Would you like Hepatitis B with that?

Hepatitis B vaccination elicits a unique type of hysteria in the antivaccination community.

The story of the brand new baby born to a hepatitis B positive mum and an Australian Vaccination Network member dad, who was snatched from a large Sydney hospital and hidden from community services and police to avoid the hepatitis B immunoglobulin comes to mind. Thanks to Meryl Dorey this poor couple erroneously believed that aluminium in the hepatitis vaccine would do more damage than the disease itself.

Many of you may remember this story wherein Dorey published gripping accounts of this couple on the run (“it could be you next”), raising money for their welfare via a Fighting Fund. She made $12,000 but the family saw none of it. Their reward was to be left to face a Supreme Court judge alone and find that DOCS, not Auntie Meryl, would keep dad from prison.

There was no point getting their child vaccinated by the time this occurred. Doctors said “the child runs a high risk of contracting it unless he is immunised within days“. What else may have happened to impact on this newborn? Whilst between 1 – 10% of acutely infected adults remain chronically infected carriers of HBV a disproportionate 90% of neonates will remain chronically infected for years after.

Age of infection vs likelihood of becomming a carrier

Thus the vaccine that’s “good for newborn prostitutes and drug users, but who else?” according to some, apparently has a crucial role to play for this one individual, his siblings, other family members, playmates, day care attendees… indeed potentially everyone he comes into prolonged contact with. The mind boggles about pox parties full of the children of rusted on conscientious objectors.

However the big scare pushed about Hepatitis B vaccination is still autism “caused by” thimerosal (thiomersal). Although antivaxxers will find any excuse to blame vaccines, the fact that many still attack thimerosal was picked up by New Scientist in the wake of a recent CDC report:

CLAIMS that autism is caused by vaccines containing thiomersal have been floored by increasing rates of autism in children not exposed to the chemical.

No link has been found between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and a mercury-containing compound known as thiomersal that is used in some vaccines. Nevertheless, since 2000, thiomersal has been phased out of most paediatric vaccines in the US. Now a report published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that, despite this, the prevalence of ASD has continued to grow. […]

“Increases are likely to reflect better awareness of the condition,” says Simon Baron-Cohen , director of the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, UK.

In fact reasons for increased diagnoses are well documented.

  • The actual frequency of autism may have increased, meaning more children have it
  • There is increased case reporting, leading to greater findings, better use of funding and heightened awareness
  • Changes in the DSM-III-R and DSM-IV diagnostic criteria may account for more cases
  • Parents are more conscious of autism, more likely to seek expert help and more cases are being diagnosed as a result
  • Earlier diagnoses have essentially added a new younger demographic to the the existing demographic of children – ie; it spans more years
  • When we examine rising autism figures we find a corresponding drop in other types of mental disability and retardation, meaning they are now within the autism spectrum
  • There is an increase in misdiagnoses of autism which may partly explain the misconception of “autism cures”

Meryl Dorey is a champion for the Hepatitis B vaccine causing autism and even death in the case of health care workers. In fact scarcely had Meryl ripped off the poor family who ran away from hospital than she was scamming her members for more money to save the world from HBV vaccination. Meryl claimed to have heard from nurses “forced” by their cruel work colleagues to have the HBV vaccine. They turned to Dorey for help. She turned to Google for help. She diagnosed Lupus Panniculitis. It was decided Meryl was so awesome that members would give her their Maternity Immunisation Allowance.

Believe it or not about 14 months later in October 2009 another poor Hepatitis B positive expectant mother was “threatened” with the killer vaccine. Meryl alerted her email group. Urgent help needed in Sydney for mother being threatened with DOCS. Meryl relayed the story of the woman being “bullied” and likely to lose her baby. Dorey wrote:

The head midwife at the hospital has told her that if she refuses the Hep B vaccine for her baby, DOCS will be called in and the baby will be vaccinated against her wishes. She will also lose custody of the child and she may not be allowed to leave the hospital.

Her magical word was “offered”. The Hepatitis B Vaccination Policy for NSW does indeed state the vaccine is to be offered. I managed to have a chat and email exchange with the chap at NSW Health responsible for the design, authorship and implementation of vaccination policies for patients and staff. Scarcely wavering on his professional tightrope (smart bloke) he was able to confirm that Dorey’s account was nonsense and that patient consent must be obtained. I was also told the policy was under review and changes were likely.

For the record here’s the two pointy bits of the policy.

  • All pregnant women are to be offered screening for hepatitis B, surface antigen (HBsAg) and should be provided with verbal and written information about hepatitis B and the hepatitis B immunisation program. The health interpreter service is to be used whenever necessary.
  •  Neonates born to HBsAg positive mothers are to be offered, hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) within 12 hours of birth and a total of four doses of hepatitis B vaccine to be administered at birth, two, four and six months of age.

I also spoke to a representative from DOCS who likewise confirmed Dorey’s tale about losing custody was virtually impossible because it was, in effect, hypothetical. About a fortnight later Dorey posted A great victory for informed choice and proceeded to relay how she had actually contacted the Minister for Health (then) Carmel Tebbutt and laid down the law. Part of her account included the false claim that:

The hospital did call DOCS and the mother was greatly concerned that steps were already in place to take her child away – before it had even been born. She was told by the hospital that they were in the process of preparing a court order to make this baby a ward of the state immediately after birth! Imagine how terrifying that would be!

The moral of the story is that Dorey supposedly persuaded the Health Minister to personally intervene in this individual case, based upon her own false account. Amongst urging members to annoy the Minister with thanks, she claimed “the hospital” was rewriting it’s policy as a result of her intervention. Firstly NSW Health provide all policies for all hospitals. Secondly as I noted it was already under review. Thirdly, it still hasn’t been altered since 2005 – 7 years ago.

I wrote to the Health Minister’s office to express my disgust with Dorey’s manipulation of the situation and false claims about the conduct of hospital staff. The reply I received was fairly non committal, referring to the policy in question and reinforcing that patient consent is required. It did not deny Dorey had made the contact she claimed to have. Apparently Dorey had indeed interfered in another child’s health and manufactured a daring tale to spoon feed her members.

The next Living Wisdom newsletter carried the “victory” and a sickening reference to “the rights of our children”.

Interestingly in response to criticism Dorey managed this stunner of a reply, absolutely irrelevant to the case specifics:

Are you aware that the Association of American Physicians and  Surgeons has stated that a child is 100 times more likely to have a reaction to the vaccine than to suffer from Hep B?

Apart from that, there are other ways to clear Hep B from the system including chinese (sic) herbal medicine – there are peer reviewed studies on this. So if the virus itself or its antibodies are suspected of causing problems, vaccination is not the only answer – nor is it necessarily even ONE of the answers since it does not appear to be effective in newborns who can’t seem to develop antibodies for months anyway… It’s all about informed choice and informed choice is always right.

When the person did not reply Dorey accused him of being a “bully” and “a coward”. Either way the below graph shows how the Hep. B vaccine and not “peer reviewed” Chinese herbs have contributed to improved health in low income countries. One of these is China itself (where Dorey suggests HBV is “natural”), which has now begun to turn around it’s liver cancer epidemic.

Amongst the nine or more “vaccines cause autism” themed products in the AVN online shop is the specific When Your Doctor Is Wrong: Hepatitis B Vaccine and Autism. Add to that all the other items which attempt to link vaccines in general to every imaginable ill and the Hepatitis B vaccine has a rather poor time of it. All in all, it’s a disgrace.

On page one of the Australian Vaccination Network‘s new constitution we read:

The purposes of the association are:
(a) the advancement and promotion of education and learning amongst the public about all matters concerning human health and human physical and social well-being;
(b) the propagation, publication, dissemination and diffusion of knowledge and information to the public about all matters concerning human health and human physical and social well-being;
(c) the encouragement and promotion of the widest possible dissemination to the public of all information concerning human health and human physical and social well-being.

It appears that scams, made up stories, misleading information and dangerous advice are the real “purposes of the association”.

The AVN remains a clear and present danger to human well-being.