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Diet & Nutrition

Vaccine opponents get info from internet, supporters from doctors

Half of Australians who oppose childhood vaccination get their information from the internet, while most supporters trust the advice of their GP.
The finding, which emerged from the first national survey on our attitudes to vaccination, has sparked calls from medical experts for scientific evidence supporting childhood jabs to be made more accessible and user-friendly online.
Although 92 per cent of parents allow their children to get fully vaccinated, the survey found 53 per cent have a range of concerns — most commonly around side-effects, risks and safety testing.
Among the least confident are younger people, who are more likely to rely on internet research than their parents and grandparents.
The survey results come as the NSW opposition proposes laws that would give childcare centres and preschools the right to ban children who are not vaccinated.
Concern is growing with rates in some areas of the state falling below that of Third World countries like Rwanda.
The research shows GPs have an important role as the main source of information on vaccination to 88 per cent of supporters and 40 per cent of objectors.
Professor Mark Kendall, of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, said the researchers and developers of vaccines "need to work harder in getting the complete information picture of vaccines on the basis of scientific rigour to the public".
Despite relatively widespread uncertainty among parents, only eight per cent delayed or avoided getting their kids immunised. Eleven per cent reported they or someone they know have had a serious reaction to a vaccine.
The National Survey of Australian Public Attitudes to Vaccination was carried out by the National Centre for Immunisation & Research Surveillance and Australia Online Research to coincide withJabbed: Love, Fear and Vaccines, a documentary that premiers on SBS ONE on Sunday, May 26.

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