Public health care experts concerned over Pauline Hanson’s dangerous message.
Pauline Hanson voiced her anti-vaccination sentiments in an appearance on the ABC’s ‘Insiders’ program.
Senator Hanson urged parents to do their own research and accused the government of “blackmailing” parents by withholding welfare payments for un-vaccinated children.
“Don’t do that to people. That’s a dictatorship,” she said.
The Australian Medical Association voiced an incredulous reaction via Twitter, reports SBS.
“The AMA and doctors everywhere are happy to report that vaccines save lives, control, and eradicate disease,” the organisation said.
“Immunisation programs have achieved such great success, some people have become complacent. The stakes are too high for complacency.”
“She has to apologise and retract that statement,” the former head of the Department of Health said.
“Vaccines are safe,” he said. “I cannot stress how angry it makes one feel that she is putting lives at risk.”
“If parents choose not to vaccinate their children, they are putting their children’s health at risk, and every other person’s children at risk too,” he said.
“It is a vital health objective to ensure that everybody is vaccinated.”
Labor leader Bill Shorten tweeted that vaccines save lives.
“One Nation’s campaign of misinformation is plain dangerous,” he said.
— Light For Riley (@LightForRiley) March 5, 2017
— AMA Media (@ama_media) March 5, 2017
Grieving family urge a retraction
Catherine Hughes sadly knows too well what vaccines can prevent. She lost her baby boy, Riley, to the preventable disease whooping cough at just 32 days old.
Sharing on the Light for Riley Facebook page, Catherine is urging people to let Pauline know just how wrong she is.
“If you believe that Pauline Hanson’s comments about vaccination are concerning, please let her know.
Australian children have a right to health, a right to be alive and a right to avoid horrific, preventable diseases. This is our son, hours before he passed away from whooping cough. We urge Pauline to look at what devastating consequences these diseases can have, and to reconsider her views on vaccination.
Vaccines save lives.”
The above post has since been deleted from their FB page, but another more pressing comment has been added by Riley’s dad.
“Since we began our campaign for nationwide third trimester boosters and our push to protect young children we’ve always maintained a politically neutral stance. We’ve done this because we feel that it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Liberal, Labor or Greens politician – strong policy on immunisation is not a political matter and should always be applauded.
Today however, I’m posting this article with a clear and distinct message. Pauline Hanson and One Nation’s stance on immunisation is wrong, it’s dangerous and it absolutely must be called out for what it is – appalling public health policy.
To suggest that parents should ignore overwhelming scientific evidence and ‘do their own research’ on a matter that is as clear cut as immunisation is horrible advice from an individual who is misinformed on the subject matter. Given that Pauline Hanson has just today stated that parents should simply ‘go to their doctors and get a test to see if their child will react to vaccines’ goes to show how completely and utterly out of her depth on this subject matter she really is. Her comments aren’t simply ill informed, they’re actually disrespectful to parents of children who’ve experienced adverse reactions to vaccines. If it was as simple as going and getting a test all parents would be doing it.
One Nation has managed to garner significant public attention in recent weeks and months, and with such a large following, Ms Hanson has a duty of care to the Australian public to ensure the health advice she provides to parents is supported by evidence.
If Ms Hanson could step into our shoes just for a day and experience the raft of emotions associated with the loss of a child from a vaccine preventable disease then I have no doubt she’d have a completely different stance on this matter.
Ms Hanson, the last conscious moments of my son’s life before he was placed into an induced coma were filled with his screaming, anguish and pain. I still have the memory of his beautiful big eyes staring into my soul as a team of nurses rushed to place him into a medically induced coma. In an instant I can still be teleported back to his bedside and remember the monitors, the smell of the room and the exact layout of each piece of furniture, equipment and hospital notice. This is a horrific keepsake I have to take with me wherever I go for the rest of my days.
We urge Ms Hanson to retract her comments and reconsider her views on vaccination. Failure to do so will see more families burdened with grief, more outbreaks of preventable disease and more children dying.”
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