‘Selfish’ anti-vax post angers mums
A Sydney woman has caused a heated debate online, after complaining she wouldn't be allowed to meet her baby nephew - because she refused to get her flu vaccination.
The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, posted her dilemma on a Sydney mother's Facebook group this week, asking the members if she was being selfish by not vaccinating her family against the flu before meeting her brother's new baby.
The woman told the group she had just received a birth announcement reminder from her sister-in-law.
In it, the expectant mother asked that, with the birth of her daughter imminent, any friends and family wishing to visit the new family to "see your doctor for info about receiving the whooping cough and flu vaccines".
"If you can't or choose not to, that's cool!" the note read.
"Little Miss will be waiting to meet you after her immunisations."
Below the message, in large print, the parent's message could not be clearer - NO VAX NO VISIT.
"Please don't visit if you are sick," it added.
But according to the aunty-to-be, she had decided not to get the flu vaccination, along with her partner and son.
While her family was up-to-date with most vaccinations, they had made the decision not to get the flu jab this season, and she was devastated that she wouldn't be able to meet her brother's child for almost two months.
"I am becoming an aunt for the first time and my son is so eager to meet his new baby cousin," she wrote.
"Now we're being told we can't meet (her) until the six week mark."
SHOULD I TEXT THEM?
The woman continued her story, saying she had always been extremely close with her brother and had noticed his girlfriend "tends to be quite controlling over the decisions they make about the baby".
"I was thinking of texting my brother to say: 'We have chosen not to get the flu vaccines and that's our choice but have had all the others. If you still don't feel comfortable with us being around then we respect that'," she wrote.
One group member accused the woman of being "passive aggressive" by contemplating the text message.
"They were very clear and respectful with their request," they said. "If you still don't want to get the flu shot, you're choosing to wait."
While she understood her sister-in-law was trying to protect her new baby, she said she couldn't understand why she was being so strict about a simple flu vaccination.
"My brother was welcome at the hospital when I had my son and held him and bonded with him," she said.
"I feel like I should have the same experience. I'm absolutely gutted."
The woman's post was topped with a question, asking if she was overreacting or being selfish.
This elicited about 100 comments from people with very strong opinions on the topic.
Most were adamant that a newborn baby's life was not something to be toyed with, but others weren't as bothered.
One member accused the woman of "100 per cent being selfish".
"I completely support your sister-in-law and I think you need to be more understanding that she wants to protect her newborn, and more importantly: keep them alive," they wrote.
"If you really want to meet your niece as soon as they're born, then get the flu shot," another woman wrote.
Others claimed it was "their baby and their choice, just as it's your choice not to get the flu vax.
"You need to respect their wishes. Just because you weren't worried about the flu vax and didn't enforce it for your bub, doesn't mean they have to do the same."
The post comes as Australia is in the grip of a killer influenza outbreak, leaving an unprecedented death toll in its wake - particularly among infants and the elderly.
Considering the rising death toll - especially among young children around Australia in recent weeks - many people could easily understand the expectant woman's wishes.
"The flu is terrible this year and it's the last thing a baby should be exposed to," one person wrote.
At one point during the heated discussion, the Facebook group's administrator was forced to interject with a warning "#typewithkindness".
Several mothers of newborn babies also chimed in, saying they asked the same of their family and friends who planned to visit.
"Sometimes we (new mums) ask 'a bit much' being … terrified that anything could happen, but I would prefer to p*ss someone off, then to unintentionally harm my baby by trying to be nice," one mother wrote.
Another added: "It's their baby they have the right to worry or do the best for their baby."
But other group members appeared to be sympathetic to the woman's plight, claiming the expectant mother's request was "a little over the top".
"Jeeez, this is a little over the top. It's a shame that you're in this situation; I feel for you!" one woman wrote.
Another person said they thought it was "silly to ask for flu shots".
"I asked everyone about whooping cough, but flu shots!? Nahh …" they wrote.
Others advised the poster to "Just let it go".
AUSTRALIA'S 'KILLER' FLU
Australian hospitals are currently overrun with patients, struck down by this season's vicious influenza outbreak, and flu-related deaths are continuing to soar.
State and Territory health departments have been urging Australians to "stay home if you are unwell", to avoid spreading the virus that has claimed the lives of strong, healthy people, as well as the more vulnerable.
A report by news.com.au this week revealed the Australian Medical Association urged members of the public that "it's never too late to get the flu vaccination" and potentially save lives.
According to The Conversation, annual flu jabs are vital to protect our constantly evolving immune systems.
"Rather than childhood jabs giving long lasting immunity, we need annual flu shots to provide optimal protection against influenza," the report said.
Continue the conversation @Rhi_lani or email email@example.com