The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop

‘Proposed changes to immunisation policy cause concern’

Proposed changes to immunisation policy cause concern

“I am really worried about the recommendations in this report,” says Hamilton mother Mischele Rhodes, who explains that her son Callum’s life “unravelled’ after he had his 15 month vaccinations.  Callum went from a “fat breast-fed and solid food eating baby to one ‘failing to thrive’ as described by our GP and Waikato Hospital Paediatrician.” As Callum was still eating well, Mischele deduced that he was no longer properly absorbing nutrients from food.  Results of tests at the time he was under the care of the paediatrician showed that a test for liver function (alkaline phosphatase) showed liver problems with this enzyme being more than twice the normal upper limit.

Worse, Callum’s development, previously normal, slowed.  He was diagnosed as having “global developmental delay” with some autistic features as a preschooler, necessitating that he have speech therapy and help from a teacher aide when he started school. Although natural therapies have improved Callum’s health since this time, he still struggles with school work.

Like many parents, Mischele explains, she used to consider that vaccinations were safe, never having been informed of potential serious side effects by the medical staff at the clinic where she brought Callum to be vaccinated as a baby.  Now she sees things differently.

“I – as the mother of a vaccine damaged child – will not longer advocate any vaccines.  The price to pay is too high.”

That’s why she’s chosen to speak out now that the Health Select Committee has released a report that recommends the government consider linking children’s vaccination status “to exisiting parental benefits” and also recommends that children only be able to enrol in an early childhood centre or school if their parents can produce a certificate stating the the child is fully vaccinated for their age or a signed statement that they have decided against vaccinating their child.  

Continued eligibility for 20 Hours Free Early Childhood Education may also be made conditional on children’s vaccination status.

“I wish I had known about the potential side effects of the vaccines that Callum received when he was 15 months – particularly the link between the MMR vaccine and bowel problems and autism,” Mischele continues.  “If I had known before he was vaccinated, I could have decided against vaccination and he might not have the disabilities that he has now. Parents should be given full information about vaccine side effects so that they can make an informed choice about vaccination – and if they do decide they want their children to be vaccinated, they should be free to stop vaccinating at any time without any sort of penalty.  I think it’s appalling that the Health Select Committee Report has recommended discriminating against children who haven’t had all recommended vaccines and denying them their right to education.”

A new group No Forced Vaccines has been set up to inform parents about this issue.

The government has six weeks from the release of the report to decide whether or not it will accept the recommendations, including a recommendation to adopt the “Six star plan” presented to the Health Select Committee by Dr Nikki Turner.  Dr Nikki Turner is the Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC). Until 2010, IMAC’s website disclosed that the organisation received funding from the Ministry of Health as well as five of the major manufacturers and distributors supplying vaccines to the NZ market.  IMAC’s site now states that the organisation receives some funding from “private industry” for “special projects”.


This press release is a public information service from  Please visit the site for more information or to request an interview. The site coordinator may contacted through the Contact form.

Thank you.

April 26, 2011 - Posted by | Human rights, Internationally significant information

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