‘Don’t believe the bullsh-t’: Message to Covid anti-vaxxers

WHEN Robert McClean thinks of anti-vaccine protests, he shakes his head.

"They are sheep," Mr McClean, 74, of Earlville said.

Mr McClean was about six years old when his older brother Michael, and cousin Roger, were both diagnosed with polio in Perth during the early 1950s.

"They had been out chopping wood on a Sunday," Mr McClean said.

"They both became ill and were diagnosed with polio; I remember Michael in an iron lung."

Robert McClean with a photo of his older brother Michael McClean who contracted polio in the 1950s. Picture: Stewart McLean
Robert McClean with a photo of his older brother Michael McClean who contracted polio in the 1950s. Picture: Stewart McLean

Polio was one of the most frightening viral diseases of the last century. It most often affected children and could cause paralysis of limbs and the diaphragm, compromising a patient's ability to breathe.

"There were rows of filled hospital beds, the doctors and nurses were doing what they could, which wasn't much."

Mr McClean was vaccinated when the polio vaccine was developed in 1956, but his cousin died from the disease.

"His lungs couldn't take it," Mr McClean said. "I was lucky enough to get the vaccine - everybody had it."

His brother was forced to wear leg calipers.

Michael McClean, now 81, has undergone hip and knee replacements as his body has suffered the long-term effects of his uneven gait.

"He hasn't been able to climb up to the upstairs bedroom in 20 years," Mr McClean said.

He fumes when he thinks of the recent rallies against the coronavirus vaccine.

"My brother didn't have a choice to get polio," Mr McClean said.

"The COVID vaccination in Australia is non-compulsory; I don't understand why they are protesting.

"People who are taking the vaccine aren't protesting to make them.

"It's not a vaccine that inhibits people's thinking; it's not a mind-control vaccine."

The Millions March Against Mandatory Vaccine earlier this month spread debunked anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, including that the AstraZenica vaccine was made from foetal cells.

Mr McClean said Australia in the 1950s suffered waves of childhood diseases such as whooping cough, diphtheria and measles.

"People's attitudes were completely different," Mr McClean said.

"If you can't trust the chief medical officer of Australia or other countries, are you going to believe the bullsh-t on YouTube?

"I think the protesters are being totally selfish, they are spending all their time on negative energy and not seeing the positives. They are not thinking of other people; they are choosing to say 'screw you Jack, I'm OK'."

Geoff Rowe of Westcourt suffered polio in 1951 and had to learn to walk again.

"Fortunately this disease is now under control because of the discovery of a vaccine," Mr Rowe said.

"I will be lining up for the COVID-19 vaccine."



Originally published as 'Don't believe the bullsh-t': Clear message to COVID-19 anti-vaxxers