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Byron Shire
March 7, 2021

Safe vaccination

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Dr David Moss – General Practitioner MBBS, BN, Grad Dip Public Health, FRACGP

Suffolk Park

Nearly 1,000 people, mostly children, just died in Madagascar from measles. Measles is easily preventable through modern, safe vaccination.

These facts are beyond dispute. Since September 2018 over 70,000 people have contracted measles in Madagascar, the majority under 15 years, and over one-third of cases in the under-5-year-olds.

The outbreak started in the unvaccinated and it’s spreading like wildfire. Measles immunisation rates in Madagascar were 58 per cent in 2017. The majority of their current cases are in the unvaccinated. 

I am curious as to how the anti-vaxxers among your readership might try to respond to these senseless deaths. Because this is what they want for Australia. While the Australian national measles immunisation rates are 90 per cent in 2-year-olds, guess what the rates are in Mullumbimby? Forty-eight per cent of two-year-olds. Less than Madagascar. The irresponsibility staggers me. Don’t think it couldn’t happen here. 

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  1. No deluge of responses from the usual suspects. Is the case you have put just too indisputable? Well done and thank you for your concern for the health outcomes for our area. Though tell me, are you a secret agent for Big Pharma?

  2. Well actually the number of deaths is closer to 900 with about 500 attributed to measles and the rest only suspected to be from measles, obviously in a place like Madagascar living conditions mean ones immune system would be under stress due to malnutrition and the WHO says as much according to Reuters ‘Madagascar has Africa’s highest children’s malnutrition rate, at 47 percent. The condition can increase the risk of serious complications and death from measles infection, the WHO says.’
    When I grew up everyone got measles and it was no big deal because our immune system did its job because we were properly nourished. Dr Moss fails to mention the above in his letter and on the face of it this is just more fear mongering to benefit Big Pharma.

    • Anton, kids have a fundamental right to good health care. Core human right.

      There is no cure for measles and it is entirely preventable by vaccine.

      I repeat 1000 mostly children just died from Measles in Madagascar. They are dying all over the world but Madagascar is interesting as it had a reasonable public health set-up with vax rates for measles more than Mullumbimby. Yet they have a 70,000 strong outbreak. There are current outbreaks in developed countries (eg USA, France) where conspiracy theorists like you link simple vaccination to ‘evil’ drug companies using the fear tactics that you use to drive down parental confidence in vaccinations, Well done Anton, you are a champion for the vulnerable unvaccinated child.

      Who is Big Phama? Or did you just make that up? Please provided a credible recent link to any drug company illegalities relating to Australian measles vaccination program. Or shut up.

  3. WHO also states on its website, “The measles vaccine has been in use since the 1960s. It is safe, effective and inexpensive. WHO recommends immunization for all susceptible children and adults for whom measles vaccination is not contraindicated. Reaching all children with 2 doses of measles vaccine, either alone, or in a measles-rubella (MR), measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) combination, should be the standard for all national immunization programmes”(https://www.who.int/immunization/diseases/measles/en/). Is WHO also be in league with “Big Pharma”?

    We all want to do what’s right for our children and families, regardless of whether we are for or against vaccinating. But if you’re going to call out Dr Moss on the facts in his letter or accuse him of being in league with “Big Pharma”, you had better provide some actual evidence. Otherwise, it is you who are failing to mention the facts and it is you who are fear-mongering. Don’t assume that the rest of us are caught up in your conspiracy theory.

    • Dr Moss has very kindly invited, has he not? those in the Echo readership who question the wisdom of vaccination, to respond to the scenario he portrays, based on Madagascar, that unvaccinated populations , such as Mullumbimby are at risk from a raging epidemic of measles resulting in death.

      How does the threat of death he portrays not cause fear?, therefore would this not cause some, acting out of fear, to resort to vaccination without proper evaluation of the inherent risks?. Were an epidemic of fear to result, how would this not be to the benefit of Big Pharma??

      Now Dr Moss is unlikely to be “in league with Big Pharma”, but would an epidemic of fear not be good for their business?

      Is the population in Mullumbimby under the same nutritional stress as Madagascar, the highest in Africa?

      How does nutritional stress not suppress the immune system?

      I’d be interested to know just how much training in nutrition doctors undertake.

      • The “epidemic of fear” you mention, Anton, is the result of the misinformation campaign spread by the anti-vax conspiracy theorists. This campaign has caused many people to be fearful of vaccinating their children, thus putting not only their own families, but the entire community at risk. Any decent foray into widely available, peer-reviewed research, will tell the researcher that when a large percentage of a population is unvaccinated, the entire community is at risk of infection.
        As of today, New York is experiencing an outbreak of Measles, with a current number of 121 cases, with 108 of those children. Here’s what New York City’s Health Commissioner, Oxiris Barbot, who is also a paediatrician, has to say on the matter in a news conference:

        “As a pediatrician, I can’t stress enough how critical it is to vaccinate children against measles. Measles is a serious, highly contagious, and potentially deadly infection. Complications and fatalities are rare but do happen. I urge parents not to take any risks that may jeopardize their children or other children in their community.”

        Is she in league with your “Big Pharma”? Or could she actually be genuinely interested in protecting children in her community from a potentially deadly, but easily preventable disease?

  4. According to the CDC website, 2-3 out of 1000 children who get measles will die. The CDC website also notes that many children have died from Measles in the past year in countries where populations are not suffering from malnutrition, including France, Romania, Greece and Italy (44 children died, mostly toddlers), among others.
    This information is available on reputable websites to anyone with the desire to be informed. As a parent who vaccinates, I do not act out of fear. I act because I’ve read the science and studied the numbers. It’s not rocket science, it’s common sense followed up with proper research.

    People in Madagascar may be facing more nutritional stress than people in Mullumbimby, I cannot say for sure. But I’m willing to bet that the nutritional state in Mullum is not that different from some European countries where Measles outbreaks have occurred or are still occurring. I don’t think that the “We’re different from them” argument is really what we want to rely on where children’s lives are concerned.

  5. Dr Moss quite rightly asked the anti-vax writer above to provided a credible recent link to any drug company illegalities relating to Australian measles vaccination program. Anyone with nay understanding of the governance of bodies like the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI),and the National Heath and Medical Research Council that overseas its work producing our vaccination schedules , and the fierce independence of professionals in Commonwealth, State and Territory health departments would know how absurd is the suggestion that “big Pharma” or anyone else could influence their advice. When you consider thee are similar well governed national and sub-national agencies and ministries in other OECD countries proving the same or similar advice, the notion of corrupt advice becomes even more absurd.

    As Dr Moss challenged you: put up you explicit evidence that shows “Big Pharma” has influenced vaccination advice to its own benefit; otherwise leave the medical advice to Dr Moss and his qualified colleagues.


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