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A boy in Las Pinas City in the Philippines receive a measles vaccine during a nationwide immunisation programme in February. Photo: EPA-EFE

Letters | Hong Kong’s measles outbreak: Failure to vaccinate children should be seen as child abuse

  • The potentially deadly consequences of diseases like measles should convince parents to take their responsibility seriously
  • In some countries, children who are not vaccinated are banned from schools and other public places. Hong Kong should follow suit
The most upsetting thing about the current measles outbreak is that it was entirely preventable (“Don’t allow the anti-vaccine movement to spread through Hong Kong”, April 15). Failure to vaccinate children, caused by either intimidatory edicts from religious fundamentalists of all colours or conspiracy theorists peddling bunkum that flies in the face of decades of medical scientific evidence, is the main reason.

If you see a child being abused by his or her parents by, for example, physical violence or malnutrition, the authorities could step in and protect that child. Failure to vaccinate a child could leave them susceptible to pneumonia or death and is tantamount to child abuse – and must be similarly acted on. Adults can believe anything they like, but not if it affects children or others around them.

As is happening now in some countries, children who are not vaccinated or otherwise immune should be banned from schools and other public places. And non-immune persons should be banned from flying – why should airport workers have to suffer the brunt of other governments’, religious leaders’ and conspiracy theorists’ negligence and cruelty?

Lee Faulkner, Lamma 

Not vaccinating pets is not only wrong, it’s actually animal cruelty and should be treated as such. Photo: Edmond So

Link between pet jabs and autism is plain nonsense

From the world of stupid ideas comes a stunningly stupid idea: not vaccinating pets because they may get autism. Not vaccinating pets is not only wrong, it’s actually animal cruelty and should be treated as such.

The science of vaccination has been proven again and again and yet people still refer to that one disproved, faulty research paper. They make climate change deniers look like amateurs. The consequence of not vaccinating is easy to spot with the recent breakout of measles and its spots. For most of us past a certain age, measles was a nuisance but – let’s not forget – it also killed some people. There are now laws mandating vaccinations, as the welfare of the community outweighs the concerns of a mistaken few.

Pets are also subject to a number of illnesses that can be easily prevented with vaccinations, and yet some people refuse to protect their pets’ health. Although autism has a broad range of indicators, the ones often mentioned are a lack of communication skills and repetitive behaviour, descriptions that match my cat’s behaviour most of the time.

It is clear who should be muzzled and, if they don’t vaccinate their children, who should be neutered.

Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne