The 1998 Wakefield Study (that has since proven to be flawed with accusations of falsification of data), linked the MMR vaccine to autism in 12 children.
The findings caused a ripple effect that is still being felt by parents hesitant to vaccinate their children against potentially fatal illnesses.
The Centre for Disease Control in the US reported that the highest levels of measles outbreaks since 1992 were recorded in 2019 with 1250 cases between January and September alone.
There have been outbreaks of measles in Australia and other countries around the world, seeing a resurgence in this potentially deadly disease that was almost wiped out through vaccination programmes.
It’s estimated that between 6 and 8 million children around the world died per year from measles before the vaccine was introduced that now sees around 85% of children worldwide vaccinated through primary healthcare services.
Health professionals are determined to allay public fear about a connection between vaccines and autism. The difficulty occurs because some children may manifest symptoms of from birth, but others only show signs between 18 and 36 months, making parents suspect a connection between the vaccines and autism.
Vaccines for minors aren’t just a decision for parents. There is an increasing number of young people and children with vaccine-hesitant parents asking public health officials for vaccinations against their carers wishes.
In Australia, the age of consent when a child is deemed competent to consent to medical treatment is 18. Either parent can give consent for vaccinations (unless there are court orders in place indicating otherwise) for those under 18, but there are circumstances where, despite a parent’s objection, a child can legally request to be vaccinated.
If a child wants to take their healthcare into their hands the ‘Gillick Competence’ or ‘mature minor’ ruling is applied if the child is proven to have the understanding and intelligence to fully understand the procedure.
Understandably, any parent would want to protect their child from health risks from vaccines. Japan banned the MMR vaccine in 1993 following a record number of non-viral meningitis cases and various other adverse reactions, 1.8 million in fact, with 3 deaths recorded. The UK discontinued the particular type of mumps vaccine used in Japan citing problems linked with that strain. Japan went back to individual vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella, which were more expensive, but it was felt they were safer. Following the 1993 scare, 94 children were recorded to have died during measles outbreaks over five years as Japanese parents became vaccine hesitant.
Vaccines for minors give children immunity from potentially fatal and serious diseases. For many parents, it’s not an issue to use advances in medical science to protect their children from these diseases that should belong in the past.
Should vaccines for minors be compulsory? Have your vote now.