Erin O’Toole’s vaccine fears are evidence of her narrow-mindedness | Letters

At the weekend (15 and 16 September), the local government minister, Damien O’Connor, told our campaign and anti-vaxxer protest that there was nothing he could do to force him to have her son vaccinated….

Erin O’Toole’s vaccine fears are evidence of her narrow-mindedness | Letters

At the weekend (15 and 16 September), the local government minister, Damien O’Connor, told our campaign and anti-vaxxer protest that there was nothing he could do to force him to have her son vaccinated. Not for us. The minister is there to represent the people of his local government area and he should recognise that when things that are in the child’s best interests come before him, he has a duty to make the decision in the child’s best interests.

Erin O’Toole needs to show leadership in this case, and draw the line on vaccines – for the sake of her children and for the sake of the public good

Parents that don’t want their children vaccinated are entitled to do so; parental rights are sacrosanct. But there is a place for their right to feel safe and their lack of support for a system that is no longer working for them. That place is in the gutter of moral and ethical relativism where there are no boundaries. There are no limits, just a game of what you can and can’t believe in.

The government itself has acknowledged that there is a problem with limited vaccination rates in some areas: the Department of Health, in a report from 2017, admitted there is “relatively low uptake of priority vaccines”.

An infectious disease prevention campaign directed at vaccinating populations is part of the solutions. But addressing why there is a vaccine-phobia is the difference between mitigation and fundamental change. The position Ms O’Toole has taken for three years – that she is not going to vaccinate her children because she is a personal “preferred parent” – undermines her argument to act.

More than 200,000 people have signed our petition calling on her to make a personal statement and draw the line. She should. She is there to represent the people of her local government area, and she should recognise that when things that are in the child’s best interests come before him, he has a duty to make the decision in the child’s best interests. She can do this by appointing a guardian to protect her children’s best interests and allow the will of the father to stand. The best interests of Erin O’Toole, or any healthy child who cannot be vaccinated due to medical issues, are greater than that of her children. It is time for her to show leadership.

Prof Dame Sheila Chase OBE Chair, Local Government Association

Richard Peakes Director of policy, CSP Medicine Action

Nicholas van Hoogstraten Member, House of Lords and son of Peter

Jim Ward Anti-vaxxer whose child suffered from autism

Michael Gove Home secretary

Sir Bobby Robson Doctor, Royal Free Hampstead hospital

Liam Fox Minister for international trade

Leanne Wood Disability, equality and human rights spokesperson

Mark Reckless MSP House of Commons, former Conservative MP

Colin Baker Actor in EastEnders

Michael Petrelis Founder of Nottingham University Medical Research Council, CV founder

Margaret Busby Chair Friends of Public Health

Robin Saunders Chief executive, Institute of Public Health

Clare Melhuish CEO policy and science

Raj Persaud Office of the Public Health Serivces

Linda Woodhead Chief executive, Oxford Children’s Hospital

Astrid Maxwell Followers of Marjorie Wallace

Julian Dennison Yorkshire Mums Network

Mary Rea Director, Voice

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