EASTERN SUBURBS ANTI-VAXXERS – HIPPIES OR HANSONITES?Forget fracking, coal mining, global warming and privatisation, if you want to get an Eastern Suburbs parent frothing almond milk at the mouth, mention the word ‘immunisation’. With immunisation dissenters aplenty, the Eastern Suburbs is proudly up there in the list of non-vaccinating neighbourhoods – renegades through and through, opposed to putting poison into their toddlers’ bodies (unless it’s a gluten-free chocolate for breakfast, to keep the peace).
Educated and affluent, the anti-vaxxers won’t be told what to do, even if their supposed ‘science’ is based on that of a British doctor gaoled for medical fraud. How refreshing that one doesn’t have to move to feral Byron Bay to be a hippy; you can simply live in Clovelly, dress in a kaftan and cowboy hat, sip Elle Macpherson Elixir and refuse to give Duke his jabs. And how reassuring that trendy, beautiful celebrities have joined the anti-vax, bandwagon, making it all terribly acceptable (until Pauline Hanson joined the ‘cause’, at least).
Despite my plethora of knowledge on the subject of ‘trendy’ parenting, I have, up until now, refrained from commenting on immunisation, except for a subtle dig now and again at those parents who dissent. Medicos are better equipped to deal with the hysteria of the anti-vaxxing set, and to a certain degree Pearl can understand why the younger generation is suspicious of pharmaceutical companies; there is no way I’m taking statins, even though Catalyst’s report was deemed biased. But I’m an old lady in control of my health, not a vulnerable baby whose parents have made immunisation dissent a ‘lifestyle’ choice, like veganism or owning the latest Range Rover. And if I refuse to take statins (not that I need them) I’m hurting no one but myself.
So with ‘Doctor’ Hanson as the poster gal for what is an ‘over-intellectualised cause’, I feel I am now permitted to rant, admonish and point out the stupidity of anti-vaxxers. Yes, I can understand the ‘big pharma’ argument, but isn’t it a little hypocritical when parents substitute vaccines with expensive homeopathic medicines, and that Andrew Wakefield, the anti-vaxxing hero, based his evidence on lies while hypocritically profiting from his own preventatives?
We are talking about vaccines that have been proven and have saved people from horrible, painful deaths (I suggest anti-vaxxers read Philip Roth’s heart-wrenching ‘Nemesis’, about the polio epidemic in New Jersey during WWII, and then watch the movie ‘The Sessions’), vaccines that are inaccessible to children in developing nations due to their cost and the lack of access to health systems (What do anti-vaxxers do when they take their kiddies on a spiritual tour of Asia? I bet they make sure their own bodies are protected!).
One can only hope that with the ‘dangerous and ignorant’ Pauline Hanson jumping on board the anti-vax cause, along with Donald Trump and lunatic Republican Michele Bachmann, vaccine dissent will lose its glamorous, urban hippy appeal. If Eastern Suburbs dissenters want to protect their kiddies and fight for a cause, Pearl suggests they put their zeal behind anti-fracking, anti-coal and climate change.