Debunking Anti-Vaxxers

Just over a couple of months ago the video Debunking Anti-Vaxxers was published by Toronto based AsapSCIENCE.

There’s a lot of very helpful information packed into less than seven and a half minutes, and it’s particularly worth visiting the YouTube page for a very comprehensive list of “further reading references”.

You can follow @mitchellmoffitt and @Whalewatchmeplz on Twitter and on Instagram here and here, respectively. There are also links to AsapSCIENCE on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

 

I was also interested to come across Bill and Melinda Gates’ 2018 Annual Letter. It’s entitled The 10 Toughest Questions We Get. The questions are answered with graphs, videos and margin notes.

They are;

  1. Why don’t you give more in the United States?
  2. What do you have to show for the billions you’ve spent on U.S. education?
  3. Why don’t you give money to fight climate change?
  4. Are you imposing your values on other cultures?
  5. Does saving kids’ lives lead to overpopulation?
  6. How are President Trump’s policies affecting your foundation’s work?
  7. Why do you work with corporations?
  8. Is it fair that you have so much influence?
  9. What happens when the two of you disagree?
  10. Why are you really giving your money away—what’s in it for you?
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Measles makes a slow start to 2018 in Australia

According to the Australian Government’s Department of Health;

Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by the Morbillivirus. The virus is spread from person to person through droplets in the air. Symptoms take between 10 and 14 days to show after infection and include rash, fever, cough, runny nose and inflammation of the eye. Complications of measles include ear, brain and lung infections, which can lead to brain damage and death. Approximately one child in every 1,000 who contracts measles will develop inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Immunisation rates of up to 95% are required for the sustained control of vaccine preventable diseases, such as measles.

The description above was last updated on March 20th, 2014. As evidenced in the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System table below, 2014 was a frightening year for measles infection. The year’s total of 339 was the highest for 16 years and each of the first three months had higher notifications than any other month of the year. Although June and July notifications were only two and four less, respectively.

Numbers of measles notification per State and Territory are tabulated here.

In fact 2014 saw measles outbreaks across the globe. Australia experienced an influx of cases from Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines which resulted in unvaccinated children in Australia being infected according to the Department of Health. There were over 58,000 cases in the Philippines and 110 deaths, reported in February 2015. The USA experienced an outbreak with a similar cause.

The Disease Daily reported in Outbreaks of 2014;

Over the course of the last year, there have been 610 reported cases of measles across twenty states.  The reemergence of measles can be attributed, in part, to increased international travel where infected travelers have imported the disease into the United States. Particularly for 2014, many measles case clusters were traced back to the large ongoing measles outbreak happening in the Philippines. However, those in the United States who have become infected are generally unvaccinated, often by their own volition.

Further highlighting the role the unvaccinated play in sparking measles epidemics, one notes that the CDC also highlighted the role of unvaccinated Amish communities;

2014: The U.S. experienced 23 measles outbreaks in 2014, including one large outbreak of 383 cases, occurring primarily among unvaccinated Amish communities in Ohio. Many of the cases in the U.S. in 2014 were associated with cases brought in from the Philippines, which experienced a large measles outbreak.

The Public Health Agency of Canada also raised concerns of measles infection and unvaccinated children;

Widespread use of the measles vaccine has dramatically reduced the numbers of cases in Canada over the past 45 years. But the recent outbreak in British Columbia is underscoring how the highly contagious virus can very effectively seek out groups of unprotected children.

With respect to The Netherlands a paper by Woudenberg, et al, entitled Large measles epidemic in the Netherlands, May 2013 to March 2014: changing epidemiology examined two measles epidemics (1999-2000 and 2013-14) that primarily effected orthodox Protestants. In the second epidemic, 27 May 2013 – 12 March 2014, 2,700 cases were reported. Molecular typing of the outbreak strain indicated a sequence indistinguishable from a strain first identified in Wales UK in the second half of 2012: the Taunton sequence.

The first Dutch case was identified with the Taunton sequence in May 2013. By this time 900 identical sequences had been reported from the UK, France, Ireland and the Russian Federation, making a source country difficult to identify. The Netherlands outbreak was indicated as the source of outbreaks in Belgium and Canada and from Canada to the USA. Social ties between orthodox Protestants in the Netherlands and Canada leading to the spread of vaccine-preventable disease such as polio, measles, mumps and rubella to Canada has been previously reported.

Reinforcing the importance of national herd immunity to international control of measles the authors of this study conclude in part;

The number of individuals refraining from vaccination is insufficient to sustain endemic measles transmission in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, this situation does pose a risk to public health in the Netherlands and contributes to the worldwide spread of measles, thus forming an impediment to the elimination of measles in Europe and elsewhere.

Amish communities and orthodox Protestants had a documented impact on reducing measles herd immunity in the USA, and Europe and Canada respectively and this was reflected in the 2014 outbreaks. In Australia whilst small numbers struggle to meet immunisation requirements due to social hardship, the anti-vaccination lobby have for years worked hard to spread disinformation, driving down immunisation rates nationally.

In June 2015 the ABC reported that the “surge” of measles the year before resulted in health authorities calling on Australians to ensure they were up to date with immunisations. If we compare this month’s present number of 4 notifications to the 78 for January 2014 it is clear measles notifications for the first month of this year are just over 5% of January 2014. The figure may rise slightly as further notifications for January reach the NNDSS but at this stage such a low figure is comforting.

Still, there have been warnings specific to measles this year and late last year. Victoria issued a measles health alert (Confirmed measles case in Melbourne) on December 5th 2017. This was a single case acquired overseas and fortunately the national total for December 2017 remains at 2. The alert is now resolved. An identical measles health alert for Melbourne, differing only in where the individual travelled when infectious was issued on January 17th 2018 and remains active.

This was reported in The Age on the same day.

Passengers who flew from Dubai to Melbourne last Thursday have been warned that a fellow passenger has an “extremely infectious” case of the measles.

[…]

Measles has an incubation period of seven to 18 days, so fellow passengers may develop symptoms from Thursday until the end of the month.

As today is the last day of the month this status may change to resolved as of midnight. W.A. Health issued a very similar warning via Twitter on January 11th.

This was reported the same day in Perth Now by Cathy O’Leary.

We have no way of telling what measles notifications will be over the remainder of 2018. September and October last year saw a worrying spike in notifications in Melbourne. However we in Australia can be grateful for No Jab No Pay legislation.

Globally at present measles is proving a problem in developed and developing nations. In the UK the NHS has confirmed well over 100 cases in five regions. The high risk of being unvaccinated and travelling is being stressed to the public. Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England said;

People who have recently travelled, or are planning to travel to Romania, Italy and Germany and have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine are particularly at risk

Countries at risk are evident in this January 12th, 2018 report, Measles in the EU/EEA: current outbreaks, latest data and trends – January 2018. Most cases were unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated. The report included.

The spread of measles across Europe is due to suboptimal vaccination coverage in many EU/EEA countries: of all measles cases reported during the one-year period 1 December 2016 to 30 November 2017 with known vaccination status, 87% were not vaccinated.

In the first two weeks of January the measles outbreak in the Ukraine has resulted in 1285 cases. Ukraine measles vaccination uptake is regarded as the worst in Europe, being under 50% in recent years according to the Ukraine Health Ministry. It was reported on January 21st that The Acting Health Minister Ulyana Suprun said;

Yesterday it became known about yet another death from measles. This is a child who has not been vaccinated. This is the eighth death case since the start of the outbreak, and this is the tragedy of our society, in which people die from diseases that are prevented by vaccinations […]

In order to achieve the measles elimination goal, the vaccination coverage rates for children targeted by routine vaccination programmes should increase in a number of countries, as the vaccination coverage of the second dose must be at least 95% to interrupt measles circulation and achieve herd immunity.

Presently a tragedy due to neglect, poverty, malnutrition and measles is unfolding in Papua, Indonesia.

AFP reported on January 28th;

Some 800 children have fallen ill and as many as 100 others, mostly toddlers, are feared to have died in what Jakarta called an “extraordinary” outbreak that was first made public this month. […]

When Widodo took office in 2014, he vowed to speed up infrastructure development and services, bolstering hopes for the region, observers said.

“What the government is saying is what we think is important to do (for Papua) is in fact not being done,” said Richard Chauvel, a Papua expert at the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute. […]

“As measles is easily prevented with a safe and inexpensive vaccine, these deaths should never have happened,” said Freddy Numberi, a former governor of Papua. [He added] that Papua has Indonesia’s lowest life expectancy and highest infant, child and maternal mortality rates.

Without a doubt it is the same pattern across the globe. Measles epidemics will sprout wherever herd immunity is unsuitable. More so it is the unvaccinated who will suffer the consequences of widespread infection, whether in developing or developed nations.

Indeed even with low levels of infection the unvaccinated, with an infection rate of approximately 90%, bear the brunt of infection. Australia’s anti-vaccination lobby has for years pushed fear and disinformation, spreading ignorance and apathy leading directly to low herd immunity and epidemics of vaccine preventable disease.

This has resulted in effective legislative change manifesting as No Jab, No Pay and No Jab, No Play. The policy has been successful in raising vaccination uptake.

According to Immunise Australia;

The disease which requires the highest level of vaccine coverage to achieve herd immunity is measles as it is highly infectious. It is estimated that coverage of 92-94% is required for herd immunity from this virus. For this reason the national aspirational immunisation coverage target has been set at 95%. This target provides sufficient herd immunity to prevent transmission of other vaccine preventable diseases and supports Australia’s contribution to achieving measles elimination in the Western Pacific Region.

Fortunately January 2018 has indicated measles notification the lowest in four years. Whilst measles continues to present challenges around the world, Australia should remain vigilant and ensure we keep ahead of any potential outbreak.

Features of the anti-vaccination movement on Facebook

Recently Australia’s most vocal, persistent and offensive anti-vaccine pressure group, The Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network argued vaccination is a breach of religious freedom. They misinformed the federal parliamentary inquiry into religious freedom that vaccines were prepared with “the products of abortion”.

Vaccination was therefore “a moral evil”, violating teachings of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism, they contended citing absolutely no evidence to support their stance. The Australian Medical Association noted that their position was “irrational” and “unscientific”.

It was clear that the AVN was trying to find its way around the No Jab No Pay family assistance requirements and the No Jab No Play policy requirements. In April 2015 it was initially announced that religious exemptions for vaccination would cease. This was reinforced by health minister Greg Hunt in March this year. The only grounds for exemption of childhood vaccination are medical. The AVN’s claim that vaccines contain “the products of abortion” is not only baseless, but well refuted.

The AVN’s ignorance of the moral considerations involved are not difficult to discern. A Vatican City 2005 Statement, Moral reflections on vaccines prepared from cells derived from aborted human foetuses, includes in reference 15;

…the parents who did not accept the vaccination of their own children become responsible for the malformations [due to rubella infection] in question, and for the subsequent abortion of fetuses, when they have been discovered to be malformed.

Still it is quite predictable that this morally bereft pressure group will continue to press the fallacious contention that vaccines contain aborted foetal cells. Social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter are means by which the anti-vaccination lobby interact. Indeed the conduct of antivaccinationists on Facebook has revealed much of their conspiratorial, cruel, cult-like nature.

First we witnessed the anti-vaccine lobby grow with simple access to misinformation via the Internet combined with the ability to invent and spread more. With the growth of social media we have witnessed this social malignancy improve it’s networking skills and spread their dangerous misinformation and conspiracy theories in real time.

In this light I was grateful that the sharp eyes of others interested in the impact of the anti-vaccination lobby had come across the following research paper.

Mapping the anti-vaccination movement on Facebook. Naomi Smith and Tim Graham.

Information, Communication & Society

Published December 27th, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2017.1418406

It looked at 6 anti-vaccine Facebook pages.

  1. Fans of the AVN
  2. Dr. Tenpenny on vaccines
  3. Great mothers (and others) questioning vaccines
  4. No vaccines Australia
  5. Age of autism
  6. RAGE against the vaccines

Post, like and comment data were further used to generate 6 social networks which were then further analysed.

Abstract;

Over the past decade, anti-vaccination rhetoric has become part of the mainstream discourse regarding the public health practice of childhood vaccination. These utilise social media to foster online spaces that strengthen and popularise anti-vaccination discourses. In this paper, we examine the characteristics of and the discourses present within six popular anti-vaccination Facebook pages. We examine these large-scale datasets using a range of methods, including social network analysis, gender prediction using historical census data, and generative statistical models for topic analysis (Latent Dirichlet allocation).

We find that present-day discourses centre around moral outrage and structural oppression by institutional government and the media, suggesting a strong logic of ‘conspiracy-style’ beliefs and thinking. Furthermore, anti-vaccination pages on Facebook reflect a highly ‘feminised’ movement ‒ the vast majority of participants are women. Although anti-vaccination networks on Facebook are large and global in scope, the comment activity sub-networks appear to be ‘small world’. This suggests that social media may have a role in spreading anti-vaccination ideas and making the movement durable on a global scale.

Some key points from the paper’s Discussion and Conclusion might be listed as follows.

  • There is a large amount of online information that is important to the anti-vaccination (AV) community.
  • Social media acts as an “effective hub” in the communication of AV information. The information is “designed to encourage grass roots resistance”.
  • AV communities are relatively sparse, not functioning as close knit communities of support.
  • Yet participation alone in AV groups can reinforce AV beliefs.
  • AV participants are reasonably active across a number of groups.
  • This suggests AV users participation in various AV groups is more autonomous than would be explained by Facebook’s recommender system.
  • Liking and commenting across a number of AV pages may create a “filter bubble” effect.♠
  • This effect is a pattern of involvement and activity that reinforces AV beliefs and conduct.
  • More research is needed to discern how much of this effect is due to the users own conduct as opposed to Facebook’s algorithmic structure.
  • AV Facebook pages exhibit “small world” network structure characteristics. Information diffuses quickly through the network via user comments.
  • “Small world” characteristics may be due to inherent aspects of the AV movement or may manifest due to the Facebook “platform”.
  • Either the former or latter aspect driving development of “small world” specifics will have unique and interesting implications.♣
  • The former suggests that as a social movement the AV lobby might develop as a “small world” network that may be amplified and made more visible online.
  • If the latter, the Facebook platform may be instrumental in the growth of the AV movement, protecting from disruption of outside influences.
  • Wide sharing of posts suggests the AV community has scope beyond the public Facebook pages.
  • Sharing may be important in spreading AV information and growing the AV movement.
  • Gender composition of AV movement reflects cultural understanding of parenting – primarily maternal.
  • Vaccination is historically “a mother’s question”. AV is described by the authors as “a mother’s question”.
  • “AV movement is primarily led by women”. Note; Sherri Tenpenny runs “Vaccine Info” on Facebook.
  • Whilst anti-vaccination is not gender specific, the “gendered nature” of Facebook page participation suggests the AV movement is “feminised”.
  • Several key pre-occupations of AV communities are evident on Facebook pages; institutional arrangements are seen to be perpetuating the harmful practice of vaccination.
  • AV community is “morally outraged about vaccination and structurally oppressed by seemingly tyrannical and conspiratorial government and media”.
  • There is a strong belief in conspiracies driven by government and media; Cover up of vaccine injury and death, spreading of Zika virus by Bill Gates and belief in chemtrails.
  • Comparison of vaccination to the Holocaust indicates strong sense of persecution within AV Facebook pages studied.
  • Strong anti-science and anti-medicine beliefs in tandem with use of natural remedies.
  • Findings limited by sample size.
  • Further, more comprehensive research is needed.

♠ Commonly referred to as an “echo chamber’.

Final paragraph;

The results of this investigation suggest a robust and highly gendered network structure that has a strong sense of moral outrage associated with the practice of vaccination. This ‘righteous indignation’, in combination with the network characteristics identified in this study, indicates that anti-vaccination communities are likely to be persistent across time and global in scope as they utilise the affordances of social media platforms to disseminate anti-vaccination information.

Concerns about vaccination reveal a community that feels persecuted and is suspicious of mainstream medical practice and government-sanctioned methods to prevent disease. In a generation that has rarely seen these diseases first hand, the risk of adverse reaction seems more immediate and pressing than disease prevention.

♣ Regarding “small world” characteristics being due to either AV specifics or to the Facebook platform, the authors write;

Both outcomes are equally interesting. The former suggests that social movements (like anti-vaccination) may inevitably develop as ‘small world’ networks structure that is further amplified and made visible online. If it is the latter, this demonstrates that Facebook as a platform has important implications for the dynamics, spread, and durability of social movements outside of the specific case examined here. Indeed, if the materiality or architecture of Facebook shapes networks towards ‘small-worldness’, this suggests that such platforms may be instrumental for the anti-vaccination movement and social movements more broadly to blossom, flourish, and resist being dismantled or disrupted by outside influences.

The above paragraph rings true and undoubtedly applies to a number of anti-science movements and conspiracy theories across the developed world.

Evidence absent for The Northern Star’s support of Olivia Odey

Update October 9th – ABC Media Watch, Northern Star HPV headline wrong

Just under a week ago The Northern Star published a one sided article alleging that a healthy 16 year old female was stricken with a host of physical ailments following administration of “the Gardasil vaccine”.

This specific claim is unverified in that conclusive evidence or clinical diagnoses pointing to Gardasil are absent. More so, from the viewpoint of international epidemiology, the two complex syndromes identified are not accepted as vaccine injuries caused by Gardasil. Toward the end of the article, Teen left in wheelchair after Gardasil HPV ‘reaction’, readers are informed that Olivia Odey (now 18);

…believes her symptoms were linked to a reaction to the Gardasil vaccine against cervical cancer, which the teenager had a few weeks prior to the onset of her symptoms.

No doubt given the weight of peer reviewed literature on the topic, and evidence offered in the article, Ms. Odey is indeed left with only her “belief”. Initially after presenting to hospital, “all tests came back normal”.

“I definitely think there was a link, but there’s no way to prove it,” Ms Odey said, admitting the proposition was controversial and “brushed aside by medical professionals”.

According to the Australian HPV vaccine website, for every million doses of the vaccine given there are only around three serious allergic reactions.

Adverse Events Following Immunisation are not “brushed aside” by Australian medical professionals. Regrettably, the article does not cast the profession in a favourable light and Ms. Odey reports, “a frustrating battle with the conventional medical system”.

“They wanted to send my mum and I across the road to a mental institution and told me ‘if there was a fire you would run right out of here’.

Ms. Odey apparently experienced photo-phobia, numbness, shingles, food allergies, tingling, joint pain, lethargy and discolouration of the legs. But it was heart palpitations that led her mother to contact a cardiologist in Auckland. The cardiologist referred her to a “specialised pain doctor”. She was diagnosed within an hour and began treatment the next day. Olivia Odey had been diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (Fact Sheet), also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and Central Neural Sensitisation Syndrome [Central Sensitisation] (Physiopedia videos).

We should note with respect to diagnosing CRPS;

There is no diagnostic test for CRPS. Diagnosis is based on a person’s medical history and their symptoms. Sometimes, a doctor may order blood tests, bone scans, x-rays, CT scans or MRI scans to rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms.

Thus being diagnosed within an hour and beginning treatment within a day is seemingly unusual to say the least. Ms. Odey’s entire recovery is unusual. We’re informed neuroplasticity explains;

To come off the pain drugs Ms Odey did a three-day course on how to “retrain your brain pathways and change your physiology just by changing your thoughts and beliefs.”

CRPS is classified as a Rare Disorder and whilst there is a significant range of symptoms and intensity, factors relating to causation include trauma such as a fracture, forceful injury, crush injury, amputation, stroke, and spinal cord injury. Other disorders may predispose to CRPS;

However, it has become increasingly clear that it plays a role in many different chronic pain disorders. It can occur with chronic low back pain, chronic neck pain, whiplash injuries, chronic tension headaches, migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis of the knee, endometriosis, injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, and after surgeries. Fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome, all seem to have the common denominator of central sensitization as well. […]

What isn’t clear in Ms. Odey’s case is if these possible causes were ruled out before blaming Gardasil.

Of great significance is that;

A prior history of anxiety, physical and psychological trauma, and depression are significantly predictive of onset of chronic pain later in life. […] The onset of pain is often associated with subsequent development of conditions such as depression, fear-avoidance, anxiety and other stressors.

Again it isn’t clear if all possible contributing stressors were ruled out.

The table below summarises the range of symptoms associated with CRPS.

Source: Australian Pain Management Association

 

Given the complications listed in the above table one can appreciate the slow progression of physical therapy outlined below.

Desensitization – “to hurt is not to harm”. Over a period of time the person with CRPS will be encouraged to desensitize the affected limb so that the hypersensitivity and allodynia is reduced. For example, over a period of three years Annette, a CPRS patient, began with moving a silk scarf over her foot, progressed to being able to wear a foot stocking, to a sock, sandal and finally a closed in shoe for a short period. This process took three years but improvements are still being made.

Graded motor imagery (GMI) combined with medical management is recognized as being effective in reducing pain in CRPS. GMI involves encouraging the person to differentiate between left and right limbs to re-establish right and left concepts in the brain. Progressively, a mirror box is introduced. The person is asked to watch the mirrored image of the unaffected limb moving in the mirror. Then, the person moves the affected limb in the mirror box while watching the mirrored image of the unaffected limb. This tricks the brain into thinking it is seeing the limb with CRPS moving without pain.

Finally we can find comprehensive refutation of the notion that HPV vaccination causes Regional Pain Syndrome and Central Sensitisation from reputable sources in the literature. A Safety Study of Gardasil 9 in PRISM/Sentinel using sequential analysis, is worth consulting. Version 2 was published only three days ago – September 27th 2017. Page 2 contains the paragraph on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Following a clinical description of CRPS the paragraph continues (italics and bold mine);

In June 2013, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare suspended its recommendation of routine immunization with HPV vaccine in girls and women following post-vaccination reports of serious chronic pain and concern about a possible association with HPV. In early November 2015, the European Medicines Agency’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee completed a detailed scientific review of the evidence related to a possible association between HPV vaccines and CRPS. The Committee concluded that the evidence did not support a causal link between the vaccines and the syndrome. Although U.S. vaccine safety information sources such as the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) have not suggested an increased risk of CRPS following HPV vaccination either, some post-HPV-vaccine cases have been reported to VAERS.

Much has been made of the Japanese suspension of HPV vaccination due to post-vaccination reports of serious chronic pain and concern about a possible association with HPV. Interestingly if we follow the link above to version 2, we find that the citation to these post vaccination reports is; Kinoshita T, Abe RT, Hineno A, Tsunekawa K, Nakane S, Ikeda S. Peripheral sympathetic nerve dysfunction in adolescent Japanese girls following immunization with the human papillomavirus vaccine. Intern Med. 2014;53:2185-200.

To better understand the reliability of the report of Kinoshita et al, we should consult the 2017 critique, Tackling Antivaxers in the Literature by David Hawkes, Joanne Benhamu and Julia Brotherton. Whilst a number of examples are addressed in this publication it is the widespread criticism of Kinoshita et al and the subject of peripheral sympathetic nerve dysfunction following the HPV vaccine that is significant.

The Introduction reads;

To understand strategies used by Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine critical authors, exemplified by a recent publication in the Nature published journal, Scientific Reports, to produce a false evidence base in the peer reviewed scientific literature.

Methods;

Critical analysis of anti (HPVE) vaccine papers, including retracted articles, links between authors of these papers and conflicts of interests, journals used to publish these papers, self citations and dissemination of these articles and associated commentary on social media.

HPV Vaccination: Japan;

Several publications have been produced by Japanese authors critical of HPV vaccination. In 2014, Kinoshita et al published a paper entitled “Peripheral Sympathetic Nerve Dysfunction in Adolescent Girls following Immunization with the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine” in Internal Medicine (a small journal with an impact factor of less than 1). To date it has been cited over 40 times. Despite several (published) letters of concern highlighting errors in the paper from highly respected researchers in the field the manuscript remains available. A recent publication by Aratani et al in the Nature published journal Scientific Reports has caused similar concern and is currently under review by the journal. This case garnered a much wider audience and an article highlighting concerns was featured in Science. This suggests that scientists are being more proactive in combatting bad HPV vaccination science.

In July last year Outcomes for girls without HPV vaccination in Japan was published in the Lancet. The author’s final paragraph read;

Sadly, Japan’s failure to provide HPV vaccination for young women has now become a global concern. Similar trends are occurring in countries outside of Japan, which will lead to increased incidences of HPV-related cancers. Although further efforts are required to overcome the many barriers leading to decreasing cervical cancer mortality, many challenges remain.

A comprehensive summary of the paper is available here, Lack of vaccinations increased risk of HPV infections in Japan;

Japanese women who became adolescents between 1993 and 2008, a period in which vaccination against cervical cancer was temporarily suspended, are at higher risk of having HPV16/18 infection, which is known to trigger the onset of cervical cancer. However, the infection risk can be decreased if vaccination is re-established. […]

The authors strongly recommend that HPV vaccination encouragement is resumed before the end of 2016, to reduce the risk of future infection in different age groups and to ensure all women will receive protection against cervical cancer.

As time progresses there continues to be a lack of evidence that may be considered as verification that HPV vaccines are causally linked to the conditions mentioned by Olivia Odey and described by Alina Rylko in The Northern Star article. Ms. Odey is heading to Byron Bay to begin a health blog. Yet in the present climate in which Australian vaccine safety and efficacy has been attacked by organised anti-vaccine lobbyists the tone of the article seems patently irresponsible.

The present consensus holds that CRPS and Central Sensitisation occur at levels expected of the populations effected. Evidence doesn’t support a causal link between the vaccines and the syndrome. Reports following HPV vaccination are consistent with what is expected for the age group. No fact sheets specific to these conditions list any vaccination as a cause or a predisposing condition. Data will continue to be gathered.

As yet there is no conclusive evidence to support Ms. Odey’s “belief” that Gardasil caused her condition.

———————————————————————

European Medicines Agency (EMA) virtual press briefing – Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines

A Little Boy Lost and the Queen of stealing children

Recently Meryl Dorey donned her crown to proclaim across the land the pressing need to hide unwell and at risk children from child welfare departments.

The audio of Ms. Dorey’s video is below;

For almost 36 minutes Australia’s self appointed queen of medical system dissent sought to terrify and motivate her Facebook Live audience by creating the illusion that child services deployed something like Black Ops caseworkers. Dorey cited a letter from a FACS whistleblower to the minister responsible for FACS NSW. The whistleblower had apparently, “in his six or seven years of working for FACS had not taken a child off of (sic) one family”.

The task of removing children was left to a particular mold of caseworker who the whistleblower advised were known as “removalists”. Dorey couldn’t find the letter, which she had read on her iPad whilst in her bed chamber. I have no reason to believe the letter doesn’t exist and have seen the term “removalists” in a newspaper reader comment published prior to Dorey’s performance. Yet I am skeptical as to certain motives attributed to these “removalists” based on Ms. Dorey’s reading of the whistleblower’s letter. She tells her audience that, “so many of his, um, workmates were actually called removalists because that’s all they did they didn’t care what happened to the children, um, they just thought of it as either their power trip or um, [chuckle] their sadisticness (sic), I have no idea but they were moving so many children off of (sic) families without ever trying to keep them together”.

With this horrifying scene set in our minds we are reminded that it’s now twenty days since Chase has been with his family. A court hearing that day was adjourned until the 22nd of June 2017 and, “until that time the parents have no visitation. They can’t even see their son.” Dorey then continues with a comparison to the stories we read about in the papers, “all the time where DoCS or FACS or Child Protection has been told that a child is at risk, um, where they’ve had, you know, terrible physical harm to the children. Where they’ve been burnt, they’ve had broken bones, they’ve been beaten to within an inch of their lives. And those cases it seems FACS does not, um, does not do anything with them, and too often the child there dies or is, um, permanently injured and nothing is done”.

Yes, you read that correctly.

“But you have a case like Chase and so may other families where parents are absolutely doing the right thing by their children. They are taking good care of their children and, um, they get their kids ripped off of (sic) them and put into hospital situation or care situation where they can be harmed significantly and traumatised”. Dorey continues to customise this invented “hospital situation” horror with the conviction of someone who has actually been there continually monitoring Chase. He’s always been with his family but for the last twenty days has been lying in a hospital somewhere, “without anyone to love him, without anyone to take care of him, without anyone to see when he’s feeling harm or pain or whatever, and this is the situation that so many families find themselves in”.

Yes, she actually said that.

(See related ♣ Update at end of post)

Then it’s on to the conspiracy behind the most recent update to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders – DSM-5. Dorey reasons that High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s will no longer be diagnosed under autism (“which is a way the government is going to try to reduce the explosion of autistic diagnoses”). However this claim essentially contends that diagnoses of severity have been abandoned. This is not so. What this DSM-5 conspiracy basically supports is the belief that governments and health authorities across the globe will try to suppress the number of autism diagnoses in an attempt to suppress the fictional “vaccine-autism” link.

However autistic severity is based on social communication impairments and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior (see Table 1). An extremely pertinent point with respect to severity is this reference to DSM-IV diagnoses which can be found in a great many references that rely on DSM-5 criteria. Eg; from CDC:

Note: Individuals with a well-established DSM-IV diagnosis of autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified should be given the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Individuals who have marked deficits in social communication, but whose symptoms do not otherwise meet criteria for autism spectrum disorder, should be evaluated for social (pragmatic) communication disorder.

Antivaccinationists want to have their DSM cake and scoff it down. Changes in the diagnosis of autism based on DSM criteria are not new. Demonstrably so the role of shifting diagnostic criteria in raising autism diagnoses is in no way an attempt to suppress the bogus “vaccine-autism” link . A September 2015 article in The Conversation looked at the widening diagnostic criteria of autism potentially changing what is regarded as normal.

Before 1980, the word “autistic” appeared in the DSM only as a trait to describe schizophrenia. But that doesn’t mean diagnostic criteria for autism didn’t exist. A 1956 article by Leo Kanner (who is credited with “discovering” autism) and Leon Eisenberg focused on two criteria: aloofness and a significant resistance to changes in routines, noticeable in a child by 24 months of age.

Further reading for those who favour or are familiar with Autism Speaks;

Dorey goes to great lengths to weave Munchausen syndrome by proxy into her fear campaign. She argues the DSM-5 term for this diagnosis is Medical child abuse. Rather, Factitious disorder imposed on another (FDIA) is the DSM-5 diagnostic term whilst medical child abuse has been in use for some time. Nonetheless Dorey wanders off into the realm of patently absurd claims as to what this abuse is. Primarily it is not abuse Dorey argues. Rather, “it is more symptoms that are involved with controlling how people raise their children”.

Homeschooling could lead to a diagnosis of medical child abuse. Eating or feeding your child organic foods. Being a vegan or vegetarian. These can all be used Dorey argues, “to say that you are abusing your child medically and, they can be taken off of (sic) you”. And then at last we get to what is indeed child abuse but for which there is no suggestion from government health departments that children will be removed due to medical neglect.

“Not vaccinating your child at all or fully could be medical child abuse and you could get your child removed from you”.

This indeed has meat on the bones. Considering people like Tasha David and others who insist their children are “vaccine injured” without any evidence and who subject these same children to dangerous pseudoscience based on a belief in widespread vaccine induced harm. Chase is a strong example where medical neglect albeit unintentional is clear.

At about the 6:20 mark Dorey tells us that up until about ten years ago she and her husband used to call their home the “underground railroad” due to the series of families they hid from FACS or DoCS. Dorey’s feelings about the “arrogant bastard” doctor from whom a family with a 12 month old baby with infected varicella sore on her face was fleeing are clear.

Dorey claims that about ten years ago the vaccine hadn’t been introduced. It was introduced in 1999. Nonetheless this family had fled from a hospital based doctor who was apparently going to prescribe IV antibiotics. The family wanted to try a topical antibiotic but we’re told the doctor lost his cool and threatened to call DoCS. The family took off and ran to the sanctuary of the Dorey household. A second opinion confirmed infection and puss were present. The advice was to simply keep it clean. As with Chase an alert (All Points Bulletin apparently) had been issued. We never hear of how this was legally resolved.

I must say, I have my doubts. Dorey has never mentioned this before nor any others on the “underground railroad”. I did document the August 2008 AVN money making scam through the shameful exploitation of a family that was hiding from authorities to avoid the neonatal hepatitis B vaccination for a newborn, born to an HBV positive mother. The AVN set up a fighting fund which ultimately made them just under $12,000. Although donors were led to believe this would help the family not one cent found their way to them.

As always – and this is exactly what I expect is the main game here – Meryl Dorey led her gullible followers into believing she will save them from the horrors outlined above. Join, donate, harass reputable authorities, MP’s and health advocates. With respect to the 2008 scam NSW Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (who had cause to investigate the AVN at length) observed in October 2010:

During the course of the inquiry evidence of possible breaches of the Charitable Trusts Act 1993 was detected in relation to the following specific purpose appeals conducted by AVN:
Fighting Fund – to support a homeless family, allegedly seeking to avoid a court order to immunise a child with legal and living expenses. The appeal ran for a short time in 2008 and raised $11,810. None of the funds were spent on this purpose.

Clearly Dorey dreams up these scams and exploitation of gullible followers for her own benefit.

Back to her video and Meryl swiftly moved on to the notion of “communities”. She proposes caring about and protecting each other. If anyone is being pursued by police, “because of a stupid doctor who basically couldn’t care less about the health of the child but is caring more about their ego, come to my house and I will take you in”. Acknowledging what happened at the Church of Ubuntu she realises police numbers outweigh those who have no regard for the law. So the plan is to have 20 or 30 people in each area “around Australia” on call. Human shields, Dorey suggests. To defend against DoCS. Her audience likes the idea.

Dorey on chase1

“It is time to take back control of our lives, our family and our country” rambles Dorey

Of course she’s not looking for confrontation. Nah. They are “Martin Luther King or Gandhi-like people”, Dorey assures listeners. Having just said however, “if the police show up they’re going to have to come through me”. Australia “is becoming a dictatorship”, she offers in way of explanation. Then comes more deplorable deception about Chase. Dorey claims;

I wake up in the morning and the first thing I think about is where is Chase. Is he okay? Is he crying for his parents and doesn’t know where the heck he is? And you know I’ve seen too many families hurt this way and I can’t sit back and let this happen to another family without trying to do something.

This is of course, total nonsense. Dorey was not involved in the Chase Walker issue until all the drama and danger had passed. Then she publically attacked Peter Little on Facebook with the aim of belittling him and painting him as a worthless force. A very easy task to complete. Having pushed her way into the centre she is now busy selling the Meryl Dorey brand. As always you must act because;

“Today it was Mark and Cini. Tomorrow it could be you”.

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Dorey is now arguing for the illegal heroics she recently criticised Peter Little for encouraging in others


Meryl had read a story about an elderly man whose daughter had power of attorney over him. She would take him to hospital where he didn’t want to go because “they treated him like garbage, they caused such pain and they were not making him better, the daughter was making him better”. Without explanation Dorey informs us that “the hospital” took power of attorney from the daughter who was arrested for trying to protect her father. She continues without a shred of evidence;

The father was taken to the hospital where he was killed by the hospital, they physically… and it turned out that because the hospital had made themselves guardian – not power of attorney of this older man, when he died half of his estate went to the hospital. There seems to be a financial interest in many of these cases. Not all of them but in some of them there does seem to be a financial interest.

Dorey advises her audience to register with a doctor via ACNEM – Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. This is in case a Fan of The AVN must attend a hospital for an emergency. The ACNEM doctor can be the family doctor and if necessary can provide a second opinion. Hospital doctors should mostly comply. But as Dorey reminds us;

They act like lords and masters but they’re not. They are our employees but they certainly don’t act like it. If I had an employee that acted like most doctors do I would have fired them years ago.

Dorey goes on for another 10 minutes boasting of her moderator power and yet again pretending B52 is another person than her. Mark and Cini through no fault of their own other than not following doctors orders are suffering the consequences of ignoring medical advice. But this is of course misleading and harmful nonsense. Consider the screenshot from NSW Community Services (taken June 12, 2017).

NSW Community Services – Child Abuse, Neglect

With respect to Cini and Mark Walker, Sue Iraci writes in part in MJA Insight in “We must hold charlatans to account”;

This story starts in 2012, when a much-loved baby boy was born to a young couple. Although the pregnancy and birth appeared to progress normally, the newborn struggled from the outset, with thick meconium in the liquor, early oxygen desaturation and a seizure within hours of birth. As time progressed, the child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, microcephaly and frequent seizures. Eventually, he was requiring multiple medications for seizure control, and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) feeding to minimise aspiration. […]

Early testing has not revealed a cause for the neurological problems, though a rare genetic cause is considered likely.

It is not clear what first set this family on the road to declaring the child “vaccine-injured”, but, by mid-to-late 2016, they had stopped using the recommended PEG formula, believing that he was allergic to it, and began substituting a homemade organic plant food puree diet, without the advice of a dietitian.

They also stopped the pharmaceutical medications and began giving the child unregulated cannabis oil, supplied by a deregistered doctor who had lost his registration due to personal polydrug use. They became part of a “church” that promotes the use of cannabis as a “healing herb” and, at around the same time, met a non-practising lawyer who encouraged them to “fight the system”. Having found in the neonatal records that the child had his first seizure prior to any vaccination, the narrative changed to “vitamin K damage”.

At the end of last month I published a post that looked at just how much harm Chase had been potentially subject to, and the shocking consequences to his health. There’s little doubt his parents were exploited by a mix of egotistical, reckless charlatans who hope to be unaccountable.

Meryl Dorey could have made use of evidence from last year’s NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Child Protection. A number of problems were found with the present system. This is the result of a strong democracy, not Dorey’s “dictatorship”.

However dealing with facts has never been Meryl’s strong point.

Dorey on chase3

Only one member is aware of the Parliamentary Committee and suggests a sensible approach. No “dictatorship” would allow such scrutiny

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Update June 16, 2017; Thanks to a comment from Bridgette Fahey-Goldsmith I can confirm that Cini and Mark were offered a visit with Chase which they refused because they were “overwhelmed with fear” according to Paul Robert Burton from the church of Ubunto. One can perhaps find no more striking example of the harm caused to Cini, Mark and Chase by charlatans peddling sheer hysteria with respect to child services.

What appears to have happened is that Cini and Mark believed they would come to harm if they were taken to visit Chase on their own. But why? Given social media chatter planning to snatch Chase, I can only conclude that the army of screaming, spitting “supporters” wanted their chance to chant protest songs, wave signs, abuse staff, disturb patients, terrify Chase and quite likely try to remove him from hospital. FACS and hospital staff would have predicted this also. Thus the option for a family-only visit was offered. As this didn’t suit the hippy behind the curtain, the exhausted, paranoid parents were likely fed this story of them coming to harm, alone, “somewhere on their own without anybody”.

Below is a 52 second outtake from a Facebook Live caper on June 6th 2017 in which Paul Robert Burton informed his audience;

Now I did hear… here in New South Wales, [that] Family Community Services NSW did contact Cini and Mark and they made arrangements for them to go on their own unaccompanied somewhere, and they both freaked, uh, really concerned. I don’t know in truth if they asked for them to go with their children, or they asked to attend somewhere on their own without anybody. I’ve never heard of anything like that in my life, ya know, um, in a situation like this, so I too would be fearful and I wouldn’t go anywhere unaccompanied knowing these kind of things are happening, so they didn’t go for that appointment but not because they didn’t want to see their son, ya know um, just overwhelmed with fear, ya know…

Burton also peddles the “neglected in hospital theme” as Dorey did, for a few seconds later he asks, “Who’s huggin’ him, who’s lookin’ after him, who’s massagin’ him?” The message of fear and the suggestion of Chase suffering alone is unmistakable. Burton claims to have “never heard of anything like this in my life” and that he too would be too fearful to visit his son “in a situation like this… knowing these things are happening”.

What things? No “things” are happening. An exploited and neglected disabled child is having his health restored after months of abuse from calculating and/or deluded charlatans. This is manufactured rubbish. The parents brave enough to flee from authorities across state lines are suddenly in fear of their own safety to seize their proclaimed goal – a visit with Chase. Frighteningly in the near future he may well be back at the mercy of the many circling vultures who await the return of their anti-medicine proxy with glee.

Chase Walker is indeed a little boy lost.

Listen to the audio below:

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Download the short Paul Robert Burton mp3 outtake here.