Understand the vaccination debate

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(The data behind the graphs, plus key points to present in discussions.)

We all want the best for our children. From time to time we are faced with burdensome decisions concerning their wellbeing. One of these is vaccination, or immunisation.

In the view of some, there is no question; we should simply follow the recommendations. Certainly there is a resounding call from the medical community for parents to conform. Vaccination is paraded as medicine’s greatest success story, having brought an end (we’re told) to some of the feared scourges of the past.

Still not all support it. Those who oppose vaccination say its role in overcoming these diseases has been greatly exaggerated. They also claim that the negative effects of vaccines have not been properly studied or monitored. They go further suggesting that potential problems are deliberately played down due to fears of parents turning away from it.

The vaccine controversy
Make no mistake — there is certainly a controversy; one that is not new.  Ever since vaccination began there has been widespread, organised, and heated opposition to it.  The issue threatens the very foundation of modern medicine on one side, while undermining the sanctity of the parent-child relationship on the other.  This is why the debate is often emotionally charged.

Despite what some claim, the controversy is not the product of a lunatic fringe, nor does it spring from a lack of adequate education. Some of the most important thinkers of the past two centuries have questioned the value and/or safety of vaccination. Studies have shown the groups who oppose it, just like those who promote it, are characterised by intelligent and well educated people.

Those who promote the practice would have us believe the medical profession is united in its support for vaccination, however many of the critics come from within their own ranks, and often these are in highly regarded positions.