People concerned about those who have fallen hard for anti-vaccine myths often ruminate that perhaps the only way they’ll learn is by people they care about falling seriously ill from vaccine-preventable illnesses.

The community-wide first-hand memory of epidemics of vaccine-preventable illnesses is now largely gone. But people could learn from the mistakes of a few, such as the Williams family.

Natalie Akoorie’s article puts it well,

Auckland couple Ian and Linda Williams thought they had made an informed decision against immunising their three children because of concerns over adverse reactions.

But they regretted their decision when middle child Alijah contracted the potentially fatal disease just before Christmas, and was put in an induced coma on life support at Starship hospital.

You don’t want this to happen to your family, eh?

In the article Ian Williams says,

“Believing myths about vaccines is not the same as getting the facts. And that is the core problem.”

In a nutshell.

Try the University of Auckland’s Immunisation Advisory Centre. It‘s what they’re there for.

If New Zealand parents need a forum to discussion vaccine on-line, I can suggest the New Zealand Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) forum. I’ve introduced it in an earlier article.

(I’ve offered more reading on vaccination from my blog below. You’re welcome to chat or ask questions in the comments section at the bottom of the page.)

A few other vaccination-related articles on Code for life:

A vaccine discussion forum (open to all, run by people within New Zealand with expertise in immunology)

Sources for medical information for non-medics and non-scientists (a resource page)

Fact or fallacy, a survey of immunisation statements in the print media (the media unfortunately get things wrong, which can be confusing if you’re new to the topic)

The Panic Virus (a review of a book examining parents’ concerns about vaccines)

Thoughts on, and for, those trying to choose to vaccinate or not (Some thoughts on some aspects of parent trying to find sound information. Just as my article asks how trustworthy is the IAS, the research described in this article asks how trustworthy are articles in the media.)

Immunisation then and now (a peek a history)

Rubella, not a benign disease if experienced during early pregnancy (including rubella in New Zealand)


It has been brought to my attention that the Sunday Star-Times has article, by Marika Hill, We were hippies about it that starts with an account of Ian Williams’ son’s illness,

“Blood is dripping from his mouth and he is saying ‘save me daddy’,” Williams told the Sunday Star-Times.

I was holding the hand of my kid who had an arched back, the muscles could break his bones at any second, and his heart could stop.

Later the piece tilts at a local anti-vaccine group, the IAS. I had wondered if the IAS might be involved in encouraging the Williams not to vaccinate their child as the phrase ‘an informed decision’ used in the NZ Herald piece is the by-line of this group. It’s not explicitly said if the IAS had a role in either piece, so it remains an open question.

Hill writes ‘The society was not available to talk last week.’ Earlier last week they wrote a long email to me [received at Tuesday 1:40pm] and they have been active on their forums through the week.

I’ve previous looked at some of this group’s statements:

IAS talks about vaccination

Whooping cough, vaccines, cocooning and the IAS

Immunisation Awareness Society followers – what the new page rules show