No ceasefire in vaccination war

PLAYING IT SAFE: Cheryl- Ann Heuvel, mom to Liliana, 3, and baby   Riley,   believes in vaccinating her children -
PLAYING IT SAFE: Cheryl- Ann Heuvel, mom to Liliana, 3, and baby Riley, believes in vaccinating her children –

Opposing viewpoints cause stress as debate rages on

TO vaccinate or not to vaccinate? The contentious debate has expectant parents and mothers of little ones waging war on each other. The decision not to vaccinate became increasingly popular in the late 1990s when Dr Andrew Wakefield’s study was published in the Lancet medical journal, claiming that the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine was linked to and might induce autism.

The journal retracted the article in 2010 and Wakefield was stripped of his medical licence for reasons of serious professional misconduct.

This, however, did not stop celebrities like Jim Carey, Jenny McCarthy, Donald Trump and Mayim Bialik jumping on the bandwagon and further fuelling speculation that vaccines lead to autism.

The debate has found its way back into the news due to a recent outbreak of measles at Disneyland in the United States that saw almost 50 people infected.

The Eastern Cape has proponents of both sides of the argument.

Registered private midwife Teresa Hayward knows only too well how these opposite viewpoints can cause great stress.

She noted two cases of panicked mothers who phoned her in tears.

“The first was a mom who was pregnant. She was in [a shop] queue when the mom in front of her told her not to stand too close as her child in the trolley had German measles.” It turned out the child was not vaccinated against it.

-Devon Koen and Eleanor Douglas-Meyers

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