“We Totally Over-Estimated the Adverse Reactions” (Wynne, 2013)

Hi Digital Diary Followers

In a recent article the Australian Medical Association stated parents who failed to vaccinate their children should face barriers when it comes to enrolment (news.com.au, 2013). President Steve Hambleton believes that parents have a responsibility to the community’s children and making enrolment difficult will allow for parents to think twice about their decision. Currently only New South Wales childcare centres are requiring proof of vaccination when they enrol (news.com.au, 2013).

Compulsory immunisation has been widely debated about with both sides of the issue been given equal value. This is seen within the video below which gives both the perspectives of Professor Robert Booy from the Westmead Children’s hospital in Sydney and Dr Viera Scheibner, a former principal research scientist and leading researcher in the anti-vaccination field.

Ward (2009) describes how media can provide a “voice for the voiceless”. It can allow for the voices of those who are affected by the issue to be amplified and the untold stories heard. This can be seen in the case of the Epapara family, who voiced their shattering story about how they lost their two-year-old daughter twelve hours after receiving a vaccination, in order to create awareness for the dangers of the compulsory vaccination debate (Hinde, 2010).  Infant Ashley had been described as being “perfectly fine” before passing away in her home in Brisbane.

However this can also be applicable to cases for the vaccination debate. This can be seen in the example of Alijah Williams, who ended up in intensive care with a tetanus infection because his parents believed they were making an informed choice not to vaccinate their son (Wynne, 2013).  Alijah’s father decided to speak publicly in order to warn other parents about the dangers of choosing not the immunise children. He stated:

“The mistake that we made was that we underestimated the diseases and we totally over-estimated the adverse reactions” (Wynne, 2013).

It is examples like these that journalists can use to show the real impacts of national and global issues. By having personal and individual stories broadcast by journalists it can deliver information, which readers can understand and empathize with on a humanitarian level.


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