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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Will non-vaccinated children soon be excluded from school and child benefits cancelled?

On March 24, 2011, the Report of the Health Select Committee's Inquiry into "How to improve [increase] immunisation [vaccination] completion rates" in New Zealand which was published on the parliamentary website. The government has six weeks (from March 24) to respond to the report.

The full report is posted at this link:

The Health Select Committee (under the leadership of Dr Paul Hutchison) has produced a report that not only recommends raising the targeted vaccination completion rate to 95% for NZ children aged 0-4. It also proposes a target be set for 11 year olds.

The report also recommends that the government make children's enrolment at school and early childhood centres dependent on parents producing proof of their children's vaccination status and – even more ominously – suggests that government consider linking "existing parental benefits" to vaccination.

If the government accepts the recommendations in the report, it appears that parents will be forced to choose whether their child has no vaccinations – or all vaccinations on the schedule in order to enrol in a school or early childhood education centre. Eligibility for the 20 Hours Free Early Childhood Education may also be restricted to children who have had all recommended vaccinations (or whose parents have decided against vaccination) according to Page 33 of the Report. Moreover, it is also possible that parents who do not comply with this "all or nothing" approach to vaccination (for example those who want their children to have some vaccines, but not others) may face financial penalties.

My three oldest: Myra, Mary Ann and Kelvin with
Olympian, Rod Dixon.  All, including Rod, are
tanned, healthy and fit.
I am one of those parents who wants to choose which, if any vaccines are given to my children.  My strategy is to concentrate on ensuring that my children have strong immune systems, rather than reliance on vaccinations for protection.  There are some vaccines I regard as being unnecessary for a  child, such as the herpes and flu vaccines while I have no problem at all with the tetanus vaccine.  All of my children have had various vaccines times but these usually have been delayed and only given when maturity and good health ensures they will benefit with minimum risk of an adverse event.

One daughter, Mary Ann, had just about every vaccine under the sun upon entering the NZ Army.  It was a requirement.  I thought some of the vaccines were unnecessary; but was comforted with the knowledge that she was making an informed decision herself and doing so as a strong and healthy adult.  I had not closed out that choice for her by having her vaccinated as a child.  The pro-vaccine lobby would label my decision to not have her vaccinated as an infant as being irresponsible.  My counter is that I did everything I could to ensure she had an immune system that was robust enough to counter all but the worst of infections.  This included allowing her to be exposed to immune system "primers" such as playing in the dirt, getting minor colds and other infections, eating good food and getting lots of sun.  It seems to have worked for all my children.

Infants and young children have very sensitive, immature organs and an immune system that is easily harmed.  It just goes against common sense to do inject even tiny amounts of chemicals, toxic metals and viral material.  And there are just far too many cases of neurologic dysfunction, such as ADHD and autism nowadays, that may be linked to vaccines.  Better to be safe than sorry, I say.  Better to delay a potentially harmful medical procedure until strong and mature and meanwhile concentrate on strengthening immune health through vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, proteins and - of course - the sunshine vitamin (vitamin D)!

The rush to vaccinate for, say, the meningococcal bug is a convenient avoidance of the uncomfortable truth that this bug is associated with poor nutrition, poor living conditions and lack of sunshine.  This is why the disease tends to be most prevalent among low income sectors and poorly nourished students who are living on next to nothing.

We need a poverty vaccine

Back to the proposed legislation.
Here's my problem: If my child turns up at school having been vaccinated for tetanus, but nothing else, the school may be required to exclude him.  Even if the intention is that he may receive other vaccines later on when it is considered by me safe to do so.  If he is to go to school, he may be required to have over 20 separate injections during early childhood.  That comes across as too great an assault on his tiny body.

I appreciate that this vaccine business is fraught with emotion and controversy.  I think I am in neither of the opposing camps, although I am opposed to giving "unnecessary vaccines" without first dealing with the underlying causes of disease such as poverty.

New Zealanders are an educated and intelligent lot who are capable of making their minds up on most matters when presented with the facts.  We should jealously hang on to freedom of choice and vigorously oppose any acts of compulsion.

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