Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

The science behind immunisation:

In a strongly worded statement, the Academy of Science and the AMA say children who are not immunised are a risk for themselves and the wider community.
Date: November 27 2012
Tags: children, health, baby,
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Parents who object to immunisation are turning their children into victims and endangering the wider community, doctors and scientists say.

A new booklet from the Australian Academy of Science has been launched aimed at giving parents the facts about immunisation and countering anti-vaccination "misinformation".

The academy's president, Professor Suzanne Cory, says the number of vaccine objectors in Australia has been rising and that's a dangerous trend as thousands of children went unvaccinated.

"There are now 30,000 children in Australia who are victims, if you like, of their parents who are vaccine objectors," Professor Cory told AAP.

"These parents are not only putting their own children at risk, they're putting our society as a whole at risk."

She said the easy-to-read booklet, The Science of Immunisation, would be available in surgeries and online for parents making decisions about immunising their children.

People only had to visit cemeteries holding graves dating from the early 20th century to see how many hundreds of children died because there were no vaccinations, Professor Cory said.

Australian Medical Association President Steve Hambleton welcomed the new booklet as a timely counter to widespread misinformation on vaccinations that was confusing parents.

"There are many irrational fears out there and there are individuals feeding those irrational fears and it really is to the detriment of our young people."

Dr Hambleton said immunisation had saved hundreds of millions of lives and it was important to keep the momentum going to maintain "herd immunity".

That meant getting all children vaccinated to prevent disease outbreaks such as the recent one of measles in western Sydney, he said.

If the levels of herd immunity continued to fall, diseases that had not circulated in Australia for a long time would return, Dr Hambleton said.

The Science of Immunisation booklet can be downloaded free from the science academy's website at

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