"THE success of vaccination has been its own downfall to some extent because parents aren't seeing the sorts of things that I went through."
Those are the words of Lismore Public Health immunisation coordinator and public health nurse Marianne Trent.
Ms Trent said parents against vaccination are unlikely to have seen the devastation caused by preventable diseases like whooping cough, measles and polio, thanks to the effectiveness of immunisation programs.
"I'm old enough to have gone through a polio outbreak and we haven't seen one of those in Australia for a long time, but we will if we stop vaccinating," she said.
"I went through school where people just didn't turn up to school again because they'd died or they came to school in callipers.
"I still know people who have post-polio syndrome where they're in a wheelchair now."
Ms Trent said the plans to start an anti-vaccination child care centre on the Northern Rivers were unsafe, particularly if the children had siblings at home
"The more unvaccinated people you have in a pool, the more likely you are to get disease in that pool," she said.
Ms Trent said nine out of 10 parents she speaks to with vaccination concerns, like the ones raised by Juanita Halden in yesterday's Northern Star, will go on to vaccinate or partially vaccinate after being shown the strong and reputable evidence for immunisation.
She said one concern that parents regularly have is "overloading" their child's immune system.
"Back in the 70s and 80s you used to use about 2000 proteins or antigens to protect against half a dozen diseases," she said. "We now protect people against a whole lot more diseases using less than 200."
Ms Trent said the entire immunisation schedule used less than 0.01% of the available immune system.
"The other things parents will say to me is these disease aren't around anymore because we've got better hygiene and better food," she said.
"Certainly living conditions have prevented people dying from quite a few diseases but it is the vaccines that have made the really big different for things like measles."
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