Merrilyn 30, Coburg local
My work makes me so conscious about the risk of disease.
When I was younger, I travelled to Rwanda and Malawi as a volunteer, working in health education. Later I worked in a hospital in Northern Ireland. Seeing health systems in other parts of the world has really made me appreciate our system in Australia.I felt luckier than ever to have Australia’s excellent medical care when I had my two boys, now aged two years, and six months. Getting them fully immunised was always part of the plan. We are so fortunate to have this on offer and to be able to protect our children in this way.
These days, I’m studying again but I have worked in a cancer ward for a number of years. Seeing patients in isolation, separated from their families because of the risk of disease, is heartbreaking. Family members are not even allowed to bring flowers as people die from secondary infections more often than the cancer itself. If these families could do something to stop their loved ones being in this position they would. My work makes me so conscious about the risk of disease. If my boys weren’t immunised, I’d have to keep them home every time they showed signs of illness in case it was something serious and contagious.
I am very involved in a community group which meets once a week. People in this group are all ages including babies, and come from all walks of life. Some are too young to have all their immunisation. I know that there are some people in the wider community who don’t believe in immunisation. I don’t think they realise that they put all of the vulnerable people in a small community like ours at risk.
To me, immunisation is everyone’s responsibility. It’s something we all do as a community to help keep vulnerable people safe and healthy.