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Byron Shire
March 8, 2021

Herd immunity is a reality

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Rachel Barnden, Mullumbimby

I am very worried for my four week old baby. No child can be immunised at four weeks of age because they are too young. But she could catch a virus like whooping cough or chicken pox from one of the 200 Mullumbimby Primary kids when I pick up her older siblings every day. The possibility is that half of that school is not immunised. In 2011 three quarters of the kindy class contracted chicken pox over a two term period, which equated to about 12 kids.

Years ago I researched both sides of the debate. At the time I had been working in Traditional Chinese Medicine I immunised my first two kids late because we lived up in the forest and had very little interaction with the community, and I wanted to wait until their bodies had grown stronger. Yes I was scared of the risks of an adverse reaction.

Education is the most powerful tool one can possess. I am now a final year science student at university and I now fully understand the concept of ‘research’ as many people are writing about. Yes it is about doing your homework and understanding both sides of a debate. Since this is a medical issue the best information will come from published and referenced medical journals, which can be accessed through university libraries. However, research also means an experimentally tested hypothesis, with a strict experimental design and multiple replicates based on the methodology of previous researchers. Research does not mean scanning the internet for opinions but rather weeks or years of testing in laboratories (such that of vaccines).

Having further educated myself, I now know that the risks associated with proven science is better than risking my newborn’s life in a community with low immunisation rates. It is only a matter of time before the northern rivers sees a return of preventable illnesses and it will most likely originate from an overseas visitor into the Byron Bay community…

Literally, every day this winter I am scared for my four week old daughter. I hope that it won’t be a repeat of 2008 when I knew loads of people with whooping cough. That is why we immunise (herd immunise) to protect those who medically cannot.

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  1. Thank you for a well written letter. We should not allow the rise of preventable diseases such as whooping cough, measles, polio, tuberculosis or small pox which have far reaching and devastating results on society as a whole. Diseases such as measles can cause birth defects, not the least of which is deafness. Incidents of whooping cough in adults is already a problem – exposure to unvaccinated children the cause. I support the push to require vaccination prior to a child attending school. We do it for our dogs, why not our children who are ever more precious.

  2. I am a supporter of immunisation and one of the best things I have ever heard a friend of mine do, is take her kids for a tour around a cemetery pointing out all the children who had died from diseases that we do not have any longer due to imunisations, e.g. polio. Unfortunately with immunisation rates falling below 80%, it is true that the population is at much greater risk of these diseases becoming prevalent again. However perhaps a little further research, but if the mother has been immunised I do believe that new borns carry their mothers immunity for a period of time and is why immunisations are not taken out until a baby is 2 mths old

  3. I commend the writer for her sensible approach to immunisation. I might point out a recent SBS doco ‘Jabbed’ gave very lucid and intelligent reasons for all our kids to be vaccinated. For those who missed it, it can be downloaded from SBSs repeats.

  4. I’m not an opponent of immunisation per se, polio was an ever present and horrifying reality in my childhood, but I do question the potentially devastating synergistic effects of current multiple immunisations. Given drug company proclivity for maximising profits, are we being over medicated? Smallpox and polio sure, whooping cough maybe, but measles and chicken pox??? Every kid I ever knew had measles and I never heard of any that didn’t just get over it having built the requisite immunity. However, I’ve met a few children who’ve had truly disastrous reactions to multiple immunisations. I didn’t go looking for them, I just met them along the way.
    Of course in the interests of ‘herd’ immunity we can tell the parents of those children, who’ve had the light of their lives turned into a vegetable, to just suck it up. Alternatively we could start asking some serious questions rather than taking the drug companies word for it.

  5. Vaccination is a complicated personal choice and I chose not to immunise my children, since I understood that the risk of adverse reaction was greater for them, given that I had an adverse reaction to my own infant immunisations and as a result my mother chose not to complete my vaccination program as suggested in the 1960’s. These days the amount of shots have multiplied astronomically.
    Rachel – have a bit more faith in your child’s immune system. Fear and worry breed anxiety and stress – not a good environment for immunity for either of you. Both my children have contracted chicken pox – by the way, a normal childhood occurrence, and both came through with a couple of scars and some sick days spent snuggled up to mummy. My second daughter contracted whooping cough and I nursed her for two days with lots of TLC and breast feeding and she recovered beautifully. Both now teenagers, they rarely contract the regular flus or coughs going around the school in those who have been vaccinated. I believe in the research by those who have no investment in the chemical industry’s hold on the medical establishment. See http://www.vaccinationdecisions.net/
    What is so frustrating for me as a mother reading your letter is the lack of faith in your child’s natural immunity, the lack of acknowledgement you give to normal childhood illnesses such as chicken pox and the lack of awareness you display of the role you have to play in strengthening her immunity in ways that Nature intended. I can think of no greater gift to give a child than belief in their body’s capacity to deal with disease/illness.

  6. First. Congratulations to Rachel. It takes courage to put your name to an opinion that is certain to inspire the wrath of the Antons & the D Jacksons of this world. I note their complete lack of logical debate… just poor attempts at ridicule. I am no scientist or Naturapath Anton, just a parent who did immunise his children…. But I do know that diseases like whooping cough and Polio were almost eradicated. Now there is a very real risk of them resurfacing. When these diseases were prevalent…before the advent of vaccinations… I guess people had no choice but to rely on “Natural Immunity”….a pity so many suffered because their “natural immunity” wasn’t up to the task.
    My wife & I do believe, but are not certain, that drug companies have too much influence & care only for profit. My wife would certainly agree with Robin, re the effects of the multiple injections… but we don’t know for sure.
    Sharon, we respect your right to make your choices… respect the rights of the majority, & keep your children away from all of us who do not wish to see such diseases cause the pain and anguish that they once did.


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