It’s that time of year in Australia. The weather is cooling down, leaves are turning, daylight saving ends over the weekend, and we are reminded that soon it will be time for our annual flu-vax.

This has coincided with a significant number of different pieces in the media about vaccines. Some of them are well written and well informed pieces focusing on the science behind why vaccines work. Some of them are not. (Cheat sheet: science-based pro-vaxx stories good / crazy no-science anti-vax stories bad.)

There often seems to be a groundswell after some celebrity chef, wellness blogger, person famous for being famous or, (as we’ve seen recently) WAG comes out and explains why vaccines are the devil and we should all rely on ionised water, sunshine and pixies rather than evidence and science.

So, today, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve seen recently which support the vaccination message.

No platform for anti-vaxxers

I’m going to start with this. Meet Zubin Damania, MD – or as he’s known on YouTube, ZDoggMD. I know – I cringed, too. But he speaks sense and the first time I watched this video, I was nodding in agreement. ZDogg (cringe again) has decided that he is not going to in any way entertain any discussions with anti-vaxxers anymore. He’s not going to enter debate, he’s not going to try to show them the science or the facts and debate them. Instead, he’s going not allowing them a platform on any discussion he is involved in. Where he has previously permitted anti-vaxxers to share their views, he won’t be doing that anymore.

I like this approach. Previously when I have written about this topic, people disagree and put forward their ridiculous hippy-dippy delusions about the dangers behind vaccines. Not any more. I will be deleting any anti-vaxx comments on this blog from now on. This is a pro-vaccine place only. I believe the science. So science we shall speak.

What’s it going to take to stop anti-vaxxers?

According to this piece from the New York Times there is no stopping the anti-vaxx brigade because they are not willing to listen. Instead, they believe in conspiracy theories and their own ‘alternative’ facts with no foundation in science.

When a doctor advises against childhood vaccines…

This piece from Melbourne writer, Van Badham, is heartbreaking. Her mother had been advised by their family GP to not give Van the measles vaccine. Van caught measles at 17 and almost died.

Can I just add here, if your doctor is sympathetic to anti-vaxx views, find a new doctor (or nurse or any other HCP for that matter).

Measles in Europe

A recent piece in BMJ explains how measles cases have tripled from 2017 to 2018. That’s one year. More than 80,000 people in 47 European countries had measles in 2018.

A fall in type 1 diabetes and the rotavirus vaccine

A new study by Melbourne Researchers says that the drop in the number of children aged 0 – 4 years diagnosed with type 1 diabetes could be associated with the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine of Aussie infants. It’s the first time we’ve seen a fall in diagnosis rates since the 1980s.

Record-breaking measles cases in NSW (this is not something to be proud of)

Just this week, this article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald telling of two babies contracting measles. They were too young to be vaccinated. There have been 29 cases of measles in Sydney since xmas and NSW is looking to have the highest rates of measles in five years. Measles – a vaccine-preventable disease.

Show this article next time you hear an anti-vaxxer selfishly claim their children are ‘perfectly healthy & don’t need to be poisoned by toxic vaccines’.

Ten year study shows that MMR vaccinated children LESS likely to develop autism

From Denmark: a ten year study which examined data on over 650,000 children showed that not only is there no link between MMR and autism, but children who were vaccinated were seven per cent less likely to be diagnosed with autism than children who were not vaccinated.

You think flu is not serious?

Dr Jen Gunter wrote this great piece where she shares her own experience of ‘flu as well as those from others who commented on twitter. The ‘flu is not a cold. It is not a little inconvenience. It can and does kill.

Smart kids; foolish parents

But perhaps my favourite story about vaccines lately is this one which tells of rebellious children defying their anti-vaxx parents by getting vaccinated. Let’s just remember that most of those parents preventing their children from being vaccinated probably didn’t have foolish parents and are, in fact, vaccinated themselves. But they think nothing of exposing their children to vaccine-preventable diseases, and putting others in the community at risk.

These teens are amazing and good on them for believing the science and fixing what their parents didn’t. Maybe there is hope…

Evil Mr Vaccine…

Diabetes and the flu-vaccine. It’s time.

I hate that almost every week scientists have to come out and debunk the latest claims made by some completely hopeless anti-vaxxer: some footballer’s wife is running workshops highlighting the (made up) dangers of vaccines and is telling anyone and everyone who’ll listen that she will not be vaccinating her unborn child; a former swimmer says that people should weigh up both sides and make up their own mind; a celebrity chef endorses anti-vaxx campaigners, (while at the same time advises against using sunscreen).

And every time something like this happens, scientists have to stop doing their important science work, and go on breakfast radio and TV to explain patiently why these comments from these village idiots are rubbish, and then defend their own work and the work of their colleagues.

There are very few people in our community who for medical reasons cannot be vaccinated, and the rest of us need to be to protect them, and other vulnerable populations. Herd immunity works. And so do vaccines. Just vaccinate. There is no debate.