A topic that has been flooding the media and public debate recently is that of the controversy surrounding the immunisation of children, and the so called ‘anti-vaxxers’ claiming that the risks of are far too high to immunise their children. However this has been fought back with many individuals claiming that they themselves have been vaccinated, and no health problems had come to fruition.
For my research project as a part of BCM210, I wish to delve into answering the question ‘how has the Media’s representation of the controversy on the choice to immunise children influenced or changed individual’s opinions on whether or not the benefits of vaccinations outweigh the risks?’
I intend on completing this project by objectively weighing up the benefits and risks of immunisations, in conjunction with evidence from academic articles on both sides of the topic. Also, utilizing ‘survey monkey’ to gauge students opinions and thoughts on the topic
in conjunction with researching if the media’s saturation of the topic has swayed anyone’s opinion on the topic to the other side.
To create a basis for my argument I have already found three articles that could aid me in my researching, helping me lay the groundwork for the project. (Rothberg, M) and (Turville, C, & Golden, I) outline separately, but thoroughly detail the implications of the varicella immunisation, and additionally the risks related to autism in children. Whereas, (Cowie, R) article simply outlines the general pros and cons of immunisations.
Also, I will conduct student surveys on the topic asking questions such as:
– have you heard about the controversy surrounding ‘anti- vaxxers’ in the media, if yes, have you heard about this often?
– What is your opinion, do the benefits of immunisations outweigh the risks ? yes/no, why/why not
– If you wish to disclose, were you yourself immunised as a child? Yes/no why/why not
– Would you immunise your own children? why/why not
– Has how the media portrayed the issue changed your thinking or your opinion on the topic?
– If you have been immunised have you had any health repercussions because of it?
From this I will have extracted amounts of qualitative data that I can use to demonstrate if the media, their own experience or otherwise has influenced their stance on the topic, as well as being able to start making links to immunised children and potential health issues they are facing now.
The reason I have chosen to research this topic is because it seems to have become an overnight social panic of sorts, with high and saturated media attention, in all mediums, in conjunction with new laws bought in by the Turnbull Government such as the “No jab- no pay” scheme, targeting parents, disallowing them welfare payments if their children are not immunised (Nine News, 2016). I believe that this topic is valuable to research as it is a current concern in the media as well as society, and it will be interesting to research as there are so many differing and strong opinions out there.
No jab, no pay: The Federal Government’s ‘no jab, no pay’ policy appears to be working, with an extra 260 children being immunised every week, 2016, Nine News Item Citation: Nine News (NINE NETWORK); Time: 18:00; Broadcast Date: Sunday, 14th February 2016; Duration: 23 sec.
Rothberg, M, Michael L., B, Jack S., K, & Wong, J 2002, ‘Do the Benefits of Varicella Vaccination Outweigh the Long-Term Risks? A Decision-Analytic Model for Policymakers and Pediatricians’, Clinical Infectious Diseases, 7, p. 885, JSTOR Journals, EBSCOhost, viewed 20 March 2016.
Turville, C, & Golden, I 2015, ‘Autism and vaccination: The value of the evidence base of a recent meta-analysis’, Vaccine, 33, 42, pp. 5494-5496, Environment Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 20 March 2016.
Cowie, R,’The Pros and Cons of Infant and Child Immunisation’ 2010, Australian Pharmacist, 29, 9, Australian Public Affairs – Full Text, EBSCOhost, viewed 24 March 2016.