Vaccination saved us from…what, exactly?

So goes one heading over at the No Compulsory Vaccination blog, leading to a screed of disturbingly accusatory silliness borne of the confidence from one graph.

Dr Raymond Obomsawin is one of the few to knock up a bogus graph that cites decreasing incidence of measles infection rather than the boring old general mortality we’ve come to expect from antivaxxers. The obvious conclusion of course is that lethal viruses were being tamed by clean water, less wandering poo and yummy food.

Robert Webb succinctly explains where the problems lie here and also points to a further mincing of Obomsawin by David Gorski at Science Based Medicine. I quite like Gorski’s sub-heading. Intellectual dishonesty at it’s most naked.

What surprises me still however, is just how many angles these purveyors of fiction will try. As I touched on in some satire recently, Meryl Dorey’s hilarious poker face revelation on Radio 3CR whilst chatting (or rather, lying) to Helen Lobato pre Woodford was a beauty.

A lot of the credit that’s been given to vaccines for the decline in deaths and infectious diseases has nothing to do with vaccines. Because it all happened before the shots were introduced. Engineers did more to improve the health of Australians than doctors ever have.

Whilst antivaxxers have been a little more vocal of late, they seem to have really only dug their hole deeper. If not attacking those who ask questions of them, engaging in a bit of fraud or libel, it seems to be silliness as usual. Judy Wilyman is a splendid offender with this myth, claiming there is “no historical evidence” for the success of any vaccine schedule. Her trick is to use mortality rates. Usually Judy just plonks up infant fatality rates from 1900 onwards and uses the rapid decline up till 1950 to mount her case.

Let’s ignore what two World Wars did to the birth rate and consequently infant fatalities in English speaking nations over that period, and just focus on the absurdity of mortality alone. There’s no doubt improvements in sanitation, hygiene and quality of food improved our health vastly. But did it also impact on viral behaviour and immunity as is being suggested?

Bogey sites such as Child Health Safety with Vaccines Did Not Save Us – 2 centuries of official statistics excel in exploiting this myth of “mortality = disease”. As amusing as such nonsense may be, it shows the lengths some go to in protecting the vaccine-autism myth. That blog provides graph after graph of fatalities which are virtually irrelevant to disease incidence. It is only once vaccines enter the timeline do we see disease incidence almost vanish.

To me, a drop in mortality coinciding with a healthier population indicates improved rate of recovery from illness. It doesn’t say much about infection other than to hint at better general immunity that comes with better health. But better immunity is not specific immunity, and this is what antivaxxers are really claiming – even if they don’t realise it.

More so, this claim would also demand rising herd immunity before widespread vaccination programmes, on a trajectory that would have matched the herd immunity achieved by mass vaccination. Acceptance of the value of herd immunity refutes the claim infection control arose from better living. That’s one reason antivaxxers deny it. Strangely, there is silence about success of the Hib vaccine, which they should be able to explain.

Being the lovers of science they claim to be, Hib has falsified the claim of improved living standards, not vaccination, controlling certain diseases. In time, perhaps shortly, we may see this repeated with a hepatitis C vaccine and I predict the antivaxxers will have just as little to say by way of explanation of their “theory”.

Yet ultimately it is antivaxxers themselves who debunk this nonsensical myth. If improved living standards controlled or wiped out vaccine preventable diseases then how do we explain this present resurgence on the back of low immunisation rates? Surely living standards haven’t dropped, anymore than they improved over the 12 years from 1993 in which Hib vaccination demonstrated it’s efficacy. Added to this is the bizarre belief that children are meant to catch these diseases. Which by the way we’re told, are harmless, even “marvellous”, in the case of returning measles.

Simply put, if improved living standards can suppress these diseases we should see them eliminated, not returning. Nor does the rise of chiropractic, homeoprophylactic, herbal and other “immune boosting” hanky panky make real sense. All of this exposes the fact that it is herd immunity sustained by vaccination that largely protects those who refuse vaccination. That’s another reason to deny the value of herd immunity.

As the lie becomes harder to sustain new myths are fabricated. The pertussis vaccine has caused the outbreak. Vaccination causes the disease it is meant to prevent. “Vaccine shedding” places the unvaccinated at risk. Viruses are intentionally released into the community. Vaccination causes immune dysfunction leading to later infection. Vaccination doesn’t provide proper immunity.

It would seem it is approaching the End Game in more ways than one for this myth. It isn’t hard to answer Ms. Dorey’s question.

Vaccination saved us from the returning diseases children are not being vaccinated against.

Vaccination And Improved Living Standards

Vaccination conspiracies in blind hyper-drive

A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.
John F Kennedy Meryl W Dorey

Well, New Yorker Meryl W. Dorey has seized it recently and displayed it on her antivaccination Facebook page out of context. So she may have this brief credit. It’s a standard of conspiracy theorists as a visit to Google will confirm. It has of course nothing to do with government secrecy over the public as Dorey seems to have assumed. As with a huge number of Kennedy’s speeches he is alluding to his full term foe – communism – as the reference to free examination of “an open market” suggests.

Kennedy has easily become the US President to be most quoted out of context. Speeches sliced up and overlaid to conspiracy clips, heading up cooky websites or as here, just thrown out amongst fetid posts and paranoid misinformation without another word. No explanation is needed for the (as we’re so often told) “more highly educated” vaccine deniers. Vaccines to them are proof of government cover ups and the malignancy of faceless agents across the world. They squeeze it into the Orwellian nightmare of fluoride drugging, chemtrail poisoning and hidden cancer cures. If Roxon’s incentive to immunise has shown us one thing, it’s that their grab bag of conspiracies was at the ready.

One speech conspiracy quacks love to shred is one of my favourite Kennedy deliveries. Address 153 The President and the press [Audio here]. It’s brilliant stuff, and rightly so. Kennedy’s task that night was to celebrate freedom of the press in a democracy to an audience not short on critical representatives of the press. To respect their role in holding government to account. To place their independence above the duration and mechanics of government. To support and accept media scrutiny. To speak of shared responsibilities. Yet most importantly to impart the knowledge of the huge responsibility this freedom brought to the press during the Cold War.

He pointed out enemy agents had boasted of accessing information usually obtained through bribes or espionage (such as satellite technology) and, “that details of this nation’s covert preparations to counter the enemy’s covert operations have been available to every newspaper reader, friend and foe alike”.

He needed a change in publisher outlook. He points to newspaper patriotism and loyalty. Their understanding of sacrifices that civilians are willing to bear. But he would be failing his duty to not bring to attention the inherent quandary of a free press watched by an enemy and the need of patriotic, self sacrificing newspaper publishers to weigh present dangers.

Kennedy notes Francis Bacon spoke of three inventions that changed the world. The compass, gunpowder and the printing press. His final paragraph is:

And so it is to the printing press–to the recorder of man’s deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news–that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent.

Now let’s visit the mind of the Meryl Doreys of this world. Who claim as she did once that we’re controlled by “a sinister cabal of interbreeding criminal families”. The Illuminati pop up when it suits her also. These secret societies are so powerful it is beyond comprehension. Human beings are controlled like cattle – sheeple. These faceless people control governments, information and wealth keeping us sickly, poor, ignorant, in need. They run the media. Decide what we watch on TV. They seek to cull the human population. Vaccines are a means to do everything from forcing us to comply to being sheeple to injecting microchips at birth that will scan and monitor humans. We are in effect Guinea Pigs.

Imagine you’ve been fed this and more. Shown so-called proof. Imagine you almost believe it. You watch a “documentary”. Scenes of wars and human misery slowly numb your critical faculties. A sprinkling of facts. Yes, BMW did profit from war. Dick Cheney did privately profit from supplying troops in Iraq. Newspaper identities have run campaigns to shape the outcome of elections. A mushroom cloud appears for no apparent reason. But you get the meaning. Evil. The world is evil.

Images of corporations, drug companies and the seats of government. Then the words below begin to play as a background soundtrack. Half way through an new scene appears. An open topped car we know well. A smiling man in his prime. A boulevard in Dallas. An exploding head. An assassination. The words are Kennedys from his address to the press and refer to communism. But you aren’t told this.

The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings.

And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning…  Our way of life is under attack. The survival of our friends is in danger.

For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence–on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice… its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed.

… I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.

… that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent.

The meaning is unmistakable. Kennedy was onto The Illuminati and the faceless ones. The repugnant secret societies. This “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy”. With Kennedy relying on honesty and our help humans would realise their destiny and become “free and independent”. So, they killed him. You’ve never heard of this because as Kennedy said, the conspiracy “relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence… its preparations are concealed, not published. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised”.

Of course it’s an oldie but a goodie. A standard for New World Order conspiracies. It surfaces in one form or another time and again. In understanding the rank falsehoods and intractable devotion of anti-vaccine conspirators we can learn a lot from the above. The power of the free press can be gleaned from the fact Kennedy had to ask for acquiescence to considering a change in tactics as a matter of national security. To think people today argue that the media are agents in a malignant scheme of vaccination doing the bidding of governments and pharmaceutical companies is patent absurdity.

Yet we’ve had plenty of it this last week or so with the AVN getting airplay for their falsehoods and fears. Dorey has cried foul that the government and media are not leading with advice to conscientious objectors. She lied on air and online so hard about pertussis vaccination it’s hard to not imagine some infants being struck down as a direct result. Government coercion and government cover ups were her messages. Conspiracy! Her flying monkeys attacked and harassed any journalist who defended vaccination.

When the Fluvax debacle hit W.A. supporters of conventional medicine were horrified at the event then outraged at the contributing factors. Conversely a satisfied glow emerged from the antivaccination lobby. Yet the most vocal critics of drug company power and TGA apathy are medical professionals. Perhaps the most successful in Australia is also a regular at skeptic gatherings.

When Natasha Bita won a Walkley for her coverage of CSL’s poor manufacturing standards and shortfalls in the TGA Dorey posted on her Facebook page:

Natasha Bita wins the Walkley Award for her coverage of the Australian flu vaccine scandal! Times are changing!

Again the message is unmistakable. Journalists don’t normally report on vaccine or regulator problems. This is an aberration or signs of turning a corner. At the same time Dorey and fellow conspiracy theorist Judy Wilyman were accusing the media of being beholden to their drug company commissions and reporting biased messages on Roxon’s Immunisation Incentive. One Facebook member wonders how much “underground” work Bita did and “perhaps risking her safety at times”. She would have worked alone, “…where one person like this can feel insane and give up the fight for truth”.

Truth? Insanity? Glad he mentioned those points. At the time Virus in the system was written Meryl Dorey published an “Action Alert!” on Facebook, Yahoo! and Twitter. It contained the bald faced lie that supporters of vaccines were “mobilising” to attack Natasha Bita for simply reporting the facts. In Dorey’s twisted conspiracy world that would be routine. When journalists report facts supporting vaccination or about the effects of not vaccinating, Dorey attacks. Anger, vicious language, persecution and vitriol to put it mildly. The “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” she believes in is all powerful. There can be no discussion.

But vaccine supporters did nothing. Dorey, claiming to be oppressed, suppressed and maligned, had no mud to throw. Using reverse psychology she posted these false warnings, urging her fellow devotees to bombard Natasha with praise. Apparently vaccine supporters and skeptics did NOT want the media covering this from a freedom of choice point of view. Freedom of choice? I mean… I don’t even…

There are few better examples of a conspiracy theorist caught red handed exploiting their own members than this. Sure it doesn’t have sliced up Kennedy quotes as a voice-over but the concept is the same. Serve it to the paranoid mind and it will stick.

Meryl Dorey’s Fake Yahoo! Twitter and Facebook Action Alert!

Click, read, be amazed

There can be no doubt Natasha Bita produced some great journalism. She exposed inexcusable apathy on the part of the TGA which is only made worse by Dr. Rohan Hammett’s defensive position at a Senate estimates hearing. She highlighted wasted money, government obstruction and ran a front page story on a youth who developed polio-like symptoms from oral polio vaccine. CSL’s failure to supervise Good Manufacturing Practice and their thumb twiddling until FDA representatives arrived to ultimately threaten revocation or suspension of their licence was galling. TGA attempts to cast this as almost routine were laughable. Complications such as polio like symptoms from OPV are rare yet well known and rightly deserve compensation. It made for great reading because most Aussies do not follow vaccination intricacies and would find this almost incomprehensible.

Although she now occupies a shrine for antivaccination devotees Natasha Bita confirmed nothing of their beliefs nor conspiracies. She did not find sanitation, not vaccination, reduced disease. She did not uncover any link to hidden deaths, diseases, disabilities or the big one – autism. Her entire story grew from the widely known fact one child suffered permanent injury and a nine times higher febrile convulsion rate followed administration of Fluvax to under five year olds. Anaphylaxis? Not a single case. Pertussis vaccination doesn’t work and this has been demonstrated around the world, as Dorey told ABC? No.

Mercury – not ethyl mercury is in vaccines? No. Aluminium and formadehyde poisoning children? No. Human cells floating around? No. Aborted fetal cells? No. A trail of untested vaccines? No. Secret monolithic societies? Hidden cancer cures? Proof of immune suppression? Proof vaccines do not work? Proof they all make people sick? Proof they are the cause of all allergies and the so-called “sickest generation in history”? No. In short, you think of a vaccine conspiracy and Natasha did not find it.

There were four failures and one deficiency at CSL specific to one influenza vaccine uncovered by the arch nemesis of vaccine deniers, the FDA. Hence problems with what is broadly known as Good Manufacturing Practice. Natasha Bita actually “uncovered” nothing here – the letter is publically available on the FDA website. This was crucial to her story and her publication of it’s import was swift and to the point. I probably couldn’t agree more with the sentiments she raised on this issue. But to hear the antivaccination crowd you’d think Bita broke into CSL Mission Impossible style. That she downloaded crucial top secret files before abseiling out a window clad in black leathers to her waiting Ferrari. She just escaped the black helicopters touting blazing machine guns with her uncanny driving skill, quietly slipping into work without a hair out of place.

Even reporting on Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation members Professor Terry Nolan and Peter Richmond of the National Health and Research Council having honoraria and advisory board ties to CSL, took a phone call to the Health Department. That they were involved in drug company sponsored trials and worked as investigators on CSL’s child H1N1 trials may be because they are, to quote Bita, “eminent researchers”. All conflicts of interest are declared and taken into consideration.

Yet to the devotees this is Big Pharma proof. Who would they suggest? Viera Scheibner? Judy Wilyman? Peter Dingle? Fran Sheffield? Simon Floreani, Isaac Golden or Nimrod Weiner? Let’s face it. Like any life long discipline the top jobs attract the top people. There is going to be overlap and to suggest this always leads to malignant outcomes and the control of “sheeple” says more about the true believers than intricacies of research institutions and business boardrooms. As fate would have it, others are well aware of this. Regulation is the key. Which is why regulators, their income source and their powers are absolutely crucial in the current environment.

Which brings me to another Facebook member who links to Natasha Bita’s article AMA urges watch on vaccines, writing, “and she’s continuing to stand up to them”. Stand up to who? This is a statement from the president of the Australian Medical Association, Dr. Steve Hambleton. Isn’t he pretty much “them” in a nutshell? He’s easily one of “them” and is echoing the concerns of medical supporters in that public trust has been damaged by the Fluvax issue. He is acutely aware of the spread of misinformation into vacuums that could be better filled by facts or dynamics that are conspiracy resistant. Dorey’s paranoid member fits the quintessential conspiracy profile of spotting one or two words and reacting like a programmed machine.

The article includes what is in effect the Last Post for yet another vaccine myth. That GP’s are in on the conspiracy:

DOCTORS demanded more monitoring of vaccine side-effects yesterday after the federal government announced penalties for families who fail to immunise their children.

Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said the government must introduce “active surveillance” to monitor side effects instead of relying on doctors and patients to report problems through “passive surveillance”.

For a vaccine, you are taking healthy people and trying to keep them healthy so surveillance of the side effects is doubly important,” Dr Hambleton said.

“We need to maintain confidence in the program. We can’t just say to people, ‘Don’t worry, it’s safe'” [….]

Dr Hambleton said doctors strongly supported immunisation to protect children against life-threatening illness.

But he called for taxpayer funding of Australia’s medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which is entirely funded by user-pays charges on the pharmaceutical industry.

He said the TGA needed to work “better and quicker” to ensure prescribing advice to doctors always included the most up-to-date data on clinical trials and side effects.

“We have to make sure regulators do their job,” Dr Hambleton said. “We do rely on the TGA for good quality, independent advice.

“Everything the TGA does is in the public interest so it should be publicly funded to do the extra work and notify the public of any changes that do come up. If it can’t do what it needs to do, we need to ask why.” […]

Vaccination protects against “life-threatening illness” and we need to maintain public confidence. It’s a smart move. Roxon’s method will only do so much to arrest falling vaccination rates. It will also do plenty to give conspiracy theorists “sheeple” leverage. Giving the anti-vaccine mob less and less to seize upon and fill with conspiracy twaddle is essential.

For Dorey and her ilk there may never be any hope. People must escape these belief systems much as one escapes a cult. They can’t be forced to change and in the main need help. Consider the person who introduced the above story. “[Natasha Bita’s] continuing to stand up to them”. Yet the story is not novel journalism but a mere AMA report. It supports immunisation as effective, promotes the TGA as acting in the public interest and shows doctors wanting better and faster information so they can continue to immunise without concerns.

Yet all these idiots (and I mean that nicely) on Facebook, including Dorey do not respond or correct or even comment. It’s just a dumping ground for quackery related to Natasha Bita’s Walkley, and that means victory over vaccines. Standing up to the monolithic and ruthless conspiracy. If Dorey did her homework she’d know the piece also contains an aim of her hated foes “the skeptics”. That being independent funding of the TGA. And I’m happy to admit that will help expose the fraud and inefficacy attached to the alternatives to medicine that the antivaccination lobby so often profit from.

The quote from Kennedy used by Dorey, above, is actually prefaced by, “We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values”. Strangely enough, most untruths and distorted claims used by vaccine deniers exist because they have accessed such facts, ideas, philosophies and values. The abuse of package inserts is perhaps the golden example of what conspiracy theorists do with facts about vaccines. They craft fiction and spread it far and wide.

The truth is vaccine deniers cannot be entrusted with facts. Now, in possession of Natasha Bita’s facts and information followed by Roxon’s incentive, they have hit hyper-drive. Saba Button has been exploited by those who would see a nation of sick children. They don’t see good journalism dealing with the dynamics of a public health debacle. They see “us and them”. Whatever problems ultimately lay at the feet of the Fluvax scenario, none will question the efficacy of vaccination as a public health measure.

None will challenge the horror of what vaccine preventable diseases can do. None will justify the rise of vaccine preventable disease and the deaths of babies from flu and pertussis. Nothing will ever emerge to support the claims of the antivaccination lobby and their alternatives to vaccines. Nothing they do will ever make Dorey’s lies on ABC or the misrepresentation of Natasha Bita’s work factual. Yet to win support, they don’t have to. All they need for their conspiracy to bloom is a seed of doubt.

Which reminds me again of Kennedy, speaking to the press in 1961:

But I do ask every publisher, every editor, and every newsman in the nation to reexamine his own standards, and to recognize the nature of our country’s peril. […]

But I am asking the members of the newspaper profession and the industry in this country to reexamine their own responsibilities, to consider the degree and the nature of the present danger, and to heed the duty of self-restraint which that danger imposes upon us all.

Given recent advantage taken of Bita’s work and ABC air time those words resonate rather strongly here today.

With friends like these… Meryl Dorey’s exploitation of Saba Button

Over the past few months I’ve come to accept that there is one Australian absolutely delighted with the fact that (then) 12 month old Saba Button suffered organ and brain damage following febrile convulsions brought on by Fluvax.

Meryl Dorey of the AVN has enveloped herself in the tragedy of the Button family, declaring long and loud she is their unofficial antivaccination representative. She claims to have twice met with them and had been, “in contact by both telephone and email many times over the intervening period…”. Finally, after 18 years of fabrication, untraceable images, offensive claims and being a danger to public health the woman who likens vaccination to “rape with full penetration” has landed her fish.

She writes in a conspiracy piece on her blog:

I can also tell you that this reaction was entirely preventable because neither they nor any other parent who gave permission for their precious child to be vaccinated in this campaign was informed that their babies were being used as guinea pigs in a trial that was paid for by the drug companies involved. Neither were they aware that those payments going to people who ostensibly worked for the government (both state and federal) and who were considered to be – but actually were not – independent.

All of this is a complete fabrication. No trials are conducted surreptitiously. Ethics requirements aside exactly what data could those conducting Meryl’s pretend trial hope to collate? By who, how and when would subjects be monitored, what tests would be carried out and for how long? Indeed Dorey is suggesting this “trial” was simply a stab in the dark to see what happened. No such trial took place and thus was not paid for by drug companies. Worse, this is knowingly exploitative of the Button family and reduces their personal tragedy and grief to yet another of the thousands of tactics Meryl Dorey has used to mislead Australians.

Morally it is no different to her claim yesterday that infants who die in a co-sleeping arrangement are likely vaccine induced fatalities. Why? Because GP’s point out the danger of this arrangement, so it must be an abuse of “natural instinct” and thus a conspiracy is in order. Or her ACTION ALERT! announcement that supporters of vaccines were mobilising to harass the author of Virus in the system – an article that recounted Saba’s experience.

CSL does carry out yearly trials following strict protocols on an informed, compliant sample, the results of which are published in peer reviewed literature. This is mentioned below. Yet I’m not here to make excuses for CSL whose conduct surrounding Fluvax, their economic handling of certain legitimate trial results and adherence to Good Manufacturing Practice leaves a great deal to be desired. Nor am I by any stretch of the imagination a fan of Dr. Rohan Hammett, head of Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration. One cannot however make conclusions without evidence. Unless of course, one fabricates.

As an update, one commenter below has pointed out there was a trial to gauge the epidemiological impact of the present schedule, in response to infant fatalities from influenza the year before.  I’m perhaps duty bound to note that infant fatality from flu was mentioned by Judy Wilyman at the AVN’s first Perth trip on June 30th 2010 at the State Library, W.A. Judy informed the audience that the media report such fatalities as scare campaigns to “coerce us into vaccination”. This is because, “We’re being educated by the media who have pharmaceutical interests”. I should also point out that W.A. was the only state to use seasonal influenza and H1N1 together for children under five, which can be regarded as novel and thus raise concerns about earlier trials, particularly on sample size. Yet there were no guinea pigs, or state sanctioned, profit driven guesswork.

Regarding “those payments going to people who ostensibly worked for the government…”, that too is fallacious. TGA national manager Dr Rohan Hammett was before a Senate estimates committee on October 19th, being quizzed over the very nature of Fluvax, CSL, trial results, the febrile convulsions in W.A. and payments from drug companies.

Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, quizzes Dr. Hammett beginning with justified concerns that the TGA knew of high fevers in 2009. Yet more disturbing is that 2005 trial data yielded fever rates of 22.5%. The 2006 fever rates were 39.5%. Despite this, CSL advised the TGA in 2009 of the 2005 figure [pp.42-43]:

Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Are you demanding an explanation? You should be.
Dr Hammett: We are. We have written to CSL.
Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: It emerged that the company knew two years ago about research suggesting a sharp rise in feeders linked to its seasonal flu vaccine but omitted this from information given to doctors. We have canvassed this in these estimates. My question is: when did you and when did the government first know about this? Is this the first you have heard of it? That is really what I would like to know.
Dr Hammett: No, it is not, Senator. In 2009 a study was published which related to clinical trials undertaken in 2005 and 2006. That study was published in peer-reviewed scientific literature. We were advised by CSL of its publication at about the same time as it was actually published. You will recall that that in the years before the Fluvax incident with febrile convulsions—and, indeed, for the last four decades—seasonal flu vaccine has been regarded as an incredibly safe vaccine. In 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005 there was no suggestion of safety problems with the flu vaccine.
In retrospect, knowing now what we know in 2010, that there was a problem with the 2010 vaccine, people are going back through clinical trials and saying, ‘With the aid of the ‘retrospector scope’, could we have picked anything?’ Indeed, in those earlier clinical trials there were rates of fever for the Fluvax vaccine that were higher than some other comparable vaccines. However, as noted in yesterday’s article, most of those fevers were mild or moderate and there was no sign of a febrile convulsion signal. Febrile convulsions were not occurring in those studies that were done.
As I have said, we have written to CSL and made inquiries as to whether there was any delay in notification of us of these issues and have sought to gain a greater understanding of what they knew when. We have not yet received a response, but we are awaiting that.
Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Can I ask you to take on notice how much money has been paid to CSL? It is an enormous amount of money that you pay them. You obviously must have a very close relationship with CSL—and I mean that simply because of the nature of the work that they do and how much they provide in terms of products to the Commonwealth. Surely, Dr Hammett, you must have been aware of what this company was doing and certainly known about its research in relation to these fevers.
Ms Halton: Let’s just back up a second. There are a couple of things. Dr Hammett is the regulator. He does not pay the CSL anything. He has a very clear role, which is as a regulator. He takes that role very responsibly and very seriously. There is a separate part of the government which purchases vaccine, including from CSL. So I think we need to make a distinction here about who is paying what for whom and what the nature of the relationship is, because I do think it is—
Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: I am happy for that to happen, Ms Halton, but the point that I am getting to is, given the close relationship—whether it is on the side of the purchasing arm or on the side of the TGA—this is a serious issue. Two years ago, at a period much earlier than has been previously canvassed in these estimates, there was an issue about fever. My question is: when did the government first become aware of this?

Senator Nick Xenophon later cuts to the chase addressing Hammett [p.44]:

Because time is so limited, I will put some questions on notice for you. First, can you provide details of when the TGA first became aware of the peer-reviewed article? Second, at what point was action taken? Third, did the TGA embark on other inquiries as a result of that peer-reviewed article? Fourth, do you agree with Professor Peter Collignon’s view? It is:
The TGA should be ensuring companies do update their data—it should be compulsory that the TGA should be informed of any new information, and the TGA should ensure the product information is updated to reflect that.

What really stinks coming from CSL is that the 2010 product information did not include the already documented 2009 higher fever rates. It is true these fevers are usually mild to moderate and of short duration – a factor which influenced the TGA to take no action.

It is here – and only here – that Meryl Dorey is more than welcome to raise concerns and recount poor practice or lack of insight and follow up on the part of either CSL or the TGA. However perhaps the greatest damage done by CSL is to public confidence in the safety of influenza vaccination, particularly for at risk children.

So what of actual febrile convulsion? Dorey variously claims hundreds of hospitalisations or hundreds of cases. The ABC reported “hundreds of reactions” on April 18th, 2010 with 47 taken to hospital reported on April 23. The West Australian on the same day reports 23 admissions. This led to the suspension nationwide by Commonwealth chief health officer Professor Jim Bishop.

Fluvax was given to W.A. babies resulting in a seizure rate of 3.3 per 1000. On this point MJA Insight write:

This rate of febrile convulsions [noted in 2006 trial data] (1 per 272) is similar to the estimate for the 2010 season (3.3 per 1000) which led to the unprecedented decision by Australia’s chief medical officer to suspend the use of paediatric flu vaccines.

A TGA spokeswoman told MJA InSight that a single adverse reaction report within a clinical study was not usually regarded as an adequate signal of a major safety problem. Lead author of the clinical study, Professor Terry Nolan, also told MJA InSight that the small sample size of the study meant the rates of febrile convulsions were not comparable with those seen in the community in 2010.

“We did a clinical study. It was published in a peer-reviewed journal. The serious adverse events were notified to the sponsor [CSL]”, said Professor Nolan, who is also head of the school of population health at Melbourne University.

It is not Professor Nolan’s role to inform the TGA. Nor do other members of the ATAGI receive special bonuses or payments from drug companies to influence perception of vaccines. Nevertheless Dorey manufactured a letter from a supposed “whistleblower”. A sordid tale about another W.A. based ATAGI member being handsomely rewarded by evil drug companies led her to wind up her article with:

In fact, we are told that all of our medical advisors must be paid by the drug companies because it seems to be impossible to find qualified people who haven’t been tainted by drug company cash.

This is why the AVN says that we can’t trust our government when it comes to their assessment of the safety or effectiveness of drugs and vaccines. There is a holy trinity comprised of the government, the drug companies and the doctors. This triad is protected by self-regulation (via the TGA which is completely funded by pharmaceutical licensing fees) and a complicit media which is beholden to drug company advertising.

Sounds conspiratorial? Well I’m sorry, but these are the facts.

No Meryl, that is simply fantastic conspiracy twaddle wasting good space on your blog when the real facts are far more convincing and indeed far more concerning.

But Meryl wasn’t finished with that simple post-W.A. trip tantrum, presumably to let off steam after her enormous W.A. tour flop. Last Wednesday November 16th she posted:

We read fiction:

I personally know of one 70 year old woman and a 19 year old man who were hospitalised within hours of getting the shot and who died within 7 and 2 days of that (respectively) Those deaths were never reported as being related to the vaccine.

More accusations are made about the TGA “knowing” and the CDC not buying Fluvax for this reason. No sources are cited. Then most offensively:

I will check and see how donations can be made to Saba’s fund. I know there is one that was set up for her when she was first injured. Her parents could not possibly be taking care of her in this way if it weren’t for that fund. Here’s hoping that compensation will be swift and generous for this poor victim of vaccines.

So far there is no word and I imagine no feedback will be forthcoming. In all the press surrounding Saba Button Meryl Dorey and the AVN is totally absent. Dorey has never breathed a word of the lawyer acting for the Buttons. History shows exactly what will happen to any money she would have gleefully collected and pocketed before the OLGR revoked her charitable fund raising licence for exactly that reason. Members of Stop the AVN can be proud they have this time stopped her stealing money from another family in need.

Those familiar with Dorey know if this was a death from a vaccine preventable disease her accusations would be of earlier vaccines – especially HBV leading to the death, possible antibiotic induced fatality, a lack of breast feeding or a simple media fabrication designed to scare people into vaccinating. Without sighting the medical records Dorey might well deny any disease at all. “You didn’t die from [measles or whooping cough] thirty years ago and you’re not going to die from it today”, she announced on national TV. All that’s needed is homeopathy, fresh air and clean water. Avoid doctors and hospitals.

Let’s face it. Dorey cares little for children, vaccine injured or maimed by the diseases she has helped bring back to dangerous levels. On either side they are tools to help her to offend, mislead and to cultivate fear. Snaring an innocent family with a very rational view of the world in her web of deceit can only be a negative for them. There are ample facts that assist their case. Facts Dorey is largely ignorant of. I fail utterly to see how lies and conspiracy theories manufactured by a proven threat to public health can be welcome.

Saba Button is in need of constant care via conventional medicine. Dorey is an out and proud enemy of conventional medicine. Despite the catalyst for her injuries Saba will forever be an at risk patient and need vaccination and conventional prophylactic measures to protect her from future viral threats. She will be surrounded by doctors, specialists and hospital staff perhaps for most of her life. The very people and places Dorey insists keep people sick – for profit.

It’s time Meryl Dorey did at least one morally correct thing and just left the Button family alone.

Australian Vaccination Network: Consumer Protection Investigates

Meryl Dorey has done it again. Found her way onto the files of yet another government body.

Cathy O’Leary of The West Australian reported yesterday:

Consumer Protection is investigating whether an anti-vaccination group breached charity laws by seeking donations at a series of meetings in WA in the past two weeks.

The NSW-based Australian Vaccination Network held public forums in Perth, Busselton, Jurien Bay and Geraldton, charging $15 and giving out brochures asking people to donate to the group. Last year, it was stripped of its charity status by the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing because of fundraising irregularities and it was ordered not to carry out public appeals in that State.

Here’s a copy of the donation form circulated in Perth.

AVN donation flyer

So why would Consumer Protection (apart from the obvious) be interested? As you may well know on October 14th, 2010 just past high noon the NSW OLGR revoked the AVN’s Charity Licence. They had discerned that… well, let’s have Meryl tell the tale:

Media Release heading - from AVN on OLGR decision

Approximately 2 hours ago, I received a notification from the OLGR that they would, effective Wednesday, October 20th, be revoking the AVN’s charitable status. They have sent me a letter listing the reasons for this revocation (those reasons are reproduced below) and also the announcement that is being Gazetted today.

(a) that any fundraising appeal conducted by the holder of the authority has not been conducted in good faith for charitable purposes

The Organisation has failed to publish a disclaimer on its website as recommended by the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC). This has resulted in an unacceptable risk of potential donors to the Organisation being misled when making a decision whether or not to make a donation, which has led to appeals not being conducted in good faith.

(c) that any fundraising appeal conducted by virtue of the authority has been improperly administered

The Organisation’s website is misleading in that it may lead people making donations to believe that they are donating to a cause which promotes vaccination whereas the Organisation adopts an anti-vaccination position. When requested by the HCCC to publish a disclaimer on its website the Organisation failed to do so.

(f) in the public interest, the authority should be revoked.

The failure of the Organisation to comply with the HCCC recommendation resulted in the Commission publishing a Public Warning on 26 July 2010 advising that this failure “poses a risk to public health and safety”. In this circumstance it is in the public interest to not permit the Organisation to conduct fund raising appeals under the Act.

Pretty straight forward right? Wrong. In fact there were 23 various breaches under the clauses, sections and conditions of the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991. You may ask yourself why has Meryl only proffered a, c and f above. The reason becomes readily clear. Dorey seeks to maintain the “not under HCCC jurisdiction” theme.

In effect, as you can’t see above the OLGR decision is based upon far more damning evidence. Never one to let facts intrude upon reality Meryl moves the cups about the table and turns three points into a bogus “entire” decision:

As you can see, the OLGR based their entire decision on the HCCC’s demand for us to declare ourselves as being anti-vaccine and putting their disclaimer on our website – two things which we refused to do (they say we failed to do it – there was no failure involved – this was a deliberate move on our part to defend our freedom of communication). Indeed, instead of changing our current disclaimer to what the HCCC requested, we issued this statement – explaining why the HCCC was wrong and any moves to suppress the AVN were anti-democratic.

Riiiiight. A department of Trade and Investment NSW based their “entire decision” on the Health Care Complaints Commission’s findings. No wonder they can be dispensed with in just two short paragraphs. But wait! That last sentence is rather bold is it not?

What possible “statement” could explain why the HCCC was wrong, suppressive and anti-democratic? That can now be swung around the turret and aimed squarely at the OLGR? Why, it’s none other than the Debating Vaccination article that sells for $5:00 in the AVN Shop dear reader.

Even though it’s available for free via the above link and had also been emailed to members on August 12th, 2010 under the heading Read It In Advance, including a link to Dr. Brian Martin’s own URL. The URL I used when comparing all the free stuff Dorey sells for profit. No doubt because she’s so charitable and all. So deserving of a charitable fundraising licence.

The very “statement” that’s available in many areas for free but sold by AVN will defeat criticism and revocation of their charitable status and authority to fundraise respectively.

It’s all so clear now. A rambling piece of incoherent, self-serving, post modernist waffle that goes as far as claiming scientific fact is subjective truth, and as such, the door to conspiracy central is legitimately open because it’s mere dissent. Written by an erstwhile physicist, antivaccination supporter and Judy Wilyman – PhD hopeful – supervisor. Clearly it just steam rolls two government departments, then. It contains:

There is no rulebook, called the scientific method, that scientists follow. They do not necessarily use the approach of verification, namely finding evidence that supports current ideas, though there is plenty of this. Nor do they commonly use falsification, namely trying to disprove prevailing ideas, though they sometimes do this.

In other words (helping us understand why he might no longer be practicing physics) Brian Martin argues science is about biased verification and rejection of valid falsification. It’s about “prevailing ideas”, not following “the scientific method”. With this marked misunderstanding of the world he lives in, it is thus quite logical to deny vaccine efficacy, and exhume all the fallacies health authorities have patiently put to rest.

Surely there was more to the OLGR decision. The HCCC acted in consonance with dark forces, Dorey claimed. What of this decision? She further wrote (I’ve helped with striking out the long exposed lies), after blaming “active members of the organisation, Stop the AVN”:

14/10/2010 – For Immediate Release:

For over two years, the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), a national volunteer-run health lobby and support group, has been under attack. Our message of individual informed health choice conflicts with the government’s policy which is pro-mass vaccination. Part of this attack has included complaints to the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR), the body that oversees charities.

Earlier this year, the OLGR audited the AVN. It found several errors with our bookeeping (sic) system and some minor problems with the way in which we accounted for fundraising income. The OLGR openly stated that there was no evidence of fraud or criminality. Despite this, it has announced that the AVN’s authority to fundraise is being revoked.

“Had the OLGR based its decision upon the simple errors which were found during our audit – errors which any small, volunteer-run organisation can and does make – it would have been unfair but not unexpected.” says Meryl Dorey, media spokesperson for the AVN. “What makes this decision difficult to understand is that the revocation was based solely upon a questionable decision by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) which we believe is not relevant to the OLGR’s mandate.”

The campaign to shut down the AVN has included:

  1. Attacks and threats against our advertisers, members and professional supporters.
  2. Death threats against  committee members.
  3. Hate mail.
  4. Abusive phone calls and emails.
  5. Numerous vexatious complaints against (sic) to various government agencies.

In a democracy, it is always in the public’s interest to allow citizens access to full and accurate information on all issues so they will be empowered to make their own decision. The OLGR’s statement that rescinding the AVN’s charitable status is in the public’s interest seems to confuse the Australian public with the Australian medical industry.

In a true democracy, the government should be defending its policies in the court of public opinion – not by abusing its power by suppressing legitimate dissent.

As you can now see the entire “release” is false as the revocation of authority and a number of events this year reinforce. It is quite right and proper for the OLGR to note the HCCC’s ruling that Dorey misleads the public and as such donors are duped, appeals are in effect scams and money made via fund raising sustains an ongoing “risk to public health”.

It is very easy to grasp. Yet Dorey is asking that members believe that the OLGR found bookkeeping errors “and some minor problems”, then for the persecutory reasons rattled off time and again revoked their licence. In truth fraud and deception was common. That citizens now held her to account was completely her own doing.

Ridiculously the theme of “suppressing dissent” had taken firm hold. It goes without saying that the AVN has for 17 and more years run a lying, scamming, money grubbing campaign of fear and misinformation that far from expressing dissent has led to wide spread ignorance and genuine community health challenges. As for threats and harassment it is grieving parents, volunteers, busy journalists and Michael Wooldridge who can cite actual intimidation.

Dorey used the intervening week to beg for new members (who could legally continue to donate) and money. Her state of mind then further deteriorated as she herself expanded upon and acted out the themes of threats, oppression and dark forces. Her paranoia and flight from reality is captured in an email to members only a month later on November 15th. It included:

Warning To Chiropractors

Members of the organisation that is trying to stop the AVN have made threats to send mock patients to any chiropractic office where the practitioner has a history of providing information to their clients on vaccination. The idea is that they can then report the chiropractor to the chiropractic registration board.

Be on guard for hidden cameras and microphones. [….] Similar things have been happening with naturopaths for some time now. Yet more evidence that we need to stick together and support each other.

In truth it is great news for public health that Consumer Protection W.A. has taken this initiative. Western Australia was to be Dorey’s great revival tour. After the CSL Fluvax scare the entire state waited for their anti-vax Messiah… didn’t they? Surely this was to be her vindication where all the oppressors would be proven wrong.

Yet the fact is in well over a year Meryl Dorey has made not one compliant twitch. Apart from the odd calculated wave to appear deceptively bipartisan her conduct has remained unchanged from that outlined above. Combative, paranoid, proud, arrogant and unrepentant. Meryl Dorey and her AVN remain a threat to public health. It doesn’t matter where they go the message is the same misinformation, leading to the same old grab for cash.

The public have a right to know and to be protected. Kudos to Consumer Protection.

The Rabid Truth and Meryl Dorey’s Failed Vaccine Myth

Meryl Dorey has chucked a wobbly over an article written by Medical Editor for The West Australian, Cathy O’Leary.

Entitled Anti-vaccine lobby back in W.A.the piece is factual and balanced. Which at this point in Dorey’s career heralds disaster for the flat earthers. Today the truth includes a little analogy about vaccination being rape with full penetration and losing charity status for withholding transparency about non medical and antivax information. Schadenfreude aside, what did Cathy write?

An anti-vaccination group that sparked a political row in Perth last year is back in WA charging parents $15 for its public forums. The Australian Vaccination Network held meetings in Busselton and Perth this week and will hold others in Jurien Bay and Geraldton next week. Last year, the Uniting Church in Perth refused to let the NSW group use one of its halls and the State Library came under fire when it let the group use one of its buildings instead.

The NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing also stripped the group, based at Bangalow near Byron Bay, of its charity status after health authorities found its information was biased and said its website should state that its claims were not medical advice.

Spokeswoman Meryl Dorey attracted criticism this year when she likened a court order for a child to be vaccinated to rape. She wrote on the group’s Facebook site it was “assault without consent and with full penetration” but was forced to apologise after some of her own supporters found the comments offensive. [….]

Dorey summoned her flying monkeys on Facebook and set them to work:

More rabid anti-vaccine safety press from… I would think that the hundreds of families whose children have been hospitalised because of a dangerous flu vaccine might have something to say… Please comment on this page and write a letter to….

Wait, wait, wait. “Hundreds of families whose children have been hospitalised”? Really? This didn’t sound right. I was at the meetup of Vaccine Myths on Tuesday morning and can’t remember seeing any Myth or Lie by the name of Hundreds of hospitalisations or anything remotely similar. I’d been handed a card from head myth, Sir Vaccines Cause Autism. Could he help? I hesitantly dialled the number. A very pleasant voice with a British accent answered.

Sir Vaccines Cause Autism speaking. How may I be of service?”

Nervously I ventured, “Er… Vaccines Cause Autism, you probably don’t remember me but I met you…”.

“Nonsense! Paul isn’t it? I’ve a rather thrifty ear for voices, old chap. My what a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect to hear from you until my next incarnation. What can I do for you?”

“Well, I just wanted to check up on the likelihood of a certain porky pie Meryl’s spreading on Facebook about…”,

“About the hundreds of hospitalisations following adverse reactions to the flu vaccine in April 2010, yes old boy?”, he sighed. “Hmmmm, you’re not the first to call. Not the first at all. It’s an absolute disgrace Paul and Dorey is making us all look ridiculous. There’s no-one here by that name at all. Firstly, there appears to have been a total of 23 hospitalisations, reported in WA Today. Twenty Three! Then the ABC reported that 45 children were taken to hospital. This doesn’t mean all were admitted, but I’m happy to go with 45. More to the point it was reported that there were just over 60 children in total who had an adverse reaction across the entire state. My office has received no applications for any new Mythology titles referring to WA and there’s no way we’d approve any new Lies or Myths without prior telling, reporting, retelling and debate…. Just a minute… Oh, Vaccines Contain Mercury says Hello dear fellow, and that he wants to launch a coup. He’s very keen to pass that on.”

“Give him my regards”, I replied. “I noticed he doesn’t trust Meryl. Smart chap. What’s this about approval… do you have an actual process?”

“Of course dear boy, of course. We don’t approve any Myth or Lie – no matter how small – unless they’ve been printed in the media as or within a story or opinion piece, brought up in debates at least 100 times, repeated in social media, online forums or talk-back radio, used in logical fallacies almost daily and make good sense to Mike Adams. Only then do we forward the application to Castle Cockamaymee where the committee meets to discuss the merits of the Myth. We do background checks to make sure there’s no truth at all and all Myths undergo a Working with Idiots check. Occasionally we make some exceptions for material on whale.to. Of course there’s a six month probationary period. Then we consider our Myths fully qualified.

“In fact we have a new Lie on this trip. My Uncle Went Into Hospital For Cancer Treatment And Died Perfectly Healthy or just “Uncle“, as we call him. Meryl has tried him a few times. Very funny chap, very funny. We get a lot of laughs. In cases like this, when Lies can’t even trust the liar, the committee looks into the background of identical Lies being told by others, the size of the Burning Stupid it gives off, and the amount of hilarity generated in evidence based circles. We also calculate the probability of future use and growth based on other factors, such as (in this case) the rise of Mythical Natural Cancer Treatments, use of the Lie by identities like Peter Dingle, distrust of conventional medicine, support from other lies like Medicines Are Toxic and the history of the Lie spontaneously arising in unrelated areas. Of course, Dorey’s Lies are quite pathetic and we’ve never approved a single one Ipso Facto. Perish the thought. Uncle made it through because he has a robust presence across the globe already. In effect Dorey – as always – was simply using him. Does that help at all old bean?”

“That’s tremendous”, I replied. “So I presume all’s going well with the trip apart from this?”

“Well, we can only try”, he answered. “Stiff upper lip and all. We may well have never ever existed, but we do have standards. This type of behaviour is typical from Dorey and it’s exactly what some of the lads predicted. It reflects badly on all of us and shows how little respect Meryl Dorey has for a good, well constructed, fully qualified Myth. Counter-intuitively, we thrive on Burning Stupidity and Dorey’s full of it. We all feel terrific! Our P.R. guys are working flat out, so only time will tell. Anyway dear chap I’m rather busy. There’s a confused looking mother nearby so I’ll need to pop over and completely terrify her. Man I love this job, what? I’ll email over a link to the W.A. Today and ABC pieces from April 23rd 2010. Just a minute… Oh, Vaccines Contain Mercury now says to say Goodbye. Hope I’ve been of some help”.

“Awesome, Sir Vaccines Cause Autism. That’s been very helpful. Hope to catch up again”, I replied. “And congratulations on the Knighthood”, I added.

“Oh, jolly good thank you. Always glad to help Paul, And remember… Vaccines really do cause autism. Bwahahahaha”.

With that he was gone. Shortly after his email arrived, with the promised links to the articles. Flu vaccination ban goes national after fever, convulsions in children:

Seasonal flu vaccinations across Australia for children under five have been suspended after 23 children in Western Australia were admitted to hospital with convulsions following their injections. One child, aged 1, remains in a coma in a Perth hospital. [….] More than 60 children around the state may have had adverse reactions to the vaccine, including fevers, vomiting and febrile convulsions – a type of fit brought on by a high fever. [….]

He [WA’s chief public health officer Tarun Weeramanthri] said that since this year’s vaccine program started a month ago, 23 children under the age of 10 had presented to Princess Margaret Hospital with convulsions related to vaccinations they had received less than 12 hours before.

Another 40 convulsion cases had been detected in the past month in children at other metropolitan hospitals and in Bunbury. Doctors are now working to determine how many of those children received the flu vaccine. Aside from the convulsions, affected children were suffering fever and vomiting within 12 hours of their flu shots.

The ABC reported on the same day:

The Western Australian Government has suspended all flu vaccinations for children under five while it investigates a spike in admissions to Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth. The Health Minister, Kim Hames, says 45 children have been taken to hospital suffering high temperatures and febrile convulsions after receiving the vaccination.

Well there it was. In black and white. Dorey’s lie wasn’t even a real lie. It was just a Doreyism. A possible maximum of 45 hospitalisations morphed into “hundreds”. Much like the 21 Vaccine Injury Compensation Program cases for encephalitis and similar injuries magically became “hundreds, possibly thousands” of cases of autism when talking on KOFM radio, last May. I wonder what else Cathy O’Leary had reported:

“I always say to people to go to their doctor and get information but get the other side as well so they can make a real decision about whether to vaccinate,” [Meryl Dorey] said.

Well that’s complete bollocks right there. Dorey never tells people any such thing about visiting doctors. Oh well, I hope people at least take that advice. It certainly isn’t hard to see why The Mythical Realm demand such high standards of their Vaccine Myths.

Australian Medical Association WA president Dave Mountain said the group was trying to whip up anti-vaccine hysteria again. “They are zealots who pick and choose bits of information to make it look like they’re presenting real evidence,” he said.

This led to parents refusing to get children and themselves vaccinated, which affected everyone, particularly the most vulnerable who benefited from herd immunity and, in that respect, they were a danger.

That’s about the size of it. The AVN is certainly a danger. That Dorey claims to have scammed up $1350 for a night of fear mongering is pretty galling. Such as claiming there were “hundreds” of hospitalised children in Perth following the Fluvax debacle. Or as WA’s AMA president Dave Mountain said, “They are zealots who pick and choose bits of information to make it look like they’re presenting real evidence.”

Of course some of Dorey’s servants obeyed her command to harass The West Australian for the quality journalism that may very well have saved children’s lives. Everything written is simply factual but Dorey, outside of her censorship comfort zone, needed her minions to attack the source, not the evidence. I understand AVN members wrote to The West Australian unjustly accusing it of seeking to achieve unquestioning support for vaccination and of purposely misrepresenting members of the AVN. It was suggested certain information, perhaps Ms. Dorey’s claim of vaccination being “rape with full penetration” was only there to encourage readers toward an unfavourable view of the AVN.

The hypocrisy here is breath taking. Dorey told AVN members she’d been contacted by Cathy O’Leary and told her of attendance numbers and how attendees were not being told AVN propaganda “of the downsides” of vaccines by their doctors. Remembering that the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission found the AVN “quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous”, it’s not surprising doctors aren’t lying to their patients. Yet Dorey had another falsehood up her sleeve.

Eye witness reports suggested a handful of people attended at Floreat. Dorey herself described the turn out as “smallish”. Still The West Australian was duped by Meryl Dorey and reported:

About 90 people, mostly parents of young children, had attended a forum in Floreat on Tuesday night

Strangely no AVN member complained about that error. Perhaps the only actual error in the story. The Big Pharma conspiracy was raised by one supporter suggesting that The West Australian sought to profit from pharmaceutical companies. AVN member and antivax PhD candidate Judy Wilyman was particularly misguided. Writing to the editor of The West Australian, but mistakenly emailing a copy to just under 100 recipients and thus the internet itself, this letter took on a life of it’s own.

I have a terrible memory but remember spotting it on a website, or public email list or one of those ever changing Facebook threads. Either way it’s here now and that’s all that really matters. I guess I could paraphrase her PhD supervisor Dr. Brian Martin regarding the privacy of a third party when he emailed me in August. “Was it marked confidential?”.

Wilyman launches into conspiracy thinking and blame, giving responsibility for truth a wide berth. It included:

The West Australian has stooped to a new low in investigative journalism… Perpetuating misinformation to achieve the desired response from its readers (unquestioning support for vaccination) is irresponsible reporting. [….] …the name of the AVN is the Australian Vaccination Network and the message this organization is promoting is freedom of choice in vaccination. The editor has purposely misrepresented the parents and health professionals who are members of this organization.

In addition, the article includes unnecessary information that has been used to influence the opinion of readers. [….] Unlike the West Australian, the primary interest of consumers is children’s health and not the profits that can be made from the sponsors of newspapers such as pharmaceutical companies. [….]

Why is the media unable to report accurately about the consumer groups who are asking valid questions about vaccination – a medical procedure. If this is an evidence-based policy and if the government is presenting all the known science on its website, it would not be necessary for parents to form organizations to inform themselves of the science that is not being presented to support this policy.

In the interests of democracy it is time for the West Australian to demonstrate some quality journalism and find out why an increasing number of educated parents are not choosing to vaccinate.

Investigative journalism? Science? Anyway… So The West Australian is in on the Big Pharma Myth? The answer to Brian Martin‘s student’s last query is clear. These groups deal in pseudoscience and deception, placing the health of our community and the lives of children at risk. Only last year Wilyman referred to media reporting of three infant fatalities from influenza as designed to “coerce” readers into vaccination, and that the media “run fear campaigns”. Speaking of “science” she quoted from a hundred year old text and referred to much older material, then rattled off the standard vaccination myths. The ones that science has debunked time and again.

Wilyman told her audience at the State Library in Perth last year.

We’re being educated by the media who have pharmaceutical interests

Really? This is what it comes down to time and again. There’s no evidence to refute vaccine efficacy or their success in changing our quality and length of life. So it must be a plot. Judy Wilyman works hard to mislead Australians. Consider the misleading poster below on Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation. Despite the sub-heading How Ethical is The Policy? and Wilyman’s accusations above including “Perpetuating misinformation to achieve the desired response”, “unnecessary information that has been used to influence the opinion of readers” and intentional misrepresentation the reality is far different. Without vaccination of health care workers patients would be at risk, workers would be at risk and institutions would be at risk of law suits from those who catch a vaccine preventable disease.

Judy Wilyman’s abuse of Murdoch University Logo

Ethics? Judy Wilyman did not have the permission of Murdoch University to use their logo. Then writing an Investigate before you vaccinate brochure for the AVN once again used the good name of Murdoch University. Little wonder she is now at Wollongong University supported by AVN advocate and defender, Brian Martin. Finally despite the support above, travelling interstate and presenting antivaccination material with, writing for and being an active supporter of the AVN, Wilyman publically distances herself from the AVN, denying membership. Perhaps this is true but in reality Judy Wilyman does more to support the AVN than any “member” in history.

As the NSW HCCC found quite justly after investigating The Australian Vaccination Network:

The Commission’s investigation established that the AVN:

  • provides information that is solely anti-vaccination
  • contains information that is incorrect and misleading
  • quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous.

On this basis, the Commission recommended to the AVN that it should include a statement in a prominent position on its website to the following effect:

  • The AVN’s purpose is to provide information against vaccination, in order to balance what it believes is the substantial amount of pro-vaccination information available elsewhere.
  • The information provided by the AVN should not be read as medical advice.
  • The decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider.

The Commission recognises that it is important for there to be debate on the issue of vaccination. However, the AVN provides information that is inaccurate and misleading.

There is no “educated”, informed or as Wilyman claims, “freedom of choice”. Parents are making the mistake not to vaccinate because they are misled by the lies and myths told by antivaccination lobbyists. As the HCCC also stated in the Public Warning, the lies peddled by the AVN such as that presented in W.A. and advanced by Wilyman herself:

…may result in members of the public making improperly informed decisions about whether or not to vaccinate, and therefore poses a risk to public health and safety.

So, the AVN ilk were true to form. Information that is factual and documented was deemed conspiratorial, misleading and wrong. Information that is false was considered fine by AVN supporters. The conspiracy and persecution twaddle is designed to justify why these dangerous risks to public health and innocent children behave as though above the law.

For all her Flying Monkey urging to comment, Dorey’s Facebook command appeared to be quite unsuccessful.

That’s some comfort.