For some, part of this alternative lifestyle does not include immunising children.
But the Immunisation Alliance of WA, based in Success, has launched the new I Immunise campaign with half a dozen local families who consider themselves ‘alternative’ yet still immunise their children.
The campaign, which was launched in Fremantle this month, came about after Fremantle was labelled one of the worst areas in the country for number of vaccinated children.
Alex Hyndman and his partner Renee Hiller, from Hilton, are one such family who have put their support behind immunisation despite their lifestyle.
Mr Hyndman said they used cloth nappies, planted their children’s placentas, use solar panels, believe in sustainable industries, compost and keep chickens, but he still believes in immunising their children.
‘We don’t want our kids to get sick from preventable disease, we trust that Australia’s medical system is run by experts who have our best interest in mind and we are fortunate that we live in a country where vaccinations are free,’ he said.
‘Being a part of the program has taught us a lot more about vaccination and starts conversations with lots of our friends.
‘Our daughter, who is in school, is fully vaccinated so there’s an 85 per cent chance she’s immune to whooping cough and higher for most other diseases, but there are five weeks until our baby is old enough to get his first dose and in that time we’re worried he may catch something, especially as so many in our community choose not to vaccinate.’
Coolbellup mum Katie Attwell saw how prevalent opposition and scepticism of vaccinations was among her peer-group mothers, which inspired the I Immunise campaign.
‘We want to start a conversation so that people stop assuming that to live an ethical lifestyle means that you should doubt vaccines,’ she said.
‘Herd immunity is real, is essential and I’m concerned about the vulnerability of people in our community. We live in a society that until recently has been free of many vaccine-preventable diseases and immunising our children is recognition that we only enjoy freedom from disease if we all participate.’
Visit www.i.immunise.org.au for more information. To take part in an I Immunise survey, visit www.surveymonkey.com|/s/I_Immunise_2014.