A top doctor speaking at a national immunisation conference in Hamilton has likened parents who refuse to vaccinate their children to flat earth advocates.
The stark message from Dr Noni MacDonald, a Canadian leader in paediatric infectious diseases comes as medics discussed ‘vaccine hesitancy’, including the example of a Waikato family during the recent measles outbreak who thought they would be safe from the disease if they ate the right foods.
Yes if you eat two Big Macs a day you won’t get cervical cancer if you’re a boy.
MacDonald, who has done work for the World Health Organisation, said the only way to protect against infectious diseases was by getting immunised and those who contended otherwise “are the people that think the world is flat, not round”.
“Measles is probably our most infectious virus and people just don’t get it,” she said.
“You’re nuts if you don’t immunise, it’s like denying children the right to grow up and grow old.”
Before we got modern medicine, around three out of ten children would die before they were five years old. Thanks to modern medicine, it is now less than 1 in 100.
In NZ the change has been, for Maori, post WWII. It was a mortality rate of 12% in 1949 and today is 0.8%.
Not all of that is due to vaccinations, but some of it is.