PHN responds to anti-vax misinformation

­­­World Immunisation Week (24 - 30 April 2018)

In response to the recent circulation of dangerous anti-vaccination misinformation to households in Brisbane’s northwestern suburbs, Brisbane North PHN has re-launched its Medical Mums media campaign to coincide with World Immunisation Week (24-30 April 2018).

The Medical Mums campaign – www.medicalmums.com.au – features local General Practitioners (GPs) and other health professionals talking about why they immunise their own children.

According to Dr Dana Newcomb, one of the GPs taking part in the campaign, she did not hesitate to vaccinate her two boys.

“I know that immunisations are safe and effective,” Dr Newcomb said.

“I’ve seen what happens to children who aren’t immunised, and immunising your children is the best thing you can do for their health,” she said.

The PHN has received a copy of an anonymous leaflet that had been dropped into residents’ letterboxes and which made a series of unsubstantiated, unscientific and false claims about childhood vaccination.

Dr Stuart McAuley is a father to two girls and a GP who joined the Medical Mums campaign last year. He completely rejects the false assertions made in the leaflet.

“Vaccines can be given at the right time, and appropriately, and there are minimal or essentially zero side effects or complications,” Dr McAuley said.

GPs can download a patient education resource from the Medical Mums website. The resource explains that a healthy lifestyle and good hygiene are not enough to protect against diseases like measles, whooping cough and diphtheria.

“The upshot of having a well-vaccinated child is that they won’t catch these conditions that can be potentially disastrous to a young child and really impact on their quality of life further down the line,” Dr McAuley said.

“These are preventable diseases that we’re vaccinating against. There is plenty in the community that isn’t preventable, so we need to do our upmost to stop things from happening that we can have an impact on,” he said.

Medical Mums is primarily a digital media campaign that will target areas where immunisation coverage is low.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 94.3 per cent of five-year-old children in Brisbane North were fully immunised in 2016-17.

This was higher than the national average at 93.5 per cent, but still short of the 95 per cent target.

The immunisation rate reached 95.3 per cent for one-year-old children, exceeding the national target for the first time, but fell to 92.4 per cent among two-year-olds. For more information, visit www.medicalmums.com.au.