Doctor’s vaccination advice

WRITER Joan Collins (Times, August 18) asks “if vaccination makes your child safe, why are people so afraid of having their child mix with unvaccinated ones?”.

Joan, vaccinations are very safe in general but they are not 100 per cent effective. In some people they don’t work at all and in some cases they �wear out�.

As a health care professional, I need to get my serology levels of mumps, measles and hepatitis B tested to make sure that I don’t need a �top up�.

We also test women trying to get pregnant for their rubella levels as rubella can severely affect the foetus.

There are also many reasons why people are unable to be vaccinated.

This can be because they are too young, have issues with their immune systems, cancer or an allergy to something in the vaccine.

We don’t routinely test everyone to make sure the vaccination worked due to the cost.

If we reach our recommended vaccination rates then �herd immunity� will make sure that there is not a lot of disease in the community, which will protect those who cannot be vaccinated or who were vaccinated but whose levels have declined.

Unfortunately, with a lot of misinformation and also migration and travel, the herd immunity has severely declined in Australia.

The last reason I am concerned about children being vaccinated is for the child’s sake.

Just because it isn’t my child doesn’t mean I want to see them suffer through something that is preventable. While most of the time the illnesses cause only cold-like symptoms, the rare complications such as meningitis and pneumonia can be life threatening.

Thanks for the question Joan. If you or anyone else has more questions regarding vaccinations, I recommend the immunise.health.gov.au website, in particular the “Myths and Realities” publication.

DR NAT O’HALLORAN,

Woodvale.