American Airlines have announced they will not air or print anti-vaccination material from Meryl Dorey of The Australian Vaccination Network.
This followed a fantastic response to an online petition and no doubt the submission of a number of letters to American Airlines, key partners and other influential individuals and organisations. Thanks to a simply awesome online community. Phil Plait blogged and tweeted bringing hundreds of thousands on board.
Fully aware of the potentially lethal consequences to flow from such egregious material thousands literally took the view: There’s no way this is gunna fly. Twitter ran hot with promotion of the petition at change.org, and tweets to @AmericanAir asking for cancellation.
@AmericanAir tweeted their decision at 07:15 AEST then confirmed the same for printed material about 25 minutes later. Busy preparing emails for the AusAID Development Office and Scholarship Department I was alerted via phone by the ever-vigilant @fourgirlsmum.
Since the American Airlines confirmation-by-twitter, there has been other confirmation in writing to interested parties ensuring that:
… the interview in question has not yet been submitted to American Airlines, and we will not be running it if, and when, it is.
American Airlines has done the right thing in the interests of passenger safety, disability rights and public health. For that they deserve a huge thanks and congratulations.
Of course they can follow up this episode with a review of approval processes and communication with producers and editors of in-flight material. Only a couple of days ago we were informed accessing the material was “optional”. Whilst I accept the announcement by American Airlines that Dorey’s diatribe will be dropped, it should never have made it to production initially.
Only through rigorous vetting of applicants and their proposed material for in-flight access can we be sure that dangerous schemes like this do not in future make it in under the radar – no pun intended.
Once again the scale of error and audacity inherent in Ms. Dorey’s rather extremist and outright dishonest performance can’t be overstated. In my previous post I point out a number of very obviously deceptive tactics made only worse by Ms. Dorey’s inability to understand – or perhaps accept – the science of vaccination.
The attempt to malign measles vaccination by impersonating an authority on vaccines and immunity was alarming. As Phil Plait noted in his reason for signing the petition:
In May 2011, an infant with measles was brought on board American Airlines flight 3965, and a hundred passengers had to be tracked down and many quarantined.
Incredibly Dorey had misled that the pertussis vaccine “isn’t working”, was causing a more deadly disease and that the same applied to measles vaccination. Apart from the official sounding peacock label used by the AVN, Ms. Dorey presented herself as a first person authority, suggesting involvement with extremely complex scientific research.
We know vulnerable children and infants are dying as a result of these diseases. That this could be perpetuated by misplaced trust in a calculating charlatan is intolerable.
Thus I do hope American Airlines will very take very seriously the matter of how the producer of their Executive Report, and further the editor of their American Way magazine both made such a mistake.
There was a similar situation with Delta Air Lines wherein hand washing, exercise and vitamins were presented by US anti-vaccination lobby NVIC as superior to influenza vaccination.
This resulted in the sort of review process American Airlines must now consider. ABC news reported last November:
In a response to the AAP, Delta conceded that the video does not point to vaccines as the primary source for flu prevention.
“Therefore, we have changed our internal review processes and procedures to help ensure that submitted content is vetted differently going forward,” Delta’s general manager of occupational health, Barbara Martin, wrote in response.
In view of ongoing financial losses American Airlines would be making a very sound business decision in providing passengers with the same confidence Delta Air Lines does.
For now, American Airlines is to be praised for taking a stand against a malignant force in public health. If you have a chance, tweet your thanks to @AmericanAir.
To all those involved and interested I extend my sincere, heartfelt thanks.