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A Melbourne mother was shocked to receive an invitation last weekend via the social networking website meetup.com to join an anti-vax playgroup.

The Age shares, the invitation was from the the Outer Eastern Non-Vaccinated Toddler Playgroup, addressed to “Conscious Informed Parents”, in what appeared to be an automatically generated email.

It reads: “I am starting this meetup in an attempt to connect with other Mums in the outer Eastern area of Melbourne that, like me, have done their research and chosen NOT to vaccinate their children and want to meet on a fortnightly basis to provide informal social interaction with other like-minded Mums & Dads with pre-school tots.”

One mum who received the invite said she was shocked to see the group on a mainstream website.

“Usually, these people stick to private Facebook groups,” said Allie, whose one year old son has received all the vaccinations for his age.

“This really is a community concern. I’m just terrified that we’re going to end up with diseases that have been eradicated coming back, because people [don’t] vaccinate their children.”

Authorities have no power to stop anti-vaxxers and their unimmunised children gathering, but the playgroup plan is of concern to Health Minister Jill Hennessy.

“When it comes to vaccination the science is clear. It saves lives,” she said.

“This sort of behaviour not only puts the health of their children at risk, it endangers the lives of other children in the community. I’d seriously encourage any parent to take advice from their GP before knowingly exposing their children to the risks of an anti-vax playgroup.

“Parents who may not have their own vaccinations up to date could also be a risk to unvaccinated children.”

Under the laws, a child must be fully immunised for their age or on a vaccination catch-up program before enrolling at a childcare centre, kindergarten or family daycare centre. Children can be exempt only for medical reasons, but there is no exemption for “conscientious objection”.

The laws, however, do not apply to unlicensed playgroups or parents’ groups.

Earlier this week we shared that Health professionals are concerned the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine may no longer be working effectively, leaving a large section of the population unprotected from the mumps virus. Last year the biggest outbreak of mumps was recorded, with 804 cases. Read the full story here.

Does this concern you as a parent? What can we do to prevent these activities?

Share your comments below.

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  • it is up to the parent but i don’t see why you would risk it. i would not play games with my child’s life like that

    Reply

  • Everything is now via social media so to me this is not shocking.

    Reply

  • No this doesn’t concern me.
    There have always been groups of anti vaxxers and there always will be.
    People have the right to make up their own mind.
    And even though all my kids are vaccinated and up to date, I’m not totally convinced this is the best for them.

    Reply

  • I don’t see the big deal in this. Everyone can have their choices regarding vax or no vax but why would anyone try to boycott these families getting in touch and hanging out with other non vaxxers if that’s what they choose to do. It would be no different to a vaxxer only wanting vaxxed kids in her playgroup. Let them be I say

    Reply

  • When are these parents going to realize that making their own mind up about this is just so stupid? The diseases that vaccinations prevent can and do kill people. There is so much evidence that they work. What is with the fad of not believing scientists anymore? Drives me insane.

    Reply

  • it really worries me, my last two kids were premature and this could have killed them, my friend’s kids have had cancer and it could have been devastating. I don’t know where they do their research

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  • It’s a pity that they think the herd will stop their children from getting the diseases that they should be vaccinated against. Although this helps is a few cases, if there are sufficient un-immunised people, then the herd cannot stop the disease and it will become prevalent again. Having lived through the polio epidemic and seen how hard it was for those who were infected to live, not just then, but in later life with deformed limbs and horrible breathing problems, then I hate to think how hard it would be now to suppress things like small pox, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. We could help in the older days with penicillin and other drugs, but these are becoming less of a help due to diseases being more resistant to the older drugs because of their wide use and over-use. If parents don’t vaccinate then they are condemning us all to a third world problem and death from these diseases will be inevitable.

    Reply

  • Maybe they should run their own childcare and schools so their children don’t put other lives at risk. Babies who aren’t old enough to be vaccinated have had their lives put at risk and some have also lost their lives

    Reply

  • It is really worrying that parents who choose not to vaccinate believe they are well informed. I wonder where they are getting their information from?

    Reply

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