sábado, 18 de marzo de 2017

Anti-vaxxing: childcare and healthcare sanctions in Australia | BioEdge

Anti-vaxxing: childcare and healthcare sanctions in Australia

Anti-vaxxing: childcare and healthcare sanctions in Australia
The vaccination debate has intensified in Australia, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urging lawmakers to stop anti-vaxxer parents from sending their kids to day care.

Australian State governments have the power to sanction anti-vaxxers, and some already prevent objectors from enrolling their children in childcare. But Mr. Turnbull said he wants these provisions rolled out around the country, to further improve vaccination rates. "This has got to be a concerted national effort by all governments to ensure all our children can be vaccinated. No jab, no pay, no play”, he told reporters on Sunday.

The Turnbull government has already made family tax benefits conditional on child immunisation, abandoning a former policy that allowed ‘conscientious objection’ to vaccination.

University of New South Wales Professor of Public Health C Raina MacIntyre criticised the Turnbull announcement, saying that the ‘no jab, no play’ policy could “disadvantage working parents and their children, and may have other unintended consequences.”

Researchers from the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne argue that more attention needs to be given to “educating” parents on the benefits and low risks of vaccination. Writing in The Conversation, Drs. Julie Leask, Margie Danchin and Nina J Berry said that “parents are all different [and] It makes sense to respond to them differently.” “Many times, a hesitant parent will bring their concerns to a health professional who skilfully addresses their concerns, and the parent decides to vaccinate the child…”, they wrote.

While the Turnbull reforms have been generally well received by the Australian public, some healthcare analysts have expressed concerns about Australian doctors refusing healthcare to children who are unvaccinated.

A recent Australian Child Health Poll of almost 2,000 parents found among 5% of children who were not up-to-date with the vaccinations, one in six had been refused care — particularly those under the age of six years.


One of the star exhibits in the Royal College of Surgeons' Hunterian Museum of anatomy in London is the skeleton of Charles Byrne, an 18th Century Irishman who was about 8 feet tall. However, the museum is to close in May for renovations and there are calls to use the opportunity to remove or bury the remains. Does this make sense?
A celebrity in his day, Byrne died in 1783 of ill health and drink in London. He knew that John Hunter wanted to dissect him after his death, so he directed his friends to sink his body in a lead-lined casket in the English Channel. Alas, Hunter succeeded in stealing the body anyway and it eventually turned up in a display case.
Similar events darken the history of the Australian state of Tasmania. The last full-blood Aboriginal Tasmanian, William Lanne, died in 1869. Although the story is murky, it appears that before his funeral the Surgeon-General of the colony, William Crowther, stole his head for “scientific study” and someone else removed his hands and feet. There is no record of scientific studies. Crowther went on to become premier, and an impressive bronze statue of him was erected in the centre of the city.
The last full-blood Aboriginal woman in Tasmania, Truganini, was terrified that the same thing would happen to her and directed that her body be cremated. Her wishes were ignored and her skeleton ended up in a display in the Hobart Museum. It was finally cremated in 1976.
Nowadays body-snatching would not be tolerated (although the Hunterian Museum still refuses to remove Byrne’s body from display). But the notion that scientific curiosity is its own justification persists. University of Tasmania historian Stefan Petrow points out, that the fate of Lanne and Truganini demonstrate “the hegemony scientific knowledge sought to establish over fundamental human rights such as a decent burial”. Can’t the same thing be said about some aspects of stem cell research? 

Michael Cook



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