Anti-Vaccination – Are the Fears Justified?

avn website
I do not endorse the Australian Vaccination Network and believe they should be called the Anti-Vaccination Network. Link not supplied…

Australia is a secular state. That is, our Government’s position on religion is that it neither supports religion or irreligion (that’s not a current Labor Government position; that is within our constitution and supported by all major parties). But what if we weren’t a secular state? What if our Government decided that we should be irreligious?

What if the practising your religious beliefs all of a sudden became illegal? What if all of the churches, synagogues, temples and mosques were closed down? What if you could no longer hold a prayer group? What if you could no longer have a congregation gathering to give praise to God or gods?

What if you could no longer baptise or christen your child? Imagine that. Imagine if the Government stopped you from protecting your child from sin? Imagine if you weren’t allowed to seal your child’s faith or fate; without a formal christening or baptism, could your child make it into Heaven should they die?

I know of people who have had their child baptised or christened for this very reason. I also know many people who have had the ceremony because “it’s just what you do,” or “I’m doing it for my parents” but according to close friends and family, the most common reason for getting your child baptised or christened is to get them into a good school thinking that Christian or Catholic schools provide a better education without costing as much as secular private schools.

But there are still those who would live with the fear that if their child wasn’t baptised or christened, their child would not be welcomed into the arms of Jesus upon their sudden death. And to many, this is a fear that is justified. Well, isn’t it justifiable if you were brought up to believe that you must be baptised in order to get into Heaven?

And you would have to live with that fear. You would worry almost every day about it, for when we become parents we worry too much just enough about them to want to give them everything they need. Basically, when it comes down to it, our fears are warranted and welcomed as they are a constant reminder to us to keep our children safe.

But let’s move on from talking about protecting our children after they have died because what we really need to do, and what we all try to do is protect our children while they are alive, and furthermore, we want to keep them alive; and healthy.

So what if the Government was anti-vaccination? What if tomorrow a group within the Government decided that those fears that the anti-vaccination organisations were founded? What if there was enough support to stop all vaccinations immediately? What with all the hype within the Australian press at the moment the fear would be transferred from this group that got their way to the public on mass.

And from those horror stories that the pro-vaccination (or compulsory vaccination) lobby groups have been writing and spreading in the media, the fears of the people would be justified. And rightly so as that fear is not about saving ourselves, but protecting the thing that we hold up as a higher priority than saving our own lives; protecting the life of a child.

So what if you stood on the other side of the table in this debate? What if you had been taught that vaccines are a deadly concoction filled with heavy metals, live viruses, and poisons; things that you wouldn’t want to inject into your pet dog?  What if you didn’t learn this from Dr Google rather you were taught this by people you could trust? What if those people were doctors or other health care professionals teaching at well respected colleges?

What if the fears that you have are based on horror stories from parents who have lost a loved one immediately after their child has been immunised? And what do you say to those parents who decided to immunise their child only to have the child die and then decide not to vaccinate the rest of their children? Are their fears not justified?

I have a fear of spiders. I really don’t like many creepy crawlies at all and a wave of fear comes over me even when putting my hand near a daddy long leg spider even though most people would claim that it is an irrational fear. And to be honest, so do I as I believe some of my fears are irrational. But am I not allowed to have these fears? Should I be forced to get over my fear of spiders?

And so back to the vaccination/anti-vaccination debate; what it has come down to is, who has the greater fear? Are the fears of the masses greater than the fear of the individual? Whether those reasons given why being anti-vaccination are justified, and whether the myths about the evils of vaccinations are actually not myths but a reality that is deemed unbelievable by those who are pro-vaccination, is attacking the anti-vaccination supporter who lives with those fears going to change their mind about having the fear?

daily telegraph photo
Modern Father Online’s Darrell Milton and family
click on the photo to view the news story
source: dailytelegraph.com.au

The coming Federal Election (like most elections) will be won by the party that can promote fear in the public that the other party is bad for our nation. Religions will pick up further followers by promoting their Fear of God mentality. And once you have entrenched the fear in someone, however the degree; the fear being rational or irrational, justified or unjustified, you just cannot change that person’s way of thinking by attacking their beliefs.

So go ahead, make vaccination compulsory. Ban children who have not been vaccinated from day-care, preschools and play-groups. And what have we done? We have put the fears of the greater public to rest, and only increased the fears of those who are against it.

And for the rest of their lives, whenever their child gets just that little bit sick they have to live with the guilt of them being a bad parent, because, on both sides of the debate, that’s the fear that all parents share.

So are the fears of those who believe in the anti-vaccination “myths” justified, and if not why?  I don’t want to hear “because it has been proven that X does not contain Y or A does not cause B,” as I believe all of that already, rather I want to hear your opinion on how the fears, however irrational of people who believe in the arguments put forward by organisations such as the Australian [anti]Vaccination Network are are any different from those who have the Fear or God or other “real” phobias.

For further reading about the vaccination debate within my household, please read this story too. Relationship Survivor: Who Has This Week’s Immunity?

7 thoughts on “Anti-Vaccination – Are the Fears Justified?

  1. As a pro vaccinator, I would like to speak of the fears I experience. I have a 5 month old baby who has not yet received her full course of vaccinations for Pertussis, Pneumoccocal, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chicken Pox etc as per the vaccination schedule because she is too young right now. She is a baby, so her immune system may not yet be strong enough to cope if she were to contract one of the diseases I have listed. I fear her contracting either one of these diseases through contact with a person or people who have not been vaccinated. Scientific evidence shows us that even though a person may not have a disease or show any physical signs of it, they can still carry it around dormant in their body, and a simple sneeze, cough, kiss can pass on that disease to another. That is the real fear that I carry around with me every day, and the reality of it is that she could become severely disabled or die if she caught one of these diseases. I fear people who are not vaccinated for my child’s safety. And the same goes for pregnant women. The health of their unborn child can be at risk in the exact same way. A mother may not have recieved all her vaccinations but she can still contract a mild case of a highly contagious disease such as measles, chicken pox etc and it is then imediately passed through the placenta potentially harming the baby. There are reported cases of children whose mother’s have contracted a disease whilst pregnant and their child has been born with either a deformity or brain damage. And they are the lucky ones who survived! Fear goes both ways and this needs to be acknowledged.

  2. If it were me and my partner wouldn’t vaccinate, I would be willing to do it behind his back. I couldn’t live with myself if my child contracted one of the diseases we vaccinate against or passed the disease onto someone more vulnerable.

    1. I’ve just used your link in your comment on Mamamia. I’m pro-vaccination but I prefer to call myself pro-common sense and reason 😉

      I can see your point…sort of. You love you wife, she has a very real fear (very real to her, I have to add) and you are considerate and, for want of a better word, respectful of that fear. My problem is that her fear is based on irrational and flawed misinformation. It’s a fear based on lies and untruths that are debunked time and time again. If your wife worried about flying because she would hit the roof of a dome she thought we all lived under, or if she didn’t want to go on a boat because she believed the world was flat and she’d fall off, would you still respect her views?

      Of course, I have no idea how hard you’ve tried to convince your wife she is on the wrong track but if I was you, I couldn’t help myself but gently steer her into becoming a more rational and reasonable person. I would start with pointing out the tone of voice of the articles she is reading. The biggest voices of the anti-vax movement have no education in the field they profess a vast understanding of (arrogant much?), they are not scientists, they cannot back their claims up and when they try to, they make a mess of it and it takes a quick google to find an article by a reputable scientist or doctor calmly and rationally debunking it. (with a lot of substance backing it up).

      If I read something and it doesn’t answer the questions I have, I will dig and dig until I find those answers. In my experience (and I have had friends who fall into this category) people who are fundamentally anti vaccination will simply refuse to read anything that debunks their beliefs (beliefs formed from reading misguided and unsubstantiated articles at best or hysterical and unsubstantiated rantings at worst) so who are the sheep? (referring to that common insult you may have come across in your time)

      On a last note, you painted a picture of a government who bans vaccination. Ben Elton wrote a fantastic dystopian sci-fi novel with this as a premise (it’s called Blind Faith). It’s really dark (as a lot of his novels are) but of course, hysterically laugh out loud funny in places too. A good recommendation for you and your wife to read maybe?

      That’s all from me. Too roo!

      1. Mandy, thank you for your fantastic comment. I’ve pretty much covered a response over both my articles to the question you raised about the fear of flying or the flat earth theory, especially in the fact that I am an Atheist yet I know many people who have that Fear of God.

        The problem is with those who are trapped in the cycle of believing the lies (that is with any cause) they will often sign up to the pro-their cause Facebook pages, blog sites and newsletters and they will inevitably be indoctrinated into that whole belief system tenfold.

        I do love Ben Elton’s work and I might have to hunt out that book and read it in the not too distant future somewhere between spending time with the family and writing my own book. It is a shame they don’t just make it into a movie so I can get through it in 90 minutes, or 2 hours max.

        Thanks once again for your comment.

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