That last bastion of news reporting and current events, Sunrise, has again added fuel to the flame war that is the vaccination argument.
I refuse to call it a debate, because, as I have said previously, that implies there are two sides that are both valid. This is just not the case here and I’m heartily sick of the whole anti-vaccination crowd being given any credibility by the media.
In this instance, Sunrise was hosting it’s usual panel called “Kochie’s Angels”. The segment consists of David Koch and an all-female panel. They spend a few minutes discussing a couple of current issues and generally, it’s pretty tame.
However, there was that one time when Sarah Wilson (journalist, television presenter, blogger, media consultant and author) blathered a whole bunch of anti-vaccine rhetoric on the Sunrise panel, implying that wealthier parents aren’t vaccinating their kids because they are “more educated” and a whole other lot of codswallop. Remember the fuss that created?
The vaccination discussion starts about 2-3 minutes from the end if you can’t be bothered sitting through the whole thing.
The Latest Vaccination Discussion
On Wednesday, in shades of Sarah Wilson’s comments, panelists discussed the vaccination again– in particular the whooping cough vaccine. Two of the panelists lent credence to the anti-vaccination crowd, with one, Elka Whalan (former swimmer, now a model, writer and speaker), suggesting that parents should research “both sides” of the argument. The other, Sally Obermeder (TV presenter and media personality), spoke about how parents love their children and have the “right to choose”.
You know what gets to me about this? If one person takes Elka’s “advice” and “researches” the anti-vaccine point of view, there is a chance they will take it seriously. There are many slick, credible looking websites out there giving out really shitty, dangerous and just plain wrong “health advice” but most especially around vaccines. Not everyone can tell the difference. Some arguments might seem compelling enough. Some people have a faulty bullshit-o-meter. Some people are willing to accept a much greater level of conspiracy than others. Some will be terrified by the lies and cherry picked info presented on anti-vaccine websites. Some might opt out of some vaccines. Some might delay the entire schedule. Some might skip them entirely.
And as a result, someone might die.
I’m not being melodramatic. I’m not exaggerating. The reason vaccines were developed in the first place was to protect us from diseases that can kill us. Hearing people in the media suggest that there are two valid “sides” could literally be catastrophic if someone takes it seriously.
Someone’s un-vaccinated child might get seriously ill or even die. Or pass on the illness to a baby too young to be vaccinated, like baby Riley Hughes or baby Dana McCaffery were. An elderly person or someone with a compromised immune system might get infected and suffer serious illness or death. A pregnant woman could get infected and miscarry.
I could provide a bunch of links to quality information like I did in this post but I have another suggestion, because, like the aforementioned Kochie’s Angel’s panelists, I have no medical or scientific qualifications. I’m just a blogger- don’t take my word for it. Instead, ask a doctor. An actual doctor that has spent years studying medicine. I have. That way, if you want to go on t.v. and discuss vaccination, you can say you’ve spoken to an actual doctor and pass on what they told you. You know, instead of ignorantly and dangerously defending the “other side”- the side that accuses the whole medical establishment of colluding to poison us all while they line their pockets with cash. This is the same side, mind you, that will happily take your cash for things like “membership” and quack remedies that range from the dubious to the downright dangerous.
Those in the media need to take five minutes to recognise that their words can have an impact- a big one. Surely it’s a privilege that comes with some level of responsibility?