Anti-vaccine campaigns just spread fear
News that an Irish mother of children with autism is speaking out about unreliable anti-vaccine campaigns was something that many in the medical profession have been waiting a long time to hear.
Fiona O'Leary will speak at an international conference this week on the dangers of such campaigns and the misinformation that is circulating.
Ms O'Leary will speak particularly about 'bogus treatments' for autism but also the anti-vaccine movement which is one that concerns us all.
There is a growing movement to rail against vaccines, to discredit the proven scientific research that is behind them and to scaremonger about the ill-effects of immunisation.
Personally, I think that vaccines are one of the greatest medical breakthroughs of our time and without them life for many today would be very different indeed.
It is very easy for anti-vaccine campaigners to argue that there is no need for such action, particularly when it comes to the usual list of vaccines given to children from birth.
They say that the diseases such as TB, polio or measles aren't prevalant in this country any more but this is simply because they have been almost eradicated through immunisation programmes.
Such campaigns are full of fear and inaccurate information and yet they are convincing some people to ignore all the scientific advanacements that have been made in recent decades.
The HPV vaccine which in the majority of cases eradicates the virus which causes cervical cancer, has received some terrible press and there are many people who attribute life-changing side effects to this.
However such claims are not supported by any scientific research.
Research, has proven however, that the HPV vaccine is up to 94 per cent effective in the two most deadly strains of the virus.
Despite the fact that there is no scientific evidence to link illness to the vaccine, some people have been worried enough to remove their teenage daughters from the national immunisation programme which is rolled out in school years.
The benefits of such a vaccine far outweigh any side effects and it would be irresponsible to deny it to any young girl.
If there was a vaccine for any other sort of cancer wouldn't we all be in line for it?