David wrote this post for a newspaper. He kindly allowed me to re-post it here.
I’ve lain awake all night in my bed, my mind processing all I heard or wanted to say at the debate. I was ready to speak up at anytime, but wasn’t directly asked a question. (Mind you, my wife was terrific when she spoke. She’s a wonderful, compassionate and intelligent woman.)
So here I go:
My daughter died a horrific death. Moments after she died I held her beaten little body as blood from her double transfusion ran down her arms, onto mine and then the floor. It’s a reality and I ‘know’ it happened.
She died from pertussis, contracted in a region in NSW where 66% of babies are vaccinated. When you combine that with the low adult vaccination rate of 10%(due to people not knowing their booster shots wane after 7 to 10 years), it’s the lowest vaccination rate in Australia, hence one of the most dangerous areas to have a baby.
Dana paid the highest price for our ignorance and apathy.
NSW Health should have proactively alerted the community of outbreaks and precautions to take before it became an epidemic. This requires more than just posters and media releases. We need advertising campaigns supported by vigilant screening, consistent advice from frontline health workers and free boosters for all adults.
However, the efforts of a few are futile. Everyone in our community must work together to increase vaccination rates to protect our most vulnerable.
Please learn from our past. Vaccination was introduced because there is no medicine to stop these bacteria that killed and maimed thousands of children. Now, these third-world diseases are on the rise again. In NSW it is Whooping Cough. In Queensland it is Measles.
Education is the key to saving our babies. You can’t change opinion or inform the community with silence.
Thankfully…hopefully….. that’s all about to change.
I’ll finish with a quote from Queensland Premier Anna Bligh that she made yesterday in a response to the press…..
“As a mother, I strongly believe in vaccination. I also believe that vaccination is a basic parental responsibility and that governments have an equally important role to play in boosting vaccination rates in the community. I support any national moves to improve vaccination rates and have asked my Deputy Premier and Health Minister Paul Lucas to raise this issue at the next Australian Health Ministers Conference in July.”
- « A brief report from today’s debate.
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