Update: American Airlines has agreed to not run any AVN material
No Government has the right to say, “You have to put your child’s health at risk because we have made this procedure compulsory”
Meryl Dorey on non-compulsory vaccination for American Airlines in-flight Executive Report
In what seems like the outline of a black comedy with the tagline, At 35,000 feet nobody can tell you’re lying it has emerged that American Airlines will air in-flight material featuring radical anti-vaccination lobbyist, Meryl Dorey.
- Audio here:
This nonsense will air on 58,000 flights between July and August this year and also run in the American Way in-flight magazine. You can play a role in stopping it. Read on or scan to the second last paragraph.
Edit: As of April 22nd the Petition Ask American Airlines to Cancel anti-vaccination message was launched. Access also from the right hand column here.
It may well be a symptom of the desperation to hit American Airlines as bankruptcy looms over it’s parent company, AMR Corp. Striking losses have been a quarterly feature for over a year now and AMR only hours ago reported 1,200 cargo and baggage jobs will be cut to help offset a $1.7 billion loss already this year.
Meryl, who would have all believe she is a “health educator”, kicks off her three and a half minutes of monumental misinformation by claiming vaccination creates antibodies and as such this means one has been exposed to a disease but is not immune. What does she say about those who encounter a wild virus with absolutely no antibodies you ask? Nothing. In short she invokes Meryl’s Equation, which is well known to AVN watchers: < 100% = 0%.
Much like a body surfer, Dorey has been on a free ride following careless media reports on the emergence of new pertussis isolates (“mutated strains”) that are not present in current acellular vaccine preparations. She goes on to claim that “what we’ve found” (I kid you not) is that the acellular vaccine is “bringing a new form of whooping cough to the fore” which is not covered by the vaccine. The serious question here is has whooping cough evolved around the current vaccine?
Subtitling that very question with Reflections on the current scientific evidence is Tom Sidwell. Unlike Meryl, Tom is not married to a macadamia farmer but has a Bachelor of Science, with majors in Immunology and Microbiology, and minors in molecular biology and biochemistry. Last year he received first class honours in Immunology and presently is in the first year of a PhD delving into the development of naturally occurring Regulatory T cells.
Tom writes in his summary:
This review analyses these claims. Careful examination of the current literature indicates that while the bacterium’s genome does appear to have changed in response to pressure from the vaccine, none of these changes appear to give it any significant advantage over the immunity the vaccine induces. Thus, reports that the current vaccine is ineffective are misleading and inaccurate.
The pertussis vaccine provides vital protection and Meryl Dorey knows darn well that whilst only 5% of Australian children between 0-4 years are not fully vaccinated, they make up almost 30% of notifications. Yet again, much like a body surfer, Meryl rides the peak of the wave right to the shallows and is dumped mercilessly onto the hard sand of reality. Rather than admit task difficulty exceeds skill level Dorey manufactures demonstrable fallacies.
“For the first time in decades, we’re seeing babies die”, Dorey lies blaming the vaccine for the “much more deadly disease”, immediately after misrepresenting the totality of reasons behind high notification rates.
Meryl Dorey then continues with breathtaking deceit.
The vaccine is not working and we’re seeing similar situations with measles and mumps and we may see this with more diseases into the future.
Measles? Mumps? Similar situations? How did we get from bacterial infection to viral infection? Is this woman seriously trying to link measles virus outbreaks due to low immunisation rates, to the very recent discovery of altered genomes in Bordetella pertussis bacteria isolates? Or the known cases of vaccine conscientious objectors, infected with viral mumps who then passed it to close contacts who had been partially and fully vaccinated for MMR? Apparently she is.
One can only stress that vaccine induced immunity is not impervious to prolonged assault. In the cases I’m familiar with the vaccinated subjects who contracted mumps were mostly those who had one MMR shot, less so in those who had two and least so in those who had completed the course of three. Of course, it’s axiomatic that had the conscientious objectors (religious communities), been vaccinated there would be no mumps outbreak to speak of. Countless individuals in close contact showed no infection thanks to MMR vaccination.
The other nonsense is close to outrageous for a “health educator”. This is fear mongering at it’s best. Yes, Australia has epidemic levels of pertussis infection moving across the nation. Notifications are higher than ever. Yet diagnostic techniques are more sensitive than ever. The wide spread use of PCR has multiplied confirmed diagnoses many times over as it can detect pertussis infection of much milder levels and for weeks longer than earlier laboratory tests. The skill of clinicians and heightened awareness has led to earlier and more frequent recommendation for testing.
More to the point, rather than suddenly seeing infant fatalities coinciding with rising diagnosis we see fatalities are less than during the 1997 (pre acellular vaccine) epidemic. Hospitalisations are approximately the same. In respect of the claim “For the first time in decades, we’re seeing babies die“, one notes in Australia 16 children under 12 months died from pertussis between 1993 and 2008. In 2001 and 2002 alone, five infants under two months old died from pertussis. American Airlines passengers will be lied to. Period.
With such alarming misinformation it isn’t surprising Dorey continues to argue Andrew Wakefield’s research is valid and that “the only common denominator” to explain what she erroneously assumes is an increase in autism as it was defined a generation ago, is vaccination. Not only is this fallacious but ignores the 217 day hearing into Wakefield’s fraudulent paper.
In Science Betrayed the BBC note that the General Medical Council found:
Andrew Wakefield’s continued lack of insight into his misconduct is so grave that nothing less than erasure from the medical register would do
In an unprecedented move Wakefield’s paper was retracted from The Lancet. It now lingers on the fringes of conspiracy theory from whence come increasingly absurd claims Wakefield has been “vindicated”.
Wakefield was found guilty of four counts of dishonesty, around a dozen counts of causing children to undergo invasive and unnecessary procedures, buying blood from children at a birthday party and ordering tests he was not qualified to order. It has since emerged his scheme was an elaborate plan to make money from immunodiagnostics focusing on the very syndrome he manufactured.
However, according to Dorey, vaccine induced autism is common in the medical literature and Wakefield’s paper is “the study that everybody talks about”. Well, despite it’s retraction it also clearly states “we did not prove an association between measles mumps and rubella and the syndrome described [autistic enterocolitis]”. Perhaps Meryl should talk about that.
Rather she offers:
A lot of people are saying that this journal article has been discredited, but what they’re ignoring is the fact that since this original paper was published there have been many other papers verifying this finding
Again this is utterly false as a quick search will prove. The opposite has been demonstrated over and over. Children not exposed to thimerosal have identical rates of autism to those that were. Children not given MMR following a complete ban on this vaccine as a result of Wakefield’s fraud, showed increased rates of autism. US courts have ruled vaccines are not related to autism. Dorey tried her best last December and came up with nothing but a see-through scam.
Edit (Added 21/04): Reasons for increased diagnoses include:
- 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”
- Application of childhood criteria to novel adult samples yields a diagnostic frequency equal to children (supporting a change in criteria, not incidence)
Indeed, every duck, dodge and weave that anti-vaccination lobbyists have tried has been patiently accommodated and found to not support any link between vaccination and autism. In addition American Airlines get the AVN patented claim of “mandatory vaccination”, which is another fallacy but emotive enough to suspend critical thought and the need for evidence.
In short American Airlines are giving voice to a most malignant force in public health and by doing so run the risk of contributing to ongoing disease outbreak, family tragedy and parental angst. Perhaps “The Australian Vaccination Network” looked safe on paper – an understandable error.
I ask you to join me in making your concerns known to American Airlines by emailing Customer Relations and perhaps contacting the Board of Directors. At the very least Thomas W. Horton Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AMR Corporation/American Airlines, Inc., should be made aware that his company is promoting potentially lethal information to the detriment of Australian, American and European citizens.
P.O. Box 619616
DFW Airport, TX 75261-9616
USA Phone: 817-963-1234
Keep an eye on Twitter via #StopAVN and send your thoughts to @AmericanAir.
16 thoughts on “Surely You Can’t Be Serious: American Airlines to air AVN propaganda”
Horrifying. Have emailed customer relations.
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This is a bit of a worry. The Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) is a dangerous organisation!
The Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), formerly known as the Vaccination Awareness Network, is an Australian anti-vaccination lobby group registered in New South Wales.
I’m working on a blog post & other action items. In the meantime, the Executive Report is produced by this company.
Marc Holland, CEO
Elizabeth M, Executive Producer
Altitude Media, Inc.
4111 West Alameda Avenue, Suite 505
Burbank, CA 91505
I have to say, I’m impressed.Hopefully this wrnniag will follow through to other broadcasters, and give Meryl a big black mark across the board. The less people she has a chance to influence through mis-leading remarks, falsified statistics, and outright, blatant lies, the better.Well done on making an impact. At least she’ll be held at an arm-and-a-half’s length by the ABC from now on. Hat’s off to ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs, and also to you sir.
This is a disturbing development. Abbie Smith, at Skeptics of Oz meeting said: “Not getting vaccinated is a personal decision like driving drunk is a personal decision.” And dammit, American Airlines is a partner with Qantas…
Well, I wont be flying Qantas either.
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maybe you could file a complaint with the disability services people – the health of immuno-compromised people is being ignored by the giving out of this misinformation http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/problems.htm
Completely agree JS.
AA also have a Disability Access division in Customer Relations.
It’s a very real type of discrimination unique to anti-vaccination lobbying and/or assisting to propagate their message.
I was wondering about some of MD’s “facts”, found this:
“Heidi Stevenson The fact is that the pertussis vaccine does NOT protect against the current outbreaks – and is actually the cause of them. The new outbreaks are a new variety of the disease, and it’s more virulent (10 times the death rate) than the one it’s replacing.”
Heidi Stevenson is involved with Gaia Health, one of the bigger pseudoscience websites.
Yes, that sounds pretty feasible. They’ve shared a few fanciful claims before, particularly around Wakefield’s “vindication”.
Gaia does run with some breath taking nonsense, to be sure, to be sure.
And I just checked the petition site. Now up to 911. Pretty good for a Sunday (It’s just after noon on Sunday here in California).
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