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Parents want the truth

Have you been led to believe that vaccination was the magic bullet that saved us from the scourges of the past?

This is the most convincing argument made by those who market vaccines to us. Chances are it has influenced your decision at a fundamental, and perhaps even subconscious, level. It certainly did mine.

Many thousands of children in industrialised countries died from measles during the 1800s and early 1900s. The death rate steadily declined from the late 1800s. The following graph shows the decline in Australia from 1870 to 1970. The arrow indicates the point at which measles vaccine was introduced.

Graph showing death rates from measles. Vaccines had little or no impact on the overall picture, having been introduced well after the major decline. Similar story for whooping cough, diphtheria and other infectious diseases

One thing is clear: the vaccine had little if anything to do with the demise of measles as a killer. Why? Because it wasn't around.

All other infectious diseases of the time, diphtheria, whooping cough, scarlet fever, typhoid fever, etc went through a similar decline during the same period. Some of these diseases had vaccines introduced for them. Others didn't. Their death rates all declined just the same, over the same period.

The simple fact is vaccination had little, if anything, to do with the overall decline in deaths from infectious diseases.

In their effort to increase vaccination our trusted health advisors have misinformed us at a fundamental level - the truth would have done.

Have you been led to believe that being vaccinated means you are protected from getting the disease?

When disease outbreaks occur we tend to think unvaccinated children are the ones who get sick. In my Human Rights hearing a professor from the Royal Childrens Hospital stood by his belief that disease outbreaks only affect unvaccinated children. When asked for evidence he said he didn't need any because it was a 'fundamental doctrine of holy writ in medicine'.

However, it is not true. In fact, most of the victims of these diseases are those who have been vaccinated for them.

In 1989 the U.S. health department documented 170 measles outbreaks in the country and found that 89% of the victims had been vaccinated for measles. School outbreaks were reported where ALL the victims had been vaccinated.

In the same year a 20 month study of whooping cough in Nova Scotia was published revealing 96% of the victims had been vaccinated for whooping cough.

In Australia in 1996, the South Australian Heath Commission released seven years of data on whooping cough showing 87% of the victims had been vaccinated. More recent Australian data shows the vast majority of children with whooping cough have been appropriately vaccinated.

Statistics such as these are normal in the medical literature. Supporters of vaccination provide a simple mathematical explanation for it. Opponents argue we can no longer assume we have useful vaccines.

In addition to this, for ethical reasons, proper clinical trials have not been carried out to establish the value of our vaccination programs.

Vaccination is thought to protect us from disease. The truth is this is questionable.

Have you been led to believe that the chance of being harmed by a vaccine is very remote?

Once again, I was. Vaccination is marketed as one of the safest interventions of medicine. It is said to have an impeccable safety record after being used for decades in the global community.

Opponents point out that the reporting system for collecting the data for these conclusions is so poorly designed that some experts estimate only 1% of negative outcomes from vaccination actually reach the database.

They also point out that a United States Institute of Medicine study concluded that although vaccination is probably responsible for a long list of negative outcomes including blood disorders, infections, paralysis, behavioural problems and death, the frequency of these cannot be estimated due to insufficient research.

The truth is vaccines pose a risk - one that is yet to be quantified.