Information about pertussis (whooping cough)

Pertussis (whooping cough)   Pertussis (whooping cough) is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs, causing a cough.  The illness begins with a catarrhal stage which could be mistaken for the cough that accompanies a common cold. (This is the stage at which the disease is most infectious; pertussis is considered to be contagious from three weeks after the onset of coughing.) Some (not all) people who contract pertussis have a cough which has a characteristic “whooping” sound. (Children are more likely to have the classic “whooping” noise when they cough than are babies or adults. Babies may not have obvious coughing at all but may suffer from breathing difficulties, including apnoea.)  The coughing fits may be accompanied by vomiting and the combination of these symptoms can be quite debilitating. In severe cases, the patient may become temporarily blue from oxygen deprivation at the end of a coughing fit. There is a risk of developing pneumonia as a complication.  A less common but very serious complication is encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) which may cause brain damage (or be fatal). Untreated pertussis may last for 100 days as the immune system can take a long time to bring the bacterial infection under control. After a bout of pertussis, people may remain vulnerable to other chest infections for some months until their lungs have fully recovered from the effects of the bacteria. Pertussis is most dangerous to babies under six months of age due to their smaller airways and immature immune systems. When deaths occur in NZ from pertussis they are usually in young infants.  (Fortunately deaths from pertussis...

No Forced Vaccines submission to Pharmac consultation on changes to funded vaccines

In 2016, Pharmac (the NZ government agency responsible for deciding which medications will be subsidised by the NZ government for New Zealanders) announced a consultation on proposed changes to the vaccines funded in NZ. No Forced Vaccines prepared a submission for this consultation, which closed on June 20. You may read the submission at the link below:   No Forced Vaccines submission on Pharmac Vaccine Consultation June 2016 for website   Pharmac’s announcement of its decision following the consultation may be read at this link:...

No Forced Vaccines submission on NSW Public Health Act consultation

Introduction:  While No Forced Vaccines is a NZ-based organisation, there are some members who live in other countries, including Australia, hence the contribution of a document to a consultation on proposed changes to the Public Health Act in NSW, Australia. The No Forced Vaccines submission may be downloaded below: No Forced Vaccines submission to NSW Public Health...

No Forced Vaccines Statement to TV 3 on Measles Cases May 24. 2016

Introduction: On May 23, 2016, Lachlan Forsyth, a reporter for TV3 news, emailed through the Contact Form on the No Forced Vaccines website asking whether No Forced Vaccines could provide a statement or whether a spokesperson would like to be interviewed for a news item on the recent measles cases. No Forced Vaccines spokeswoman emailed back indicating her willingness to be interviewed and/or to provide a written statement. On May 24 Mr. Forsyth asked No Forced Vaccines to provide a written statement in response to a claim made by the Ministry of Health that the recent measles cases “shows the importance of widespread vaccination, and that the virus is currently able to spread due to pockets of the population where vaccination rates are lower.” You can read the full statement by downloading at the link below: No Forced Vaccines statement regarding measles cases May 24, 2016...

Measles cases update and information

Measles, MMR and Legal Information Update   Website editor’s note:  The following information bulletin is designed to help families and school staff affected by the recent cases of measles in schools in the Waikato and Horowhenua given the school closures and concern about the measles cases. It may also be of interest to other people who are living in an area (such as Northland) where there are currently reported measles cases and would like more information about measles and MMR vaccination. This information primarily is designed to help the following groups of people: People who may have been exposed to measles and are looking for information about measles and measles treatments. People who are considering MMR vaccination and would like information about the vaccine. People who want information about the legal basis for the exclusion of some unvaccinated people from schools while they are considered to be infectious. Information about measles and measles treatments:   In people who are usually healthy, measles is usually a mild-moderate illness.   The initial symptoms are often “cough and cold” type symptoms and may include a runny nose, cough, red eyes (viral conjunctivitis) and an elevated body temperature (fever).  (Please note that during this period of the illness, and until at three days after the emergence of the rash, people who have measles can easily spread the virus to others.  People who are immunocompromised remain infectious for longer; please seek professional advice about the risk of transmitting measles to others if you are in this situation.)   The rash of measles generally appears 3-5 days after the other symptoms. Diarrhoea and vomiting can...

No Forced Vaccines spokeswoman on Morning Report May 17 2016

On May 17, 2016, No Forced Vaccines  spokeswoman Katherine Smith was invited to be a guest on Radio New Zealand’s “Morning Report” to discuss the recent measles cases in the Waikato area. Please read on the access the audio file of the interview.  (A summary of key points is also included on this post for people who have poor internet connections.)  In response to these cases Morrinsville College was closed on Monday May 16 and the students and staff (those born after 1969) have reportedly been asked to provide evidence of having had two MMR vaccinations or stay away from school/work for two weeks. The Medical Officer for Health for the Waikato has also reportedly asked schools in the region to begin checking students’ vaccination records. Katherine Smith was interviewed about the measles outbreaks by Susie Ferguson and the link to the interview on Radio NZ’s website is below. http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201800971   NB:  If you have a poor internet connection and cannot access audio or video files, please scroll down (below  link to the youtube video of the interview with Katherine Smith) for a summary of the statements that Katherine Smith made during the interview. Interviews available on Youtube The audio files of the interview with Katherine Smith and also an interview with Dr. Nicki Turner who also appeared on Morning Report on May 17 are also available on youtube.   NB: Dr Nicki Turner works for the Immunisation Advisory Centre, an organisation that receives funding from both the NZ Ministry of Health and “private industry sponsorship” .  (Based on the fact that the IMAC website used to include the...

No Forced Vaccines submission on No Jab No Pay legislation

No Forced Vaccines contributed a submission to the Australian Federal government following the call for submissions on the proposed “No Jab No Pay” legislation. The No Forced Vaccines submission is submission number 323 on the bill and may be downloaded from the Australian website government website via this link: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/No_Jab_No_Pay/Submissions Over 90% of submissions that were received on the No Jab No Pay bill but despite this the bill was passed by the Australian government....

Australians to rally for freedom of choice on September 20

Literally thousands of Australians took to the streets in June this year to express their opposition to a proposed vaccination policy which could see families in which children (who do not qualify for medical exemptions) who are not fully vaccinated in accordance with government policy lose eligibility for a family tax credit and childcare subsidy worth up to $15,000 per child per year. You can read a report about the rallies here: http://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/news/australians-rally-against-proposed-no-jab-no-pay-policy/ To learn about the rallies that will take place on September 20, please visit the link below – or scroll down this page: www.nojabnopaynoway These rallies are particularly important because the “No Jabs No Pay” bill was introduced into the Australian parliament on September 16. PLEASE SHARE THIS POST THROUGH FACEBOOK ETC. SO THAT EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES THAT PARENTS SHOULD BE ABLE TO MAKE VACCINATION DECISIONS FOR THEIR CHILDREN WITHOUT FINANCIAL BLACKMAIL CAN LEARN ABOUT THESE RALLIES. THANK YOU.   Details for rallies are as follows: BRISBANE: Emma Miller Place, Roma Street 11am – 1.30pm https://www.facebook.com/events/792600814189112/ CANBERRA: Federation Mall, Parliament House 11am https://www.facebook.com/events/821075284656941/ MELBOURNE: Flagstaff Gardens, West Melbourne VIC 3003 11am https://www.facebook.com/events/702076213271329/ PERTH Parliament House Steps  10.30 – 11.30am Flyer for information For further information: info@vaccinationdecisions.net SYDNEY: Town Hall 1pm...

Bullying of hospital staff to accept influenza vaccinations “not acceptable”

No Forced Vaccines Press Release August 3, 2015   Bullying of hospital staff to accept influenza vaccinations “absolutely unacceptable”   That staff at Waikato Hospital have been bullied into accepting influenza vaccinations, according to the NZ Herald is “absolutely unacceptable in a democracy” and is an “assault on workers’ human rights”. Katherine Smith, spokeswoman for No Forced Vaccines says that she is “appalled” to learn that one staff member has been sacked because he or she did not comply with the new hospital policy regarding influenza vaccination. [1] “Influenza vaccination carries serious risks, including the risk of developing Guillain Barre syndrome, a disorder of the nervous system which can involve varying degrees of paralysis and can be fatal in some cases,” Mrs Smith continues. “It’s not surprising that many health professionals refuse influenza vaccinations, presumably because they do not want to put their health at risk.” [2] She rejects the hospital’s claim that unvaccinated staff pose a risk to patients. “People who are not vaccinated do not necessarily contract the flu if they are exposed to it”, she adds. Nor, she adds, do influenza vaccinations necessarily protect staff and patients from the flu or flu-like illnesses, citing a Cochrane collaboration study which found that “at best [influenza] vaccines may only be effective against influenza A and B which represent only 10% of circulating viruses [that can cause flu-like symptoms]”. She also notes that the study’s authors stated that that the effectiveness of influenza vaccination in preventing illness was “small” – meaning that at last 40 people needed to be vaccinated against the flu to prevent just one case of...

New Zealand “needs to do more for victims of vaccine-injury”

Press release No Forced Vaccines April 28, 2015   New Zealand “needs to do more for victims of vaccine-injury”   While New Zealand is doing very well in terms of increasing vaccination rates “as a nation we often fail victims of vaccine-injury.” That’s the conclusion of Katherine Smith, spokeswoman for No Forced Vaccines, a group that opposes forced or coerced vaccination.   Explaining that some members of No Forced Vaccines have family members who have suffered significant adverse reactions to vaccines, including reactions that had caused ongoing illness or disability, she described how No Forced Vaccines had contributed a comprehensive document to the 2012 Health Select Committee “Inquiry into improving child health outcomes and preventing child abuse with a focus from preconception until three years of age”.   [1]   “The No Forced Vaccines submission included general information on initiatives that could be used to improve young children’s health, as well as strategies that could be used to reduce the risks of adverse reactions to vaccines,” Mrs Smith stated. [2]   “As some No Forced Vaccines members are parents of children who have suffered a significant adverse reactions to vaccines, reactions which have left their children with ongoing health problems or disabilities, the No Forced Vaccines submission described the sorts of problems that are faced by families when a child has suffered from a serious adverse reaction, and suggested ways that such families could be better supported.” Smith continued.   Unfortunately, Smith said, the Report of the Health Select Committee, published in November 2013 completely ignored the concerns of No Forced Vaccines members. “The words ‘vaccine injury’ or ‘adverse reaction’...

“Science, not bureaucracy, should be at the heart of NZ vaccination policy”

Press release April 27, 2015 “Science, not bureaucracy, should be at the heart of NZ vaccination policy”     If NZ wants to continue to improve public confidence in vaccination and increase vaccination rates, “The Ministry of Health needs to focus on using science to make vaccination safer.” That’s the message from Katherine Smith, spokeswoman for No Forced Vaccines, an organisation that opposes coerced or forced vaccinations.   “The government has done a good job of promoting vaccination to parents and vaccination rates are consequently at an all-time high,” Mrs Smith said.   However, in order to sustain high vaccination rates, public confidence in vaccination needs to be maintained, she warned.   “A key reason why many adults, especially health professionals, decide against vaccination for themselves or their children is the risk that a vaccine could cause serious side effects,” Katherine Smith said. Noting the recent disclosure by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) scientist Dr. William Thompson, that the CDC had suppressed data that showed an increased risk of autism for African-American boys who received the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine prior to the age of three, she said that, “This revelation has understandably reduced public confidence in agencies that promote vaccination – even those that nothing to do with the MMR-autism cover-up detailed by Dr. Thompson.” [1]   Here in NZ, Mrs Smith continued, “One way to improve public confidence in vaccination would be to screen people prior to vaccination – so that those who are at a higher risk of suffering an adverse reaction from a particular vaccine can be identified prior to vaccination.”   For example,...

Simple, Effective Treatments for Common Childhood Illnesses: What Parents and Health Professionals Need to Know

April 27, 2015 Press Release: Simple, Effective Treatments for Common Childhood Illnesses: What Parents and Health Professionals Need to Know   The NZ government needs to do more to make sure that parents and health professionals “are better informed about treatment options for common childhood illnesses.” That’s the advice from Katherine Smith, spokeswoman for No Forced Vaccines, a group that opposes coerced or forced vaccinations. “The government has been very successful in promoting vaccination to parents,” Mrs Smith stated, “And the fact that most vaccines for childhood illnesses are free is also a factor in NZ’s record high vaccination rates.” Mrs Smith added. “However, as no vaccine is 100% effective, parents still need information about treatments for the common childhood infections.” Mrs Smith said. For example, chickenpox,measles, mumps and rubella and other acute viral infections have a long, successful history of being treated with supplementary vitamin C, Mrs Smith stated. “Unfortunately, many parents and even some health professionals don’t realise this.” This simple treatment, she said, “Supports the immune system in fighting the virus and is safe for the vast majority of patients.” Noting that some of the diseases for which there are vaccines, such as diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) “are dangerous because of the toxins produced by bacteria”, Mrs Smith added, “and there is more than ample evidence that vitamin C could be a helpful treatment in these conditions, either as sole treatment or in combination with other treatments, depending on the individual situation.” [1][2][3] It was important that parents who are considering using vitamin C to treat a child who is suffering from any type of...

Act Party leader’s endorsement of Welfare Working group proposal “puts vulnerable children at risk”

No Forced Vaccines Press Release April 22, 2015   Act Party leader’s endorsement of Welfare Working group proposal “puts vulnerable children at risk”   Act Party leader David Seymour’s support for the Welfare Working Group’s proposal to link children’s vaccination to parental benefits is misguided because it risks harming vulnerable children.   That’s the warning from Katherine Smith, spokeswoman for No Forced Vaccines, a group that opposes coerced or forced vaccination.   In 2012, the Welfare Working Group recommended “that beneficiaries be required to ensure that their children complete the 12 Well Child/Tamariki Ora health checks including completion of the immunisation schedule, (unless they make an informed choice not to.)”   “At the time of the Welfare Working Group’s pronouncement, No Forced Vaccines pointed out that any policy that infringed on parents’ rights to make healthcare decisions for their minor children was ‘an insult’ to parents who were receiving a benefit,” Mrs Smith continued.   “Moreover, any policy that forces parents to ‘choose’ between their child having all vaccines or none, puts children’s health at risk,” she added.   The greatest risk, of an “all or nothing” stance regarding vaccinations, Mrs Smith explained, would be for children who had begun to have progressively more serious adverse reactions to each vaccine that they received.   “Under normal circumstances, if a child were having increasingly severe side effects after each injection, many parents would decide against further vaccinations for that child,” Mrs Smith said, noting that in many case histories of vaccine-injured children, “a pattern of worsening reactions to each vaccine is evident prior to a child suffering a severe reaction...

No Forced Vaccines contributions to the Health Select Committee Inquiry

No Forced Vaccines contributed to the 2012 “Inquiry into improving health outcomes and preventing child abuse with a focus from preconception until three years of age.” The submission was drafted by No Forced Vaccines’ spokeswoman Katherine Smith.  It was then sent out to everyone in the group so that  corrections could be made and the diverse range of health professionals who are members of No Forced Vaccines, as well as parents and grandparents could contribute their perspectives. The submission may be downloaded from this link: http://www.parliament.nz/resource/mi-nz/50SCHE_EVI_00DBSCH_INQ_11221_1_A239186/9e2640cef12c6740f68afe4ddab203e69d43bbf2   In addition, a Supplementary Submission for No Forced Vaccines was made by Mischele Rhodes.  This document describes her experiences after her previously health baby son developed health problems  following routine vaccinations. It may be downloaded from this link: http://www.parliament.nz/resource/mi-nz/50SCHE_EVI_00DBSCH_INQ_11221_1_A258987/3f3bdfe29deac973cb8a26eb46f070304c1ea7bc   In addition Christopher Savage, a former police officer, contributed a hard copy document (in the form of a Statutory Declaration) which was posted to the “Inquiry into improving health outcomes and preventing child abuse with a focus from preconception until three years of age” as a further Supplementary Submission in support of No Forced Vaccines. This document does not appear to be on the Parliamentary website.  However, a scanned version of the document is below. Christopher Savage’s contribution describes his work on cases in which children died following adverse reactions to vaccines. Christopher Savage Statutory Declaration Page 1` Christopher Savage Statutory Declaration Page 2 Christopher Savage Statutory Declaration Page 3 Christopher Savage Statutory Declaration Page 4 Christopher Savage Statutory Declaration Page 5 Christopher Savage Statutory Declaration Page...

Call for compulsory vaccination by prominent GP “alarming”

Call for compulsory vaccination by prominent GP “alarming” PRESS RELEASE No Forced Vaccines, April 19, 2015   The statement by GP Dr. Lance O’Sullivan who won the “New Zealander of the Year Award” in 2014 that parents should be “compelled” to have their children vaccinated is “frankly alarming”, according to Katherine Smith, spokeswoman for No Forced Vaccines.   “I have no doubts that Dr. O’Sullivan is a dedicated doctor who cares about his patients and the community, and his recognition is well deserved given the initiatives he has taken to improve the health of people in Kaitaia, such as the Kainga Ora healthy housing initiative,” Mrs Smith says.   “However, his misguided advocacy of compulsion with regard to vaccination is frankly alarming, given that he is a doctor, and should therefore understand that medical ethics demand that except in extreme circumstances (such as an unconscious patient who needs emergency treatment to save his or her life), patients must be able to make a free and informed decision about their medical care.”   In practice, Mrs Smith explains, given that vaccination is a medical procedure that has serious risks, as well as potential benefits, health professionals who offer vaccination to their patients need to provide information about the benefits and risks of the vaccine. This allows people to make an informed decision about whether to be vaccinated.   In the case of vaccinations for children, their parents need to have this information to make a decision on behalf of their child, she says.   “For a doctor to advocate for vaccination to be compulsory, or to favour the use of...

Prime Minister John Key to be congratulated for support for parental and human rights

Prime Minister John Key deserves the gratitude of every thinking New Zealander for his sensible decision not to follow the example of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott regarding linking children’s vaccinations to childcare subsidies or welfare payments. “It’s refreshing when a public figure who supports vaccination is also honest about the fact that for some people, vaccination can have unintended adverse consequences,” comments Katherine Smith, spokeswoman for No Forced Vaccines. “While most children and adults who are vaccinated experience only minor or temporary side effects, in a few cases adverse reactions to vaccines can be life-threatening, such as the severe reaction that left Australian child Saba Button profoundly disabled and in need of 24 hour care for the rest of her life, or even fatal, such as the case of Ashley Jade Epapara who died after a routine influenza vaccination.” Explaining that vaccination is unusual among medical interventions in that it is a procedure designed for healthy people with the aim of preventing illness rather than treating someone who is already sick, Katherine Smith continues: “It is a basic human right to be able to make a free and informed choice about medical treatments – and in the case of children, parents need to be able to make this decision on their children’s behalf, since if anything does go wrong it is parents and children who have to live with the consequences.” Noting that New Zealand’s current vaccination rate is at a “record high 94%”, Mrs Smith adds, that “It’s clear that most New Zealand parents support vaccination without any compulsion and the current initiatives that are being taken...

Immunisation decision “Important victory for human rights”

Press release from No Forced Vaccines October 26, 2012 The announcement that parents who are on benefits will not be required to vaccinate their children is an “important victory for human rights” says Katherine Smith, spokeswoman for No Forced Vaccines, a group that opposes coerced or forced vaccination. In the recently released “Welfare Reform Paper 3:  Social Obligations for Parents” the Minister for Social Development, Paula Bennet stated that that she had “considered whether to establish an obligation in relation to child immunisation, but decided against this”. The minister wrote that decisions about vaccination “should remain with parents because immunisation is a medical procedure” and that “removing the right to refuse medical treatment would be an unjustifiable breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act”. The NZ Bill of Rights states that “everyone has the right to refuse to undergo any medical treatment”. Responding to Paula Bennet on this issue, Katherine Smith added: “Making a free and informed decision about any medical treatment, including vaccination is a basic human right.” Smith said.  “No Forced Vaccines is very pleased that the government has recognised that any move to make vaccination compulsory for children in benefit-dependent families would be incompatible with the NZ Bill of Rights.” The challenge now for No Forced Vaccines will be to ensure that “the vaccination industry does not manipulate the NZ government into introducing any other coercive vaccination policies.” Smith added. NZ’s vaccination rate for two years olds currently stands at a record high...

Vaccination Policy Timeline

Introduction The NZ government funds a national vaccination programme so that selected vaccines (those on the “National Immunisation Schedule”) are free for babies and young children and some other groups who are at higher risk of either developing or experiencing complications from some illnesses. Vaccination in NZ is voluntary: the Ministry of Health promotes vaccination vigorously but parents are still free to choose not to vaccinate, and those who want to vaccinate may choose to delay vaccinations or select some, but not others from those on the national schedule. This being said, NZ has a strong pro-vaccine lobby, and key members of this lobby have been working towards eroding parents’ rights to make free and informed decisions about which vaccinations their children should (or should not) have.  The document below  gives a timeline of key events in the push towards a coercive vaccination policy. Timeline 1995: The Health (Immunisation) Regulations 1995 requires education services to ask parents or caregivers to provide an immunisation certificate for children fifteen months or over or born after January 1995.  http://www.lead.ece.govt.nz/ManagementInformation/EstablishingAnECEService/Legislation.aspx#Health   2005 National Party MP, Dr Paul Hutchison writes in the NZ Herald that “Too many NZ children miss immunisation”, praises Dr Nikki Turner’s leadership at the Immunisation Advisory Centre (see below) writes that that “I advocate that the Government makes it compulsory for all preschools and schools to require children to present a certificate that either confirms the child has been immunised or confirms the parent has made a firm conscientious objection.”  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=3577255 2010  The NZ parliamentary health select committee, under the leadership of Dr Paul Hutchison calls an Inquiry into “how...