The great immunisation debate has split families down the middle but a Wagga mother cannot be more clear on her stance.
Alicia and Jamie Cottrell’s miracle baby, Maleah, arrived six weeks earlier than expected on February 15.
Maleah was in foetal distress with a low baseline heart rate and was placed on a breathing machine after birth.
She was rushed to the neonatal unit in Canberra 24 hours later and spent the first three weeks of her life there before spending a week at Calvary Hospital in Wagga before she went home.
Maleah recently had her six week vaccinations and the Cottrells are vigilant about hygiene to prevent their daughter from getting an infection.
She still has problems sucking, swallowing and breathing while feeding and she has to have her heart and lungs monitored.
“If she got whooping cough, her lungs wouldn’t be able to cope with that,” Mrs Cottrell said.
"She is just too little, she can't do anything to help herself.
“I would never want to bring her back to that same condition she was in.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s proposal to make immunisations compulsory for children is fully supported by Mrs Cottrell.
“I think they should be compulsory, keeping in mind that there are some children who can't medically have it," she said.
“But what would help them is other children getting vaccinated to prevent illnesses getting into child care centres.”
The decision to immunise or not has largely been left up to parents, with a small portion of the population refusing to vaccinate their children due to personal, religious or medical reasons.
Mrs Cottrell understands that vaccinations do not prevent infections but rather decreases the chance of contracting them.
Mr Shorten's theory is that compulsory vaccinations will aid to prevent the spread of infections and diseases in child care facilities.
“Before the pregnancy I wouldn’t think anything about it, but why wouldn’t you vaccinate?” Mrs Cottrell said.
"Now, I’d probably think twice if Maleah was to go to care with children who aren't vaccinated.”
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