As part of a new national campaign which is designed to raise immunisation rates, grieving parents share the pain of losing their babies to the preventable diseases that took their lives.
The campaign hopes to fight the anti-vaxxer propaganda and help recover herd immunity.
News Corp report that the $5.5 million campaign deemed, “Get the Facts about Immunisation”, is packed with educational videos and handouts about diseases which can be prevented by vaccinations.
The government hopes to use social media platforms and childcare services to target areas where immunisation levels are low or where the highest amount of anti-vaxxer propaganda can be found.
While the nation’s immunisation rate has risen to 93 percent from 90 percent in 2011, there are still suburbs that have dangerously low rates of immunisation.
“It is these areas of low coverage which pose risks to the community, especially to people who can’t be vaccinated, like newborns and those with medical reasons,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told The Sunday Telegraph.
“Riley Hughes and Dana McCaffery were both only a month old when they died of a vaccine-preventable disease. They were both too young to be vaccinated, so like all other newborns, relied on the rest of the community being vaccinated to offer protection,” Mr Hunt said.
Greg and Catherine Hughes lost Riley from whooping cough in 2015. They have also campaigned to counter anti-vaccine sentiment, often becoming the target of abuse as a result.
“It’s always hard talking about our story, it was an emotionally difficult thing to do but one that is hopefully worthwhile. If I had received information about the pregnancy booster for whooping cough, Riley would still be here,” Mrs Hughes said.
Professor Ian Frazer also played a role in the campaign with fact-based evidence to dispel the many myths and lies spread online by ‘anti-vaccine zealots’, “Ensuring parents are fully informed about immunisation is vital in ensuring we increase the rates of immunisation across Australia in the 0 to 5 age group,” Prof Frazer said.
“Vaccines work to protect children against being infected by these diseases. A parent will never know when their child may come into contact with someone who has got one of these infections, so the best way to protect children from these diseases, is to make sure they’re fully immunised,” Prof Frazer said.
A new online resource has been developed, and can be accessed at immunisationfacts.gov.au
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