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08 Mar 2017

Transcript: AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, Sunrise, 8 March 2017

Subject: Vaccinations

SAM ARMYTAGE: Alright now, doctors are turning their backs on unvaccinated children because they fear they may pose a risk to other patients. A national survey found health care providers were refusing to treat one in four children under the age of six who aren't up to date with immunisations. The survey also found 70 per cent of parents would reconsider sending their children to a school with high rates of unvaccinated kids.

Michael Gannon is from the AMA and he joins us. Now, Michael, good morning to you.

MICHAEL GANNON: Good morning, Sam.

SAM ARMYTAGE: Firstly, do you believe these figures?

MICHAEL GANNON: Well it's an interesting study, it's an important study. It refers to health care providers. I would be surprised if we were talking about doctors, it's not ethical to deny treatment to unvaccinated children. I suspect we would hear many, many complaints if this was the fact, that these were doctors refusing to treat these kids.

SAM ARMYTAGE: Can doctors legally refuse to treat some patients, particularly if that doctor thinks, “Well, if the parents aren't looking after their safety by getting them vaccinated, why should I try and save them?”

MICHAEL GANNON: Well, certainly legally they can refuse treatment, but ethically they shouldn't. Parents who deny their children the individual benefits of vaccination against preventable and infectious disease are already doing their child a disservice. Doctors would not seek to enhance that disadvantage.

This study is a good news story in many ways. It shows the overwhelming support that the vaccination program enjoys amongst Australian parents.

SAM ARMYTAGE: Yeah absolutely. Okay, Michael Gannon, thanks for your time this morning.

CONTACT: John Flannery                            02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761
                 Maria Hawthorne                           02 6270 5478 / 0427 209 753

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Published: 08 Mar 2017