MP backs down on anti-vaxxer stance

  • 16/06/2016
MP backs down on anti-vaxxer stance

National Party MP Maureen Pugh has been forced to retract comments she made about supporting parents who choose not to vaccinate their children.

The West Coast MP recently explained her views on healthcare, saying she supports anti-vaxxers even if it puts other people's children at risk.

"They have the right to make their own choices."

While she vaccinated her own kids, she doesn't believe in pharmaceutical drugs and says she's only been to the doctor once in 30 years -- for a medical test so she could renew her truck licence.

Asked if she ever used Panadol, she said: "I just don't need to."

Ms Pugh later sent a statement backing down from her comments, saying she encourages all parents to immunise their children.

While Ms Pugh avoids the doctor, she says she receives chiropractic care every few months as a "preventative" measure, and has it used on her children.

There is ongoing debate over whether chiropractic care actually works, and a recent study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal found more than half of all chiropractors in New Zealand make false claims about what it can treat.

Unvaccinated people heighten the disease risk for children too young to have received their jabs, those with weakened immune systems and people who can't be immunised for medical reasons.

The weakening of herd immunity also allows viruses to spread more easily throughout the population, and increases the risk of new, harder-to-kill strains evolving.