OPINION: If you ask me, it's a form of child abuse.
Apparently about 77,000 Australian children are not immunised against deadly diseases.
That is a disgusting figure.
I can imagine why parents are deciding not to immunise.
They are the ones who think they know best for their child - more than a doctor with 40 years experience could know.
They are the parents who are a little too prone to jump on Google and do some "research".
They read some dubious "facts" and statistics about immunisation and decide they don't want to risk it.
It's a funny thing about the idea of risk - it all depends on the angle you see it from.
Parents might think they are protecting their child from the risk of having some kind of reaction to a vaccine.
Really what they are doing is exposing their child to the risk of contracting diseases ranging from the measles to whooping cough and all the symptoms and complications that come with those diseases.
Then there are parents who try to draw some link between autism, sudden infant death syndrome and other conditions that they claim are caused by immunisation.
Wrong, wrong wrong.
There has been extensive research carried out that has dismissed any link between immunisation and other health conditions.
People throw around statistics to try to prove their point, to try to justify their decision not to immunise their child.
How's this for a statistic?
The chances of a child getting brain inflammation, or encephalitis, from the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is about one in a million.
But of every 2000 children who catch the measles, one will experience brain swelling.
Of these, one in 10 will die and four in 10 will be left with permanent brain damage.
When parents don't immunise their children, there is a stronger chance of outbreaks in a community.
The World Health Organisation indicates that for a community to be safe from the threat of outbreak, the percentage of children immunised must be more than 93%.
In several locations in Queensland, including Noosa and Surfers Paradise, the rate of immunisation is below 85%.
The fear surrounding immunisation is akin to the fear surrounding fluoride.
People who find information on the internet and take it as fact seriously need to have a gut-check moment before trying to translate that questionable information to their own lives.
Thanks to those people who fear fluoride for no discernible reason, we no longer have it in our water supplies.
That will mean a lot of rotten teeth and high dental costs in the future.
Next, we might see a rise in the number of children needlessly dying from diseases such as the measles or whooping cough.
It all seems so unnecessary and it all boils down to people who are afraid to trust the people who actually know about these issues, such as doctors and dentists, not some hero on Wikipedia.
I wonder if parents realise the damage they might be causing, not just to their own children but other people's as well.