Vaccination supporters welcome government crack down
NORTHERN Rivers Vaccination Supporters has welcomed moves by the Federal Government to crack down on parents avoiding vaccinating their children.
In recent days, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison confirmed to media outlets the government was reviewing ambiguous legislation which allowed parents to object to immunisations for personal or philosophical reasons.
Mullumbimby's Alison Gaylard, a founding member of Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters, hoped the review would go some way towards improving the North Coast's immunisation rates, which were the worst in the country in 2014.
Ms Gaylard helped start the group after her two daughters became ill with whooping cough.
"We have a high number of conscientious objectors in this area, especially in Mullumbimby. I think it will (improve immunisation rates)," she said.
"We have a high number of people who've bought into the anti-vaccination stance, so as to whether they'll be concerned about whether they'll lose childcare benefits or facilities, I'm unsure how it'll impact here. We'll be watching with interest. Our demographic here is so diverse."
Ms Gaylard said there was indisputable evidence regarding immunisation's benefits.
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"We're trying to get the correct, factual information out there," she said.
"And so if people out there are sourcing their information from the correct place, they won't be fed misinformation to make them think they don't have to vaccinate, or that it's scary, or anything like that.
"I would request people check their source of information. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. And science is factual."
A small percentage of Northern Rivers' residents will be unable to vaccinate due to medical reasons but Ms Gaylard said religious exemptions should not apply.