To jab or not to jab is a very vexed question
THE onset of the dreaded winter flu season is bringing with it a needling dilemma for many parents.
No one wants to see their child fighting off a soaring temperature accompanied by bouts of coughing and sneezing.
After last year’s pandemic, the offer of a combined vaccination against swine flu as well as influenza A and B seemed like an attractive option for many parents wanting to safeguard their little ones. That was until reports started trickling in of some children suffering adverse effects such as high fever and convulsions from the jab.
The unexplained death of a two-year-old Brisbane girl a day after she received the flu shot sparked a wave of panic among many parents.
A new fear set in. Is it safe to vaccinate children against the flu?
Just over a week ago, as a precaution, Australia’s chief medical officer Prof Jim Bishop suspended flu shots for children under five as investigations continued.
The high level of concern in the community has been evident on online news sites which have been buzzing with speculation and fear about the flu jab.
Aussie Mum of Australia expressed what many parents were saying in her comment to the Daily Telegraph. “I’m sorry but I am not vaccinating my three-year-old for the sheer fact that I am not going to risk her dying from the injection. If she contracts the flu I will deal with it if and when it happens.”
Some readers, such as Mayday of Sydney, thought there was a sinister motive behind releasing the vaccine. “I personally will wait at least two years before I even consider having or giving anyone in my family the H1N1 vaccination. This was rushed through in a knee-jerk reaction. The Government is keen for us to take up the vaccines simply because they rushed through millions of doses and spent a lot of money.”
Anti-vaccination proponents also weighed in to the debate with what seemed to be their own viral campaign.
Krissy of Toorak Gardens commented on Adelaide Now: “I can’t understand why anyone would want to inject a disease into a perfectly healthy child. My nine-year-old has never been vaccinated. He’s never had a runny nose, never had antibiotics and been to the doctor only once to remove a splinter. He has had two days off school in five years and has the strongest immune system by far.”
But Mother of 2 of Moggill thought vaccinating her children was safer than the alternative of them suffering from a curable disease. She wrote to The Courier-Mail: “I have always thought that the benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to immunisation for children. I truly believe that I would rather give my children the best start in life with all the facts about the shots rather than watch them suffer with curable diseases. This is a personal opinion and one I will stick with as long as I am given the choice. I do research into the side-effects of all drugs and believe that the risks are minimal.”
Nevertheless it seems many people are taking a more cautious approach, with anecdotal evidence from doctors in Queensland last week indicating a 50 per cent drop in requests for the flu jab.
TSJ of Canberra called for a balanced response and further testing of vaccinations before they are made available, writing to the Brisbane Times: “It seems that both sides of this vaccination debate are divided. Surely the argument here is not whether or not to vaccinate, or whether or not it has saved lives or not - but more to the point, with the small number of serious and negative vaccine reactions - what is causing these and how can they be ultimately prevented? Our lives, and the lives of our children, should not be treated like a chemistry experiment, especially when the ultimate outcomes have not been fully explored.”
In the meantime, it would be appreciated if you catch the flu, please keep it to yourself. This is not the season for sharing.
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