A New Zealand couple did their research about vaccines on the Internet, and couldn’t differentiate between fact and fiction, as a result, their son almost died when he contracted tetanus.
Auckland couple Ian and Linda Williams thought they had made an informed decision against immunising their three children because of concerns over adverse reactions.
But they regretted their decision when middle child Alijah contracted the potentially fatal disease just before Christmas, and was put in an induced coma on life support at Starship hospital.
People such as Jenny McCarthy, Joseph Mercola, disgraced researcher Andrew Wakefield, and other celebrities promote not vaccinating children by overstating potential side effects, minimizing benefits, and downright lying about vaccines. Their scientific sounding arguments have convinced many people of the imaginary dangers of vaccines.
Seven-year-old Alijah is among the 90 per cent of people who
get tetanus and survive, though he still gets spasms and will require ongoing medication and rehabilitation.
He was discharged in a wheelchair on January 8 after 26 days in hospital. He faces a 12-month recovery including having to learn to eat and walk again.
Mr Williams, a food technologist with a science degree, believed much of the information that convinced him and his wife not to vaccinate was misinformation and myths.
“Believing myths about vaccines is not the same as getting the facts. And that is the core problem.”
Vaccines are the best defence we have against many potentially deadly or debilitating diseases. There really is no reason for the vast majority of us to avoid them.