A move by a group of parents in the Tabulam area to set up a childcare centre that would not require children attending to be vaccinated has been condemned by opposition health and north-coast spokesperson Walt Secord.
Local media yesterday said the group, headed by Junita ‘Wanda’ Halden, had taken the move in response to the federal government’s decision to prevent unvaccinated children attending childcare centres and parents claiming childcare tax rebates.
Ms Halden said she was still in the early stages of planning the centre and would release more information in the new year on her Facebook page.
But her claims that ‘multiple vaccinations cause autism, adverse health reactions, spread communicable disease, cause damage to blood, brain tissue and sometimes death’ have been disparaged.
Mr Secord described the idea as ‘irresponsible and dangerous’ and called on the government to take a bipartisan stand on the issue.
‘The science is in. Vaccination along with fluoride is one of the 20th century public health achievements. Vaccinations work and save lives,’ Mr Secord said.
‘It is time the Baird government drew a line in the sand and stood up to the anti-vaccination movement,’ he added.
‘It is irresponsible, dangerous and ridiculous – and puts the whole community in danger of measles, whooping cough, mumps and other deadly diseases.’
‘Sadly, parts of the north coast have the lowest vaccination rates in Australia – that puts the whole community in jeopardy and is against all sensible public health messages,’ Mr Secord said.
A member of Stop the Anti Vaccination Network, Dr John Cunningham, told ABC yesterday that he thought the plan was ‘one of the more stupid ideas I’ve ever heard of’.
‘A child care centre full of unvaccinated children would serve as a haven for disease,” he said.
‘Certainly if there was any outbreak of disease, that is certaihttp://www.echo.net.au/wp-admin/post.php?post=140232&action=edit&message=6nly where it would come from or where it would go to very quickly,’ Dr Cunningham added.
But not all vaccine advocates share the view that the current government’s coercive approach is appropriate.
Dr Julie Leask, from The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, is an outspoken critic of punitive, coercive vaccination policies, which she has claimed, are counter-productive.
She favours positive policies to remove structural barriers to vaccination up-take, tailored communication strategies, and professional development and engagement ofvaccination providers.