I had an interview yesterday with a journalist from one of the major Australian newspapers which will probably be published this weekend. We spoke for 1/2 an hour but I doubt that more than 1 or 2 sentences – if that much – of what I said will appear.

The interview was interesting for several reasons – the most curious of which, to me anyway, was an attitude of blind faith towards anything doctors said and a sense that parents were delicate, not very bright creatures who needed to be told what to do because they just were not quite capable of making decisions themselves. Doctors have been studying this issue their whole lives, he told me, so who are you to ask these questions?

I answered him in two words: Vioxx and Avandia. Doctors claimed for years that these products were both safe and effective. They were wrong. They have been wrong about many other things in the past. A medical degree does not make you infallible and parents need to be fully informed because if the doctor is telling them something that is not right for their particular child, the doctor is not going to be taking responsibility for raising their vaccine-injured child – they will.

Let me share a bit.

This gentleman (and he was a gentleman – a very nice man to talk to) called to discuss the recent HCCC decision and why the AVN has chosen to make a stand on this freedom of speech issue.

During the conversation, we discussed many aspects of vaccination, but there were a couple of points we talked about that bear repeating.

When I spoke about how the AVN’s information is sourced from mainstream, peer-reviewed journals, this reporter said (not verbatim) – Yes, but when you give parents too much information, you just confuse them and they are not able to make a decision.

I was very taken aback. I think I may have read this or heard it in the last couple of days so this idea is obviously out there in the media.

I lost my temper a bit (have to admit) and said that I felt this was a very archaic attitude to have and I was surprised that someone in his position would hold such a view. In our experience, parents are perfectly capable of understanding all aspects of vaccination – at least as capable as doctors are – and that informing them of both sides should be the doctors’ job but that doctors aren’t doing it so we have to.

He then said that we are asking parents to take a lot of time to do this research and that parents don’t have the time in this day and age. He said that there are now so many vaccines and so many different aspects to vaccination and it is just too hard for parents to plow through all of that.

I agreed that in order to make an informed decision, parents would have to take time and research. I then told him that if the thousands of parents I have spoken with over the years whose children have either been killed or permanently injured by vaccination had been offered the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks researching this issue before vaccinating, I believe that all of them would have said yes. They just were not given that opportunity.

I then used one of my favourite analogies and targeted it to this situation – I think it rings true.

If you or your partner were in the market for a new car, would you go downtown to the first car dealership you came to, walk in and say – “Sell me a car! I know there are a hundred different cars available and heaps of options for each car, but it is all too confusing for me. I can’t take the time to look at these features and to compare my options. Here is $40,000 – just give me a car.”

That would be ridiculous and anyone who did that would rightly be called a fool.

So why then, when we have an issue as complex and important as the future health of the most precious people in the world – our children – would we do less research than we would if we were buying a car (or a fridge, a dishwasher, a house…) Aren’t our children worth more than money to us?

If I were going out to buy a car tomorrow, I would do research in magazines that review vehicles; I would speak with friends and family about their cars – what they liked about them and what they didn’t; I would visit several different dealers and arrange to test drive the models that I had short listed; I would look at the environmental aspects of the cars. Then – and only then – would I make a decision about what I would be spending my hard-earned dollars on.

When my son was born, I thought that vaccination was a no-brainer. The truth is, I was a no-brainer. I didn’t consider the benefits and risks because I had been told that there were only benefits – no risks – and I believed my doctor and didn’t look any further.

My son taught me more than all my years of schooling. He taught me some of the most important lessons I have learned in this life. One of those lessons is that every medical procedure has BOTH benefits and risks; that before making any decision regarding my health or the health of those within my care, I needed to be informed of both of these aspects.

Do I wish I had asked those questions before vaccinating him? You bet I do! Does he wish I had done that? I’m sure he does.

But that is what drives me so strongly to try and ensure that other parents have access to this information before they vaccinate. To ensure that they ask questions about the upside and the downside of vaccines so that whatever their decision – in the end, it will be THEIR decision – not their doctor’s; not the government’s; not their mother-in-law’s; not their neighbour’s. Their decision.

Because when it comes down to it, parents are not only capable of making these informed choices – it is their absolute right to do so. And anyone who tells them otherwise is being deceptive and misleading and is a danger to the health of the future generations of Australians.