A quick guide for new parents on finding vaccination information

You’ve just found out you’re pregnant – Congratulations! Now all the fun starts!

There is bound to be a million things running through your mind – from the big questions such as what will you name your baby? Who will be your maternity caregiver? Where will you birth your baby and who do you want to attend? Then there are all the fun things to think about such as the type of stroller you want, the colour of baby’s room or which cot you like best.

Now is also the time to get serious about your research into vaccination. Do not leave this incredibly important topic until after baby’s birth because, I can promise you, between all the diaper changes, feeding, burping and sleepless nights, researching vaccination will be the very last thing on your mind. In saying that, if you are reading this and you’re already holding your new baby in your arms, with the 6 week vaccination schedule around the corner and not having done your research yet – don’t stress! Take your time and remember that no one can force you to have your baby vaccinated against your will. If you feel it is a decision that you need some more time for, make sure you let your doctor understand this and get them to give you a few more months in order to complete your research, before deciding on what is best for your family’s wellbeing.

VaccinationSo, where can you start your search for information on vaccination? If you’re old skool and prefer reading a book over spending time on the computer, then I’d like to make a shameless plug for the Immunisation Awareness Society’s book “Investigate before you vaccinate.” It can be purchased through our website for $23 (http://www.ias.org.nz/products/) or you might be able to get a copy from your local library. Other NZ-related books on the topic include Hilary Butler’s books “Just a little prick” and “From one prick to another,” as well as Wendy Lydall’s book “Raising a vaccine free child.”

When you’ve finished reading these great books and are ready to tackle something pretty full-on, sink your teeth into Janine Roberts’ “Fear of the Invisible.” If you prefer reading e-books, then get yourself a copy of “Vaccine Illusion,” which was released earlier this year by Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych, who earned her Ph.D. in Immunology from the Rockefeller University in New York.

If you’d rather do your research online, then your first stop will probably be the Ministry of Health’s website. Unfortunately, this is about the extent of most people’s research into vaccination and it is important that you’re aware of the fact that you will only get one side of the story if this is the only research you’ll be doing. Make sure you read both sides of the debate in order to make a decision that sits right with you and your family. Instead of reinventing the wheel by giving you a list of websites to visit, I will simply point you to Hilary Butler’s amazing site, which contains a really comprehensive list of both pro-vaccination sites as well as sites which question the efficacy and safety of vaccines – http://www.beyondconformity.org.nz/sites-of-interest.

For those of you who really want to get stuck into your research and are not afraid of some technical terms, make your way to www.pubmed.gov for over 22 million citations of biomedical literature on various topics, including vaccination. There are loads of free full text articles available and for those which are not free, you can usually get the gist of the articles by reading the abstract. Just as a side note – remember to use both the terms “vaccination” as well as “immunisation” when doing your online research, as these terms are often used interchangeably.

The IAS also has a free, fully-referenced brochure which can be downloaded at http://www.ias.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/ias-brochure-2011.pdf for a good overview on the whole vaccination issue. Feel free to forward this brochure to your friends and family, as well as the ladies in your due-group, who will also hopefully be getting into their vaccination research.

Finally, if you’re one of those people that can’t be bothered reading a book or researching online and would prefer a hot drink with some like-minded people, in order to discuss the vaccination topic, then you’re in luck! The IAS recently started up coffee groups around the country for people to come together and talk about vaccination. The meetings are organised via various Facebook pages (see the links below), or alternatively you can email us at info@ias.org.nz to help you get in touch with your closest group.

Central Auckland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IASCGCentral/
Northland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IASCGNL
West Auckland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IASCGWAkl
Hibiscus Coast: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IASCGHBC
North Shore: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IASCGNS
South Auckland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IASCGSAkl
Central North Island: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IASCGCentralNI
Waikato/BOP: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IASCGBoP
Lower North Island/Wellington: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IASCGWgtn
Upper South Island: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IASCGUSI
Lower South Island: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IASCGLSI
and: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IASCGCentral/