An anti-vaccine lobbyist who contends that children should die from illness to prevent the “genetic deterioration” she believes is being caused by vaccination, made front page headlines today.
Judy Wilyman argues that vaccines contain proteins and poisons that have a “synergistic, latent and cumulative effect” ultimately causing autism, arthritis, anaphylaxis, ADHD, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, asthma, etc, etc. This generation of children is “the unhealthiest yet” whilst no evidence that vaccines prevent disease actually exists – anywhere – she has asserted.
41% of today’s children are “chronically ill” primarily with auto immune and neurological diseases that arise from vaccines, Wilyman claims, suggesting that “good science would be investigating all possible causes of these diseases“. Yet whilst Wilyman is well known for drawing conclusions from remote correlation and blaming conspiracies for the absence of proof, today it was the latter obsession that drew journalistic interest.
So corrupt is the pharmaceutical industry, she has long reasoned, that to support vaccination must involve financial incentives. Any claim that vaccines actually do prevent disease is a simple lie. It would be “a crime against humanity” to provide incentives for immunisation and the media (who have pharmaceutical interests) seek to coerce and educate the public through fear campaigns involving stories about children ill or dying from vaccine preventable disease.
UOW researcher targets grieving parents ran the subheading of the Illawarra Mercury. Wilyman is the student of AVN defender and anti-vaccination supporter Dr. Brian Martin, professor of social sciences at UOW. Beginning with a comprehensive rundown of recently made accusations against parents who had lost their daughter to pertussis, it continued to a double page spread.
The main story by Cydonee Mardon, Grieving parents slam researcher covered what many already know.
Judy Wilyman, a PhD student and former Illawarra high school teacher, questioned whether Toni and David McCaffery had been paid to promote the whooping cough vaccine.
Ms Wilyman said the State Government was using four-week-old Dana’s death and “the mantra of seeing sick babies gasping for air” to push the vaccine.
Dana died of whooping cough, or pertussis, in March 2009. Her parents have since worked with health authorities to raise awareness about the infection and gave permission for their story to be used on a NSW Health Department campaign. […]
[Toni McCaffery said] “Dana is not an anecdote. We do not receive money for warning people about whooping cough. That is the most disgusting allegation.
“The money we received [from] the Australian Skeptics we donated to research to save babies from pertussis. Government has not ‘used us’ to promote vaccines in recent media stories. We agree to such interviews in our own time without any agenda other than to give people the warning we did not receive.”
Mrs McCaffery said Dana’s story appeared in a government brochure because “parents have a right to be warned about whooping cough and given accurate information”.
“We did not get that warning. It is up to parents if they want to vaccinate. It is also up to any parent to go public and speak to media. Do not use us against other families.”
The Mercury contacted Ms Wilyman who has so far declined to comment.
It was also another blow to the public face of the AVN who were correctly reported as hosting Wilyman’s letter to the Australian Human Rights Commissioner in which she also referred to the “mantra” of seeing sick babies gasping for air.
In W.A. in 2010 Wilyman used a 60 year old quote to suggest that infant and childhood mortality is a necessary price to pay in preventing the diseases she believes arise through interaction of genes, the environment and timing. By stopping vaccination which is switching on otherwise dormant disease-causing genes, and allowing vaccine preventable deaths we could improve “the overall health” of children, Judy Wilyman believes.
She informed her audience:
In 2010 it is known that environmental factors can switch genes on, that would otherwise remain dormant. This is called predisposition to disease. Resulting in epidemics of genetic diseases. Things like autism, diabetes and asthma.
I’ve got a quote from Macfarlane Burnet… 60 years ago. Macfarlane Burnet said:
In future years we may have some hard thinking to do. It may be that we will have to realise that mortality in infancy and childhood in the past has been the necessary price that had to be paid to prevent genetic deterioration and that some of our modern successes in preventative and curative medicine, may on the longest view be against the best interests of the state.
In the 21st century it is known that genes and environment and timing interact together in the occurrence of disease. The overall health of children in the 21st century would appear to be supporting Burnet’s prophecy.
Source: W.A. Audio (at 28min, 30sec)
Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet was a Nobel prize winner and Australian of the year born in 1899. A brilliant virologist and immunologist the Burnet Institute in Melbourne is named after him. It is almost beyond belief that in the same talk Wilyman uses influenza as her example of a disease for which the vaccine is more dangerous. Could she possibly know of Burnet’s work in advancing influenza immunisation and how it still influences progress today?
His search for vaccines, particularly for influenza and massive inoculation studies (20,000 subjects) during the second world war, earned him global recognition. Under his guidance progress on polio, pox viruses, herpes, Murray Valley encephalitis and myxomatosis were added to this contribution. Simply put the man was a giant in the progress and necessity of immunisation with vaccines.
This post has no chance of doing Burnet justice other than to highlight Wilyman’s calculated deception in her abuse of research. It is enough that the “mandatory and coercive” monitoring of vaccination status – the “crime against humanity” Wilyman and Dorey ignorantly rail against – owes no small amount to Burnet’s input into keeping records on individual vaccination history.
Also in today’s Mercury is a moving open letter from Toni and David McCaffery. It happens to include reference to the reality of encouraging parents not to vaccinate:
We moved to the Northern Rivers to bring our family up in this pristine environment. However, we did not realise this was a hotbed for contagious and potentially deadly viruses.
Our sweet Dana is the innocent victim of dangerously low levels of awareness and even lower vaccination rates. Instead of her photo winning baby competitions, she is the tragic face of a Whooping Cough (Pertussis) epidemic and sparked a national vaccination debate. […]
Please learn from our past. Vaccination was introduced because there is no medicine to stop these bacteria that killed and maimed thousands of children. Now, these third-world diseases are on the rise again. In NSW it is Whooping Cough. In Queensland it is Measles.
Do you want to live in a country where we are too scared to have friends or family visit our babies or we won’t leave our homes?
As has become a brief tradition of late we might consult the work of Judy’s supervisor Dr. Brian Martin. Dr. Martin accuses opponents of the AVN of launching “attacks”, even inventing his own list of “attack modes”. He writes in the conclusion of When Public Health Debates Become Abusive:
Debates over health-related matters are often extremely bitter. Usually, though, more attention is given to the content — the facts, which position is correct, and policy implications — than to the way a debate is carried out. Yet the methods used are important. Heavy-handed and abusive techniques can discourage participation and distort outcomes, affecting health policies and practices. […]
Science, as a model form of truth-seeking, is based on rational assessment of evidence. Health policy disputes can only partly follow the science model because they also involve differences in values. […]
The question then arises: what can be done to shift debates towards more participatory, respectful modes of engagement? […] The next question is, what should be done about those who engage in personal abuse and who attempt to silence opponents? A first step is to expose and criticise these sorts of methods, especially when used by those on one’s own side
Certainly then, more and more of Dr. Martin’s work can be seen as applying not to those who raise dissent about the privileged status of the AVN, but to members of the antivaccination movement itself.
The University of Wollongong did respond, striving to distance itself from Ms. Wilyman. I have no issue with their general position although I would hope immediate steps have been taken about Wilyman signing the letter to the AHRC as PhD Candidate. This of course is not the only example of egregious conduct on Wilyman’s part bolstered by her affiliation with UOW. From The Mercury:
The UOW issued a statement distancing itself from Ms Wilyman’s comments.
“Articles and associated comments published by Judy Wilyman on the internet, on vaccination issues, are her own personal views and not those of the university,” the statement said.
The larger problem includes the academic succor given to the evidence denial on her part, the extensive involvement of Dr. Martin that raises a clear conflict of interest and the ethical and moral obligation that UOW has to public health. To support and legitimise antivaccination propaganda is not a reflection of academic integrity. To continue to label Wilyman a “researcher” is absurd. She is a reviewer, admitting to “scouring peer reviewed research for ten years”, simply twisting selected material to her own aims.
As with parents who claim to have “researched” the science of vaccination and decide to deny vaccination, questions must be asked about evaluation. Exactly how does one conclude vaccination is entirely dangerous or that it is responsible to deny ones children protection if they have actually engaged in “research” as we understand the term?
What if Wilyman been informed by the university that claims of vaccine induced diseases have been utterly debunked? That if she wants to persist arguing that aluminium adjuvants and ethyl-mercury are causing autism and asthma she must produce compelling evidence? Where would she be today? Clearly still blaming conspiracies for the lack of that evidence but not under the banner of “PhD researcher at the University of Wollongong”. This lends false credence to misinformation and the university must take it’s responsibility to academic truth as absolutely paramount.
Finally we get more Meryl Dorey channeling Brian Martin these days. The main article notes:
AVN president Meryl Dorey said the McCafferys had chosen to go public and had to expect comments from both sides of the debate. “If one side has the right to say something and the other doesn’t, then we are not a democratic society,” she said.
Let’s check that. “Something to say” can include just about anything. For someone who labels her critics as fascists, pond scum and communists with a vendetta Ms. Dorey seems to hold a strange view of both “commentary” and democracy.
Yet again this looking glass model of dissent and attack can be clearly identified.