Being the father of a young child, this article in today’s Oz had me walking around the office, spluttering in rage and wanting to punch hippies.
The Oz states
Increasing numbers of upper-middle-class parents are opting out of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine because of fears over a link to autism.
Although the link remains unproved, autism cases are continuing to rise - the rate in the US is about one in every 150 eight-year-old children.
I’d actually quibble with the paper’s slant on this slightly; rather than “the link remaining unproven”, it would be more accurate to say “there is no scientifically proven link between the MMR vaccine and autism” but that’s a small matter.
It’s not as though The Boy is at any risk, he’s had his MMR shots with no adverse affect. I’m angry because this approach is based on quack science that can put the lives of children at risk – at risk from a virus that can prevented with a proven, safe and simple series of injections, offered free at any Maternal and Child Health centre across Victoria.
You may say “Ramon, you grumpy old Marxist, surely parents should have the final say about the medical treatment their child receives”.
The answer is, yes, well, up to a point.
The more children who are not immunised against the measles virus, the greater the chance that it could be passed onto a child who has not yet received the MMR vaccine.
These people not just putting their own children at risk, they’re putting at risk any child under six months they may come in contact with.
To repeat, there is no scientifically proven link between the MMR vaccine and autism, as medical journalist and doctor Ben Goldacre noted as long ago as 2003.
If you want to bypass MMR, fine – be my guest.
But don’t come crying to me when your child dies or is crippled for life because of a decision you made.