is certainly no higher than Australia. In order to be protected as a society from disease we need the immunisation level to be higher. We are not in Australia at a high enough rate to be covered as a society. However, does that mean that our newborns need to be vaccinated? See, I think not and that is okay. Others here are very passionate that they do and that is okay.

    To throw in a curly one: I wonder in a home where intravenous drug use doesn't take place why a baby needs to be vaxed for hepB at 3 days post birth? None of the reasons given are good enough for me. One of the major reasons given is that very young babies are going into childcare and this protects babies from contracting from other babies via saliva, possits etc. I can see if your baby were to go into early care that it may be a consideration. However, why else is this required so early in life?

    I understand about immunosuppression. First hand a good friend has a child with diabetes. When he gets ill his blood sugar levels are very difficult to maintain. He contracted Chicken Pox from his immunised friend! He wasn't vaccinated against chicken pox as he was only 14 months. So, you see there are variations.

    Someone pointed out that parents have to show a card if their children are not immunised. I have never known that to be so. Our eldest daughter goes to a state school and there is no such card. She went to C&K kindy/preschool and a catholic school for 1 & 2 and never once was I asked to show a card. Nor was she asked to stay home when there was an outbreak. I think what you may be referring to is a "Conscientious Objection Form". This is required by the federal government in order for families of non imunised children to receive the "immunisation rebate". This is basically a form that is filled out with your doctor and signed by both parties. It shows that a parent fully understands the decision that has been made.

    My decision to not immunise my children as babies is not because I don't want them to get a needle. It's what's in the needle that is being given at such a tender age that I am concerned with!

    Christy, I am glad you made the points you did. I was concerned at a comment somewhere along the lines that people from other countries need to be immunised - there is in place a check of immunisations from countries wehre the immunisation level is low. There seemed to be a suggestion that there should be mandatory immunisation.

    That is one way of dealing with this... However, where would we be if the government decided what is best for us? To play devils advocate if I may... We live in a democratic nation and we need to maintain that right to personal choice, belief and religions. (I believe...) What if the government decided that no-one should have epidural in vaginal birth (don't laugh it's a statement that has been brought up in health policy!) Or, what if the government had the ability to overturn an individuals (adult) right to discontinue medical treatment. Or for a Jehovah's Witness (adult) to be forced to have a transfusion against their wishes. These are things that some of us as individuals may not agree with or even understand. However, I would challenge that we need to respect an individuals right to make decisions. These are all issues that come up in medical ethics. Some of you would be mortified that that choice was taken away. I would encourage people in our society to think very hard about having choice taken away from decisions made about our children's health.

    Education is far more powerful than force...

    Someone made a point about feeling unhappy about comments that a child was too precious. I very much felt like that with my kids. That doesn't mean your child isn't. It means for me that is how it was. No child is more precious than another - however when they are your own those decisons are not made lightly and without laborious thought. Some children unfortunately don't have 'minimal' reaction to immunisation...

    Just in all debates (think pro/anti circumcision) the pro anti immunisation one has some pretty out there claims on both sides. This always has the ability to inflame the most level headed and eloquent of us. HOwever, I think we all need to remember that we are operating out of love for our kids. When a family researches, listens to their gut, balances up their own family history (in my case I was advised not to immunise until my daughter was 2), then the decision is right for them. Personally I am immunised and have had horrendous reactions. Due to working overseas though they were necessary. I was a grown up and able to withstand it. Of course I wouldn't have 'left home with out them'.

    Let the debate continue! - respecting always the differing views and places that we all come from..


  3. #39

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    I was the one that said I think there needs to be mandatory immunisation, and I still stand by that comment. However, I did not make any reference to foreigners needing to be immunised, I said diseases could be brought in from overseas, this can also realate to Australians traveling overseas and then contracting viruses and bringing it back, it was in no way a racist comment.

    And in relation to the objection card, that comment was also mine, one of my best friends was asked to show her card when admitting her child into daycare, so I guess some centres and schools do ask to see it, and some don't.

    Yes we do live in a democratic society, but unfortunately there are some people in this world who don't make decisions based on knowledge or the safety of others (I don't mean anyone here, or relating to this topic in particular, I am just talking in general) and there comes a point when for some issues we have to turn to others such as our governments to protect and put our country's best interests at heart. It is just a thought, that's all.

  4. #40

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    I hear your point that people coming and going from Australia can bring in diseases. It needs to be remembered ou can be imunised but still carry a disease. If I come back from China with Asian Flu, by the time I know I have it I potentially could have infected hundreds. Do we stop international travel? There are many diseases that you can (and do) contract from another country that are not on the immunisation register. So, that presents another problem.

    For this to work we would need to have mandatory global imunisations! This is a ridiculous notion of mine but theoretically we would need that to cover Australian residents from diseases contracted overseas by travellers and brought back to the country.

    Again, I don't believe immunising tiny babies is the answer to this.

    I am a conscientious objector as my children are not fully immunised when they begin preschool at 4. I have never been issued with a card. I work in the health system and am unaware of this card. The paper work I talked of earlier is filled out at the doctors surgery and forwarded to Medicare. This is all held as stats etc. The only reason the shools know of our childrens immunisation status is because it is asked when you enroll. The info is then updated when the children are fully immunised. So, I am not sure what your friend was asked for. Perhaps proof of immunisation? I am not sure, this may be a prerequesite in childcare facilities as the risk of contracting illness amongst littlies is much higher.

  5. #41

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    Deb Ive deliberately not posted in here but i just wanted to say that your post was fantastic and well written.

    We choose not to immunise and have never had any grief about it. We have never had any problems within the school system at all...the only time it ever really comes up is in playgroup where it is a new thing for parents to be thinking about. Once a child really enters school it becomes a non issue.

    Jo

    Jo

  6. #42

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    Maybe it is Shannon I am not sure. The immunisation register is a Federal Government thing. I really don't know much about the way daycare centres work - so perhaps each state or each individual centre has particular rules. However, it would be in opposition to the constitution to disallow a child because of her immunisation status. I guess they want to know so they can advise an unimunised child of an outbreak of an immunisable disease perhaps?

  7. #43

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    I think so because we had to get an piece of paper from the GP saying conscientous objector to one of the vaccinations we will not have done and we did so because they were going to cut off our child care benefits. So we don't have a card and we didn't have to show it to the day care, we had to have it faxed from the GP to the family assistence office.

  8. #44

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    Thanks Jo for your kind comment. It certainly is a non issue with my kids with regard to school too.
    It is a debate that brings up many emotions for many people...


    Yes Christy, that's been my information also. I believe that medicare hold the register but in order for parents to get their full benefits from Family Assistancae then the 'conscientious objector" form is needed. Like you I have never been issued with a card or any other documentation on mychildrens immunisation status.

  9. #45

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    Yeah I have always told the carer what vaccination Matilda hasn't had. So there are 2 different ones that we have given her homeopathic vaccinations for but not the "medical" ones. And she has not had the chicken pox vaccination either. I have informed the family day care because even though there are only 4 children there, they have older & younger siblings so everyone needs to know.

  10. #46

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    Why would that be? Most care workers are fully immunised. Just like us nurses. Potentially if they didn't use good hand washing technique they could pass the droplet infection on. Or, they could contract the illness and pass it on. In an outbreak theoretically the person most at risk is the person that is not immunised. Of course an unimmunised child could contract the disease and pass it on to other unimmunised children and this would be the issue I would think...

    Personally if an outbreak were to occur at my child's school I would be more concerned for young children that are not immunised or are too young for the immunisation. Elderly folk and the immuno suppressed. Remembering that most babies are not given their first vax until 8 weeksish (aside from Hep B)

  11. #47

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    With regard to the age vaccinations are given, the child at Jack's daycare that got menningicoccal was under 12 months and therefore had not been immunised. Of the kids that were exposed and given antibiotics, more than half were also under 12 months. The Health Dept guy told me that kids can be immunised under 12 months (if you pay for it) but that they need it again at 12 months to give lasting immunity. It's just another decision for parents to make I guess, not just whether or not to immunise but also when.

    I think it's so much harder making decisions for our kids then for ourselves. The implications just seem greater somehow.

  12. #48

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    Deb wrote;

    To throw in a curly one: I wonder in a home where intravenous drug use doesn't take place why a baby needs to be vaxed for hepB at 3 days post birth? None of the reasons given are good enough for me. One of the major reasons given is that very young babies are going into childcare and this protects babies from contracting from other babies via saliva, possits etc. I can see if your baby were to go into early care that it may be a consideration. However, why else is this required so early in life?
    I have just refused the Hep B for my new baby because its my opinion that it isnt necessary and can be harmful for a newborn baby to have this vaccine and its components injected into its bloodstream within hours of birth. My son has no risk factors for contracting Hep B.

    Jo, like you I purposely havent posted in here until now. As most of you probably know, I have personal and very valid reasons for not immunising my younger children. They will receive some of the vaccines when they are older, and their little bodies stronger and better able to cope with them.

  13. #49
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    I had to sign the objection forms, (did it at the same appointment that I refused an amnio and informed my GP I was having a homebirth...I certainly got filed in the whako records that day!!)
    I have never been asked to show any thing at school or kindy. We dont use childcare, so dont know about that.

    With regards to mandatory vaccinations, well..this has been discussed, I was involved in a study where by I was alerted to the fact that it has been considered. I can honestly say, that I would leave Australia if i was "forced" to vaccinate my kids. i feel strongly about the right to be individual, especially when it comes to health, birth and death! We have good reasons to not vaccinate, and I am able to "persuade" dr's that I have a case, on the odd occassion that I have had to defend myself.

    I do understand about the need to protect those that have an imunnity issue., When my eldest daughter caught chicken pox, she only had a couple of spots, but we were meant to be flying to Cyprus the next day. We cancelled our holiday, since the air on planes is recycled, I knew I couldnt live with myself, you never know who you are flying with..and it would have been very irresponsible of me. (Plenty of people I know,have flown with their kids,and even my GP said i could "hide" the spots). I just think, we all have to be responsible for our kids and those around us. If my kids are ill, I dont take them out or mix them with others, unless other parents request it...(like the chicken pox, we were invited over by parents that wanted to get it out of the way).

    It really nice to see this being discussed without the usual emotive arguments on either side. Its also nice for me to see that I am not alone on not vaccinating. Coming from London, there were far more people that chose not to vaccinate and here, it seems to be much less common, or much more underground?

  14. #50

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    Shannon,
    I would think that any centre that asked for it's little people to be fully immunised would need to ensure the immunisation of their staff - just as I would not be protected if I was to nurse an infant with pertussis. Staff clearly come in contact with communicable conditions on a regular basis ranging from worms to more serious illness.

    Hand washing most definitely is a very effective form of disease control. Of course please don't assume I mean if you wash your hands you don't need to worry. Most of these contagious diseases are spread via droplet infection. To illustrate:

    If I have a pathogen in my nasal passage (remembering that measles is spread by droplet infection) and absentmindedly wipe my nose with my hand then pass a child a cup it is theoritically possible and probable that pathogens would be transmitted. Likewise if I cough and cover my mouth then shake your hand and you wipe your mouth etc a pathogen can be transmitted. Some of these infections are much more easily passed on than others. Also diseases as you would know have varying incubation periods or periods where you are contagious. So all of the above happened before I showed signs of illness and was still happily working... Handwashing is a big reason (or the lack thereof) why disease rips through areas where there is low sanitation. This is also why it rips through child care centres/kindies and schools. Because notoriously children don't wash there hands after sneezing, coughing. They share drinks and food and slobber! It is a communicable disease's idea of Heaven!!! An interesting way to highlight this we often use in uni's and training centres. A solution is applied to hands - a solution that can only be removed with thorough handwashing techniques such as those required to stem the transferance of pathogens. Everything that a person touches lights up with this fluro colour. The colour is meant to be the germ or pathogen and to gauge weather the hands are washed correctly the hands will remain purple if they are not. It has also been shown that simple soap used to wash hands thoroughly is just as effective as antibacterial washes. Anyway we have transgressed...

    We are never going to get full immunisation. For there are folk who simply cannot be immunised, who exercise their free will not to be immunised or don't have access to immunisation. What we can do though is ensure that our children are kept home when they are unwell, that they get medical asessment and that we keep our children and ourselves at home until they are no longer contagious.

    I hear your concerns about people who are immunosuppressed. However, these people are at potentially greater risk from contracting the common cold and developing dreadful repercussions from it because people treat colds and flu's these days as a walk in the park. They usually are a walk in the park for healthy children and adults (albeit a miserable walk!). However I believe as a society we need to be more vigilant in not spreading germs willy nilly. Mums will often come to our playgroup with kids with runny green noses, or kids at school sneezing and coughing. Adults go to work sneezing and coughing. This is of concern also to those in our communities that are immuno suppressed/elderly etc. There is a general lack of respect for disease and illness because of immunisation. I am immunised so therefore I am safe. However, you are only 'safe' to an extent and from a finite number of pathogens. I don't disagree that that is necessary I am just again pointing out that there are lots of nasties that affect people that we can't be immunised for. There has been a decided lack of responsibility for health from the population as a whole. Immunisation and antibiotics make a proportion fo our community believe they are bullet proof.

    We will never reach 100% immunisation, nor ecologically should we. We need to carefully weigh up our choices and also use barrier methods to protect and prevent the spread of what many see as 'harmless' infections.

    For instance 5th disease or slap cheek is a virus that is sooooooo common. Potentially fatal to an embryo/foetus but I navent' got enough digits to count how many littlies I have seen at Playgroups/preschool waltzing around with it. Mama says "yeah she's got red cheeks - it's just a cold and runny nose." For a pregnant woman who has no immunity to this it is a devastatting thought if she contracted it. Thankfully due to it being so common grown up's usually have immunity.

    The discussion continues!!! It's good to see so many question - our society is always richer for folk who question and seek out knowledge...

    I agree Melanie it is so much easier to make decisions for ourselves. I have spent a few nights in the past with my babies worried about a spot or a temp - questioning my decisions to delay immunisation. It is a really really difficult role to be a parent sometimes!

  15. #51

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    Hmm, I can understand you deferring immunisation, but TBH the amount of illegal immigration into the UK from countries where these diseases are rife and many immigrants are carriers... this is a UK border issue as well as a needle issue for me!

    The sooner we move out of the south-east the better: here, homes are built with no new doctors or sewage facilities provided, people fight over small resources and illegal immigrants stay down here; to me, the diseases they bring in from abroad and the lack of living space, even though we have our own homes, is far more worrying than a needle!

    Although if anyone tries to stick a needle into my newborn they'll soon hear about it. I still don't agree with the vitamin K injection or even the "routine" rhesus injection they want to give me: check out if I "need" it first! To my mind, fatal diseases immunisation will always be important. I never knew chicken pox could be deadly for a limited time: I suppose the amount of time it can be is why we don't vaccinate for that here?

  16. #52

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    Natalie, I would love to hear your reasons I won't hold any ones opinions against them, as I said in my first post, I was just curious as to the many different reason's why people would not immunise their children

  17. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivana_baby
    The menningococal vaccine isn't for the scary menningococal tho is it? as in the 24hr deadly one with the purple rash? I think it's a different strain.
    No it isnt but seeing as it is for all the other strains if you happen to catch that particular one you are not likely to die from it, as opposed to people who arent vaxed for it! it sort of dulls down the reaction to it if that makes sense?

  18. #54

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    Thanks for that Fletch, I had no idea - so sorry Nat!

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