Vaccination refusal: like putting a child on a freeway

Dr Graeme Burger in the Musgrave st Medical Centre.
Dr Graeme Burger in the Musgrave st Medical Centre. Blainey Woodham

A PROMINENT doctor claims not vaccinating your child is as bad as putting them in front of oncoming traffic.

Dr Graeme Burger, of Musgrave Street Medical Practice, made the comments after the NSW government announced unvaccinated children could face exclusion from childcare facilities.

"I do support the move to ban unvaccinated children from childcare," Dr Burger said.

"No parent would let their child play in a road where they may be hit by a car but it seems too many allow their children to be hit by preventable and potentially deadly diseases."

The new laws would see childcare centres, which enrol unvaccinated children without an approved exemption, hit with a $4000 fine.

It would also give the right for childcare centres to stop unvaccinated kids being enrolled, unless their parents got an exception and attended counselling.

Dr Graeme Burger in the Musgrave st Medical Centre.
Dr Graeme Burger in the Musgrave st Medical Centre. Blainey Woodham

"It is every parent's first duty to protect their children from harm," Dr Burger said.

Dr Burger, who has delivered "a couple of thousand babies" said you only had to watch a child die from whooping cough to see how tragic and devastating it could be.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner, who introduced the legislation, agreed.

"Anyone who has seen a baby with whooping cough or a toddler with measles, as I have, or spoken to a parent who has lost a child knows the devastating consequences of failure to vaccinate," she said.

The legislation would deny children enrolment in childcare facilities if parents or guardians cannot show proof of vaccination or provide an approved exemption.

"The NSW Government is determined to protect our children," Mrs Skinner said.

"These changes send a very clear message to parents that their children will need to be vaccinated to attend a childcare facility or they'll need to get an approved exemption.

"This significantly tightens the rules around child immunisation, it means those parents who have been reluctant to vaccinate will need to consult a GP about their decision and be aware of the health risks."

Dr Burger said vaccination was important but did not offer a 100% guarantee.

"Vaccination is not 100% perfect," he said.

"We achieve about an 80% total protection against the disease but 20% can still contract the disease although a milder form."

He continued to say there has not been a death from whooping cough in a fully immunised child.

"However unvaccinated children do still pose a risk to children who are vaccinated," he said.

Dr Burger said about 10 years ago a medical paper suggested there was link between the MMR vaccine, an immunisation vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella, and autism spectrum disease.

"This caused enormous concern in the medical community at the time," he said.

"This paper was subsequently shown to be fraudulent but not before an enormous amount of damage had been done to the vaccination rates around the world."

He said the damaged remained today "on the basis of fraud."

IThe new legislation passed without amendment on May 21, it will take effect from January 1, 2014.

Topics:  immunisation vaccination

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