In a survey conducted by Newspoll in Australia it was discovered that nearly 25% of people believed that “natural” homeopathic remedies were as effective as vaccination with 15% believing that vaccines actually weakened the immune system and 7% believing children do not need to be immunised at all.
Professor Robert Booy, head of clinical research at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, laid the blame at the door of “new-age thinking” for the belief that “natural” remedies were as effective as tried and tested medicines. He stated:
“It is heartening to see that the vast majority of people understand the benefits of vaccination, but it is a bit surprising that so many people have the misconception that natural remedies can be beneficial when there is nothing in terms of evidence to support that belief. I think it’s the result of new-age thinking and of people hoping that natural remedies are better, even though they have not been tested.”
Dr Shenaz Morkas president of the Australian Association of Professional Homeopaths said she had noticed an increase in the number of parents choosing homeopathy for their children as an alternative to conventional vaccination. This trend worries medical professionals such as Professor Booy as although Austrlias child vaccination rate has hovered around the 95 per cent level for several years, there was a danger it could drop below the levels needed for herd immunity.
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