Wollongong Uni, Brian Martin & Judy Wilyman: How Far Is Too Far?

As many of you know a recent comment from one Judy Wilyman has drawn enormous attention.

Judy is a strident antivaccination lobbyist. On the matter of addressing or providing evidence, Judy’s record is arguably less than ideal. Perhaps more times than a reasonable person would accept Judy has inferred conspiratorial motives block her from exposing vaccines’ flaws.

Judy told an audience in W.A. that only “scientific research” would be presented to them. Then that the media only report on vaccine preventable fatalities in order to, “coerce us into vaccination” and as such “run fear campaigns”. It follows then that “We’re being educated by the media who have pharmaceutical interests”.

She continued with her Orwellian “science”:

There is no measure of delayed responses of vaccines or long term health studies of children monitoring the combined effects of vaccines. That’s the hard evidence that we would need to say this programme (childhood vaccination) is safe.

Writing to the Hon. Ms. Nicola Roxon [then] Federal Minister for Health, in November 2011 Judy asserted, “The Australian government will be committing a crime against humanity by introducing [immunisation incentives]”.

And that:

There is no historical evidence that vaccines controlled any of the infectious diseases listed in government immunization policies – in any developed country.

There’s a video considering this point here. Still, Judy worries over the “Conflicts of interest that exist in the science that is used in policy-development”. Or as she claimed with unusual confidence, when putting Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek “on notice” last January :

Until these issues are addressed the public is rejecting coercive or mandatory immunization policies that result in the discrimination of healthy individuals

What are these issues Judy has taken up on our behalf? You can read them in full conspiracy tilt here. Suffice it to say the lead up included:

The community has lost confidence in the ability of the Health Department to make decisions in the best interests of the public due to the lack of integrity in the science being used and the conflicts of interest in individuals on government advisory boards. There is overwhelming evidence for this and I will list this below. As a result of this corruption of the scientific process the community has lost confidence in the Government’s Childhood Immunisation Schedule as it is clearly driven by profit and not safety.

The community, for whom this policy is designed, is saying no to coercive mandatory immunization policies. Choice in vaccination in Australia exists more in theory than practice and this is not acceptable to the public. It is unethical for a Government to link considerable financial benefits to a Public Health policy involving a medical procedure which has not been proven safe or effective.

The community?! Yet this is not the view of the community. Judy signed the letter, “PhD Candidate”. She is studying at the University of Wollongong under Dr. Brian Martin – himself a defender of antivaccination “dissent”. How far is too far? Is Dr. Martin in agreement? Does the University of Wollongong condone ultimatums to our Health Minister, made in reflection of their student body?

Former Australian Of The Year and Founding Director of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Professor Fiona Stanley, is someone who has received awards for 17 years due to her work on children’s health. Long described by Judy Wilyman and Meryl Dorey as a corrupt human being who forces what Dorey calls “instruments of death” onto children, she merely described their combined message as “bizarre” and “so misinformed it’s crazy” [MP3].

Mind you, I have no problem with addressing conflicts of interest related to therapeutic goods’ manufacture, use and/or regulation. Far from it. Yet the need to ensure best practice in legislation and industry does not equate to verification of blanket corruption or hard evidence of “a crime against humanity”. The fact is that the evidence to support attacks on vaccines is simply not there.

Which raises a question of profound morality. Judy Wilyman makes much of her “PhD researcher” status. She makes excessive use of her association with the University of Wollongong. Her supervisor Dr. Brian Martin is president of Whistleblowers Australia and a professor of social sciences at the same university. Dr. Martin has been investigating “suppression of dissent” for around 33 years. He has authored a great number of articles and papers on the topic, 15 books and 5 booklets.

Perhaps Judy is selective in the conflicts of interest she rails against?

Some of you may remember the name David Lewis. He wrote a letter in response to Brian Deer’s BMJ articles on Andrew Wakefield. He chose to defend Wakefield after attending “a vaccine safety conference in Jamaica, where Andrew Wakefield discussed his research”. It was a five star extravaganza paid for by the “vaccine-safety” promoters. Wakefield was the headline act. Why was he there? Lewis is from The US National Whistleblowers Center, and was luxuriated with others similarly inclined.

In attending what was a grand conspiracy-riddled event designed to polish the evidence vacuum of “vaccine safety” into a slick profit making machine, Lewis informs us greatly as to how whistleblowers and dissent observers network, think and of course, defend those who claim innocence regardless of evidence. The US National Whistleblowers Center contact details are on Brian Martin’s website under “Suppression of dissent” Contacts. I stress strongly I am making no assumptions from a listed contact. However, one is able to identify trends emerging here.

Whistleblowers must surely hold evidence and facts above the status quo. They aim to expose wrongdoing at risk and/or great cost to themselves. As such they have contributed greatly to justice and in cases where the greater good has not been realised, have educated the public and made us aware. Yet a whistleblower is an individual. Usually focused upon one case of wrongdoing. What of those who form these organisations? Is their reliance upon dissent and whistleblowing a conflict of interest?

What of those, like Lewis, who would insert themselves into a controversial case of profound impact that has run it’s course? The whistleblowers in the Wakefield/MMR scandal were those who exposed his fraud. His colleagues who dissented, other staff at The Royal Free who were misled and of course journalist Brian Deer. Deer, asked to do a ho-hum story on the matter discovered a trail of money and wrongdoing and ultimately blew the whistle.

A glance at Dr. Martin’s publication list is informative. Understanding, defending and profitting from dissent is Dr. Martin’s life’s work. His Suppression Of Dissent website opens with:

This site deals with attacks on dissenting views and individuals. The general field of “suppression of dissent” includes whistleblowing, free speech, systems of social control and related topics. The purpose of the site is to foster examination of these issues and action against suppression. It is founded on the assumption that openness and dialogue should be fostered to challenge unaccountable power.

I do rush to add I have no problem with this. Dr. Martin claims a very neutral tone. I perhaps have more than a neutral interest. I spent many years investing huge amounts of time in defending the magnificent strides Australia made in illicit drug policy. Human Rights gave us Harm Reduction. Then suddenly, from world innovators in the mid 1980’s to the Evangelical puppetry that took hold during the great stupor of the Howard years, I saw incalculable inhumanity in my own nation.

Thus I strongly agree that “openness and dialogue should be fostered to challenge unaccountable power”. The evidence for even greater change is overwhelming. I dealt in it for many years. Similarly I was exposed to ample abuse of minority groups and am familiar with appalling abuse of power and corruption.

Also then, I would hope I have the experience that justifies my bemusement of Brian Martin’s self righteous defence of this “Air Guitar” of suppression of dissent and claimed oppression put on by Meryl Dorey and his student, Judy Wilyman. Their endless mantra is an insult to so many tangled in corruption from the gutter to the halls of power. It is bereft of morality and I sincerely question Dr. Martin’s defence of neutral academic interest.

When it comes to critical thought and morality we have a grave responsibility. To evidence. Not the evidence that we want, but that which is.

So now we must ask more about our devotee to suppression of dissent, Dr. Brian Martin, who inserted himself in the defence of the AVN. How far is too far? Why did he attack the real whistleblower, Ken McLeod, and in doing so wrench the hearts of the McCaffery family? The whistle was blown on a cruel charity fraudster, a scam artist, a fear monger and one who had made a long living from donations gathered from members with the promise of urgent action to solve manufactured dissent.

The AVN took in $1.8 million between 2004 and 2010. It’s estimated they owe over $180,000 in unprinted magazines for which they have already been paid the subscription fees. This blog is dotted with the fraud making the AVN many tens of thousands more and numerous scams to keep fear running. Does Brian Martin seriously defend and enable such conduct with the defence of academic neutrality?

Brian Martin publishes using his title at University of Wollongong and his UOW email address. So again, how far is too far for this university to turn a blind eye to sickness, degradation and incredibly the corruption that yields a profit for the AVN? Research and academia at the University of Wollongong appear synonymous with antivaccination schemes.

At what point does dissent become denial? Or rather, why should denial ever be labelled dissent? How can a PhD supervisor support denial and antisocial tactics in the name of education? Wilyman markets herself as currently completing my PhD in environmental health policy at the University of Wollongong, very quickly moving on to claim against all consensus:

The diseases that have been increasing since the late 80’s include allergies, anaphylaxis, ADHD, autism, coeliac disease, cancer and autoimmune diseases (e.g. arthritis and diabetes). The medical journals and animal studies link the ingredients of vaccines as a cause of these diseases. Although the increase in these diseases correlates to the increasing use of vaccines, the government has not funded research that would prove or disprove this plausible link.

However, The Australian Immunisation Handbook notes; Research has constantly replicated no link in the following:

  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and any vaccine.
  • autism and MMR vaccine.
  • multiple sclerosis and hepatitis B vaccine.
  • inflammatory bowel disease and MMR vaccine.
  • diabetes and Hib vaccine.
  • asthma and any vaccine.

If Judy Wilyman has her way, Dr. Brian Martin will turn a blind eye from evidence, from research and from moral obligation. His position at UOW brings more responsibility. Has he already jettisoned it in lieu of allowing dissent to thrive, no matter the consequence? How far is too far to move the line of ones personal interests and career over ones responsibility in academia?

If Wilyman has her way she will become perhaps the first person to receive a PhD solely from attacking successful public health policy. From lying. From selectively abusing research. From ignoring evidence. From appealing to conspiracy. Judy is doing no research as we understand it, despite the puffy chested bragging. She is reviewing literature from which she draws scurrilous error to envelope in semantics and put forth as argument.

In the last 2 1/2 years Wilyman appears to have completed 3 papers. All on the same topic. Arguing that not enough Aussie women die from cervical cancer to justify the HPV vaccine. Her 4th project was a poster – a synopsis of this argument using the same graphic. In 6 1/2 years she has published 12 times including another poster and a brochure.

Vaccines only exist thanks to corruption, Wilyman ultimately concludes in light of them having no benefit. Some dark, wicked machine that runs only to profit from making fellow humans sick. Sadly, Wilyman now adds, this includes the grieving parents of a tiny baby. Somehow in this delusion Judy includes others who value evidence, human and consumer rights and the quest for truth more than anything. “They” are all against Judy Wilyman.

This video out-take from Lateline is a quick synopsis of how Meryl Dorey sought the medical records of the same infant. Dorey demanded access to the infant’s medical records and contended that Paul Corben, Director of Public Health at the North Coast Area Health Service misled the public by confirming a pertussis fatality. Corben wrote to the family:

Ms. Dorey called me on the 12th of March seeking details of your daughter’s illness and death… Ms. Dorey contended that I had misled the public in attributing your daughter’s death to pertussis.

This was a key reason for forming Stop The AVN and lodging a complaint. Since then slurs against and abuse of the family has been arguably frequent. Reasonablehank covers the latest in a long string of pleas from the family for compassion.

The University of Wollongong look set to bestow a highly prized academic title upon a fraud. A woman who, no matter how passionate, no matter how driven, no matter how dedicated, is quite simply wrong. How possibly can the University of Wollongong award a doctorate to an antivaccination lobbyist? In absolute dissonance to the position of the worlds medical community no less?

There is no scientific doubt. Vaccination is an overwhelming success. All that Dr. Martin and the University of Wollongong can achieve by affirming and rewarding a fraud, is to drive down vaccination rates, mislead and confuse the public, spread disease, counter public health programmes, cost Australia ongoing millions and ultimately take lives. Innocent lives.

Dr. Martin insists he has no opinion either way. Just an interest. His topic list includes ample conspiracy theory interest however. Origin of AIDS, fluoride in water, vaccination. Areas wherein “dissenters” cause harm. Indeed his article defending Meryl Dorey attacking her critics and science itself, was published with reference to The University of Wollongong.

Thus this raises their position on the support or not of Australia’s vaccination regime. The article is entitled Debating Vaccination: understanding the attack on the AVN.

Debating vaccination quote

Dr. Brian Martin: Debating Vaccination

Should Dr. Martin justify how he can defend Meryl Dorey’s conduct as “dissent” when it is not backed by evidence. At what point does Ms. Dorey’s misinformation cause harm and how does seeking to impede public harm by legislative and regulatory means constitute an abuse of free speech? As an observer or an interested academic at what point should Dr. Martin accept he has already legitamised the antivaccination stance?

What ethics apply to someone who calmly claims to have a neutral interest in what is apparently dissent? When is the outcome of Dr. Martin’s work deemed to have contributed to a demise in public health? There is no doubt persisting with the demonstrably flawed antivaccination mantra at academic levels has catastrophic effects on vaccination rates. Can Dr. Martin really claim impartiality as he contributes to the reduction in immunisation? Indeed, is defending the AVN even moral or humane?

Ms. Dorey quotes Dr. Martin on her website to justify her actions. This pseudo-neoconservative plan has worked well. Dorey’s aim has been firstly to avoid serious discussion or examination of evidence. In creating an enemy and fabricating malignant actions such as threats, bullying, abuse of venue owners, needing security and so on the illusion that Dorey is abused begins to take hold.

Secondly, by continually naming and embellishing an entity as the enemy, whilst attributing malignancy, gives a constant psychological peg for readers to identify with. So it’s constantly “skeptics, The Australian Skeptics or Stop the AVN”. Dorey argues all are linked and an abundance of funds is bent on destroying her. To the conspiracy mind this makes absolute sense.

I’ve already deconstructed Dorey’s claim that her opponents don’t believe in free speech. It is fallacious and again fills the void that should be filled by evidence confirming she is an authority on the topic.

Recently in preparing more work Dr. Martin sent, as is his practice, a copy for comment to critics of Ms. Dorey. I asked why Meryl censors her websites and why she had not replied to emails I had sent defeating her pertussis and autism arguments. He replied in part:

Can you give me any example of a person who has been systematically vilified, subject to numerous formal complaints and who has received threats and pornography and yet who is quite happy to open the target group’s discussion forum to people from the attacking crowd? As soon as SAVN launched its campaigns, it closed down most prospects for genuine dialogue. I think it is completely unrealistic to expect openness from targets of this sort of attack. To complain about censorship by those being attacked this way is, to my mind, to misunderstand who are responsible.

Complaints are justified and serve a larger public interest. They are a legal avenue to raise dissent – something Dr. Martin would be well aware of. The HCCC findings were not quashed by Justice Christine Adamson in The Supreme Court of NSW and accordingly remain valid. Thus, I would argue Ms. Dorey is taking an easy way out. Dr. Martin is an intelligent man. Clearly he must realise that orchestrated attacks upon a public health policy such as vaccination will be resisted.

Ms. Dorey and the AVN were found to be dishonest and pose a risk to public health. That an appeal was won against displaying a web page to this effect does not change this.

The reality is that Meryl has no evidence and even more so, less regard for authority. Asked recently to remove an advertisement promoting an illicit and dangerous therapeutic good – the subject of a TGA warning – Meryl opened an appeal for $50,000 to fight the TGA. A “legal fighting fund”.

Threats and pornography cannot be levelled at opposition to Ms. Dorey. It is a cheap shot in no way linked to those keen to engage with Ms. Dorey and Dr. Martin lowers his own image in repeating these manufactured tactics.

Dr. Martin co-authored the article Exposing and opposing censorship: backfire dynamics in freedom of speech struggles in which we note:

The normal aim of censorship is to suppress speech, publications and other forms of expression in whole or part. But sometimes the act of censorship creates more attention to and support for the censored work and its creator than would have occurred without the intervention of censors. This process, which we call backfire, is most likely to occur in societies that place a high value on freedom of expression. […]

Devaluing the target makes attacks seem less objectionable, at least to most people. Censorship of liars and thieves does not generate the same outrage as censorship of courageous dissidents. Therefore it is predictable that those who want to curtail free speech will denigrate targets and critics. […]

Devaluation of targets can be countered by arguing for the value of all people, by exposing double standards and by exposing the technique of devaluation.

In his own words then, by devaluing “the target” (SAVN) through baseless accusations of intimidation, pornography, threats, oppression and labelling legal and vital defence of public health as an “attack”, Dr. Martin can defend Meryl Dorey’s censorship. She has no obligation to provide any evidence or engage in discourse. Yet, this is defensive relativism. By coaching Dorey to continue with the plan of persecution over evidence, filling her blogs with endless self pity and insinuation of abuse, threats… etc, attention is (in theory) drawn away from the lack of evidence.

But how far is too far? It is still cowardly censorship and such defence does not fool observers. By attacking critics as “vile, hate groups, pond scum, communists, losers, paedophiles” and more, Meryl has significantly weakened the justification of the argument. If the McCaffery’s can reciprocate in a polite and pleasant manner – albeit they’re begging for mercy – may I highlight the double standard at play and simply reject this defence.

More so, as has already happened by ignoring any discourse and censoring her sites Dorey has lowered any respect that critics and other interested parties would gladly afford her. Her only avenue to integrity is by engaging with the scientific and medical communities and all families of Australia.

Clearly serious questions arise as to Dr. Martin’s very well experienced manipulation of both sides of this issue. Given the absence of evidence to support antivaccination arguments and the abundance of evidence supporting all vaccine regimes Australians have a right to ask questions. Is Dr. Martin really an impartial observer or now an active player lending academic credence to the antithesis of the Immunise Australia programme, cleverly playing off two groups for his own benefit? In the present climate documenting and publishing on the antivaccination issue would prove very interesting.

In the past Dr. Martin has avoided answering what he thinks of the abuse of the McCafferys because, “I haven’t studied the area of offensive speech sufficiently for me to express an opinion.” Thus he abstained from “a viewpoint”. Will his answer about all of Dorey’s and Wilyman’s transgressions similarly come from hiding behind the emotion of a computer terminal? Is his entire zeitgeist of human morality, compassion, right and wrong down to what he has studied?

Review the above conduct of Meryl Dorey if you wish and ask if lacking sufficient knowledge of a very specific notion would let you off the hook for moral awareness or moral obligation. How many of you studied the area of offensive speech before forming an opinion well enough to express it on the treatment of the McCafferys?

I for one suggest this is a crafty defence. In defending and enabling antivaccination fraud there is a cost to Australian health that is solely the responsibility of Dr. Brian Martin. Already he is in quite some debt.

Is Dr. Martin incapable of discerning when denial has replaced dissent and in doing so destroyed the truth? It appears he would argue so. How far will the University of Wollongong go in defending this conduct? Do both Dr. Martin and the University condone an organised risk to public health, demonstrated to mislead the public through selective use of research. One that now seeks to use it’s Fundraising Authority to fight a Therapeutic Goods Administration order to remove advertisements for a dangerous, corrosive and illicit cancer “cure”?

What is the stance of both regarding Judy Wilyman’s misguided PhD venture? Her academic freedom is of great significance but if that freedom is allowed to be abused under the auspices of Dr. Martin and/or The University of Wollongong then not only have they failed Ms. Wilyman, but made a mockery of Australian Higher Education.

We don’t need a PhD to work this out, University of Wollongong. You have an ill informed renegade student threatening Federal Health ministers, our national immunisation programme and also the health of the Australian public. Her supervisor has burned the moral bridge between personal gain and community responsibility.

How far is too far? The time for action has long since passed.

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

Woodford Folk Festival Promote Dangerous Anti-Vaccination Myths

That’s a Blue Lotus flower. Beautiful isn’t it?

The perfect delicate corolla of petals opening up as if to embrace as much of nature as possible whilst it presents that corona or crown of pollen for harvest. For a short time it will maintain this wonderful display and then subside to make way for the next generation.

Humans have appreciated it’s beauty for thousands of years. Essential to life and death ceremonies, Egyptian artwork shows the priest Nebsini holding and gazing deeply into a Blue Lotus. Beautiful noble women reclining in splendor are also depicted holding the long stem, gazing as if hypnotised into it’s centre. The most important cultivated plant of ancient Egypt it was the flower of the water lilies that grew in the Nile. Nymphaea caerulea. The Egyptian water lily.

In Egyptian mythology it was believed to be the original container of the sun gods Atum and Ra. To Buddhists all Lotus flowers symbolise divine birth as they represent purity and spontaneity. The Blue Lotus itself represents:

The symbol of the victory of the spirit over the senses, of intelligence and wisdom, of knowledge

It contains the alkaloids nuciferene and aporphine which have mildly sedating effects. It is thought to be the plant eaten by Lotophagi in Homer’s Odyssey. “Loto” – lotus. “Phagi” – to eat. It is a favourite compound for aromatherapy and can be used to produce perfumes. Little wonder the Blue Lotus is a favourite of those who seek a more natural path in life and is often used to represent new age pursuits or brands. Blue Lotus means something to alternative mindsets.

Little wonder the guys at the Woodford Folk Festival extracted the essence of marketing from the Blue Lotus as it’s more modern property to claim with a straight face:

Pick up a steaming cup of herbal tea and head to the Blue Lotus, the Festival’s home of healing. Talks, workshops and forums invite conversation from some of Australia’s premier practitioners and open the door for Festivillian involvement…. Late afternoon forums nurture, with health, politics, beauty, revolution and adventure all playing their part. The Blue Lotus is a venue for adventures of the heart, mind and soul.

One of these “premier practitioners” is of course no such thing. How Buddha would react to see intelligence, wisdom and knowledge replaced with the cunning, recklessness and ignorance of the antivaccination lobbyist I can only guess. Last time Meryl Dorey met “lotus” on this blog was in exposing her lie that “measles in ancient Sanskrit means gift of the goddess”. It is actually a curse of the goddess Sitala Mataji, and the mother of the first child “burned” in revenge by the goddess fell into the holy lotus position to beg forgiveness.

I can guess what a great deal of Meryl’s misleading and potentially fatal scam will consist of. There will be the claim that the pertussis vaccine is not working because with 95% vaccination coverage, we happen to have the highest notification levels ever since records began, in 1991. As I noted yesterday however, Dorey will not tell these sitting ducks that of the 18 age groups making up notifications only 2 correspond to the 95% vaccination rate. The vaccination of small children is entirely unrelated to raw notification figures that contain no data on vaccine status or immunity.

16 age groups fall outside that at which immunity begins to wane. In these 16 age groups vaccination coverage is only 11.3%. When we add on numbers of infants too young to have completed pertussis vaccination, it’s clear Dorey’s figures are made up of the unvaccinated and non immune. She won’t tell these young people, young parents that yes, vaccinated people do contract pertussis – but a much milder form. That fatalities are only in the unvaccinated. Those not vaccinated who do not die yet fall gravely ill will be disabled for life if cerebral hypoxia ensues.

The Ancient Egyptians would be appalled at the abuse of their Blue Lotus

Dorey is touted by the promoters thusly:

Investigate before you vaccinate is the motto of the AVN. Having collected reports of thousands of Australian families whose children have been killed or injured by these shots, Meryl knows that the benefit of vaccines don’t always outweigh the risks. Her information is sourced from medical data and is necessary for anyone who is thinking about being vaccinated.

This alone is a collection of lies. Meryl has no reports of children “killed by vaccines”. For the organisers to simply repeat this atrocious lie of “thousands of Australian families” is a public irresponsibility of thunderous immorality. Whist it may seem idiotic at first glance, innocent Aussies will buy into these lies. The benefits of vaccination dwarf the infinitesimal risks. Her fear mongering is not sourced from medical data but cobbled together from conspiracy sites and unrelated data sets such as above.

measles mumps risk benefit chart from the encephalitis societyBasic MMR vs measles risk comparison presented by the Encephalitis Society New England

Dorey is unable to produce these so-called cases of injuries. She will maintain SIDS is due to the hepatitis B vaccine. That Shaken Baby Syndrome – what she calls Shaken Maybe Syndrome – is due to vaccines. She will perhaps misrepresent recent changes in SBS research as proving her point, as some of her members have done. Research is indicating babies may present without problems for many hours following injury. Thus, suspicion cannot always be levelled at the last person to be minding the baby before collapse. This also allows consideration of unseen or seen falls. In the USA convictions have been overturned and innocent people released from prison in light of this. But no, headlines claiming, New thinking in SBS cases, does not implicate vaccines.

For years the insinuation of knowing and having, “vaccine injured” children has sustained Dorey. Yet never have they been produced. No proof exists. Although seemingly delighted at Saba Button’s misfortune I doubt the bragging runs both ways. But at last Dorey has a token victim to abuse in pursuit of more converts. Yet will her audience be told that children die every year from influenza? Or that the risk from severe brain damage is up to 1,000 times greater for measles sufferers than in children with mitochondrial enzyme deficiency, who react to MMR? That MMR produces no fatalities.

Where are Dorey’s citations of vaccine deaths? Simple. Post hoc ergo propter hoc: After this therefore because of this. Confusing correlation with causation. In Dorey’s case (as evidenced by SIDS or claims) the time frame can be years or several years. Yet as many as 1 in 2,500 can die from measles. Deafness from mumps, blindness from rubella. Dorey will raise the isolated cases of mumps infection in unvaccinated religious communities and how such concentrations can overwhelm vaccinated subjects. She will claim this is proof vaccines do not work. She will ignore that “the outbreak is due to infection in an unvaccinated community”.

She’ll insist the autism rate is 1 in 38 using one Korean study. That vaccines are to blame. Yet the Australian rate was recently cited by Swinburne researchers as 1 in 160, as documented by MacDermott et al.2007, The prevalence of autism in Australia. Can it be established from existing data? whilst Baird (USA) and Brugha (UK) suggest 1 in 100 – that’s 1%. Other later reports in 2009, suggest it’s 1 in 100 in Australia. Famously the autism rate for adults using today’s criteria is also 1%. Using the DMS on novel adult groups we find 1 in 100 have autism and don’t know it. That’s also 1%. No adults found to have autism knew they had it, the study reports.

So in 30 years there may have been no change in autism frequency. The primary variable is diagnostic criteria. This in no way dismisses the seriousness of autism, or suggests runaway diagnosis. If anything it reflects sadly on the fact so many in-need children have been previously missed. Yet what it does do is debunk the claim that over the last 30 years autism has become an epidemic and thus, vaccines are to blame.

There’ll will be no end to Dorey’s misinformation. Homeoprophylaxis will be suggested. Natural immunity is the only real immunity. Perhaps a pox party for chicken pox immunity. The immunity equivalent off throwing your child of a bridge to learn to swim. The new P.G.S. – Post Gardasil Syndrome – strangely absent from medical literature. Clean water, fresh food and sanitation wiped out disease, not vaccines, she’ll insist. Which fails utterly to appreciate the Hib vaccine – which she’ll omit.
The success of the Hib vaccine 1993 – 2005 immediately dismisses the claim “better living conditions alone” wiped out some epidemics

Running hot with the pertussis deception will be her new trick, as she opined on the ABC, that the danger in vaccines is made worse by the fact Nicola Roxon and the media did not lead with stories on explaining Conscientious Objection, over the recent immunisation incentive. As if the first piece of advice we need is how to avoid vaccination. Tragically, Dorey will give very detailed instructions on how to avoid vaccination as a C.O. and still receive government payments.

So what do people need to know?

On July 26th, 2010 the HCCC published a public health warning following the AVN’s failure to post warnings that it was anti-vaccination. Prior to this the HCCC had investigated two complaints that the AVN provided false and misleading information. The HCCC concluded it’s investigation on July 12th and gave the AVN 14 days to publish the following on it’s website:

  • The Australian Vaccination Network’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 should not be read as medical advice; and
  • The decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider.

As you can see this is markedly more tame than the public health warning, that followed in the wake of her refusal. Which also added that the Australian Vaccination Network;

  • 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


… the AVN provides information that is inaccurate and misleading. The AVN’s failure to include a notice on its website of the nature recommended by the Commission 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.

Dorey will plead conspiracies to suppress her right to free speech. But she is the author of her own dilemma. So to spell out the obvious, most of what Meryl Dorey is railing against is by her own hand. Do not be fooled by Meryl Dorey. She is adept at conning audiences and continually seeks her own gain. Do not be fooled by this woman.


  • Ms. Dorey is a discredited anti-vaccination lobbyist deemed a threat to public health and as such can not be trusted to give reasonable or factual information.
  • Ms. Dorey has no qualifications in health, medicine, nursing, midwifery, public health or any discipline that would legitimise her argument.
  • Ms. Dorey misrepresents the import of overall infection by omitting proper context.
  • Ms. Dorey misrepresents the import of pertussis vaccination by omitting crucial information.
  • The information above is factual yet Ms. Dorey will not present it.
  • Ms. Dorey does not cite any reliable scientific information and presents arguments that are not supported by any public health authorities or published literature.
  • Ms Dorey’s aim is to discourage vaccination, to misinform – not promote informed choice.

Whether or not you become one of her victims, or the victims of irresponsible and selfish organisers is really up to you.

ABC Tonic – Whooping cough Advice

Vaccination: Making the right choice seminar with Meryl Dorey

A strange scene unfolded in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday in a run down hanger on an abandoned air strip just outside of Bungalow NSW. Meryl Dorey was preparing for her Perth seminar, Vaccination: Making the right choice.

All night trucks and vans had been delivering the Myths and Lies Meryl would be using in Perth. Coffins, boxes and sarcophagi had been brought in and stacked strategically around the hanger. Containing the non existent and the long dead mummified remains of the most faithful vaccination myths, all that remained was to bring them back to life with the power of Burning Stupid.

Clad in hobnailed boots and a paramilitary uniform Dorey held aloft a copy of Living Wisdom from August 2008 filled with requests for donations to a fictitious Fighting Fund. With such blatant lies that had worked so well, the Burning Stupid crackled and sparked upon the pages of this near sacred text. Dorey intoned the Restoration Spell at times flinging open a page with an ad’ for colloidal silver or immune boosting herbs, while the heavens boomed and thundered. The few journalists who had bothered to come crept a bit closer.

Double, double toil and trouble, I recall ye myths back from argument rubble

For we shall say again with bland impunity, That vaccination gives not immunity

Toxins and metals. They’ve never been tested, And natural disease has never been bested

Autism, cot death, high pitched crying, And fetal cells with our interminable lying

Sanitation, fresh food and clean running water, is all ye need for viral slaughter

And we shall charge them an entrance fee, To claim all vaccines contain MERCURY!

As Dorey intoned “Mercury” a loud crack rang throughout the hanger and the heavens clouded over with menacing clouds. At the same time the lid shot off one of the coffins and a very dead very mummified corpse sat up clad in some type of armour clutching a sword. Reporters recognised him from the battle of Castle Mamamia as the powerful Myth Vaccines Contain Mercury.

He glared at Meryl and said, “I thought we agreed last time we’d change it to Sanitation, fresh food and clean running water, is all ye need or all ye oughta? I mean, seriously who’s gunna keep fallin’ for vaccine slaughter? Even the allopaths don’t go that far, not to mention treading on the toes of Natural Immunity. You just wait ’till Improved Living Standards comes ’round and he’ll agree, you’ll see. I sometimes wonder if you even know what you’re doing woman. The parsnip lady would never go that far. I mean you are just so, so full of bollocks it staggers me and comin’ from a long dead myth that’s really sayin’ somethin’ that is. The idea is to lie to ’em not treat ’em like complete fools. An’ what’s with that last line? It makes me look responsible for stealing their hard earned money, an’ that’s your doin’ that is, not mine.

“I mean, we might be liars, murderers and bringers of pestilence but a man’s earnings are rightly his, an’ I ‘aint no thief, no Sir. An’ I suppose you’ll be asking for donations too eh? Yeah? Blimey you’re pathetic Dorey, just pathetic. Money, money, money. Got another Fighting Fund in the makings ‘ave we? Help ya out in court maybe? Ooooh. Aaaaah. They’re suppressing my right to speak. Whaaah. Yeah right. Forgotten where we’re headed today have we? You’re gunna parade us Lies and Myths up and down the Boulevard Centre in Perth with… what was it again..? Oh yeah, Impunity. Impunity!? Hardly suppression of the right to free speech Meryl, blimey. Just remember we made you Dorey, not the other way around. I’m going out for a reefer if anyone cares to join me”.

With that he headed for the doorway mimicking Dorey’s duck bum walk reciting her spell in a high pitched tone. Before Dorey could open her mouth a polite round of applause broke out from the ever increasing crowd of Mummy’s, Myths and Corpses roused from stasis in part by Dorey’s spell but perhaps more completely by Vaccines Cause Mercury‘s speech. After all, it had been a contentious issue this trip with many Lies and Myths voting against helping out Dorey at all.

Her self pity, cries of oppression, outright criminality and the inability to tolerate dissenting comments was enough in itself. Yet falling under the spell of this Brian Martin chap who was rorting the entire Vaccination Myth empire for his own gain with cowardly and underhanded tactics was an affront to chivalry. Now here, her prancing about in a paramilitary suit just seemed to confirm everything.

Always the quintessential gentleman with impeccable manners learned from his time at the Royal Free Hospital and within the pages of The Lancet Vaccines Cause Autism strode out from behind his sarcophagus. “Yes, yes we thank my good friend Vaccines Contain Mercury for the light entertainment. Always unpredictable after a long rest. But of course we thank our hostess for bringing us here, Ms. Meryl Dorey Australia’s foremost expert on vaccination”, he managed with a flourish which was met with muttering guffaws and the odd clap. Someone may have farted.

Vaccines Cause Autism shot a quick glare in the direction of the offending noise. Having taken the time for a quick snoop, he continued without missing a beat, “Now there’s coffee and tea towards the front, fresh sandwiches and wraps over to the side, vegetarian a bit further along and vaccinated infants and children hanging in cages above each table. Do keep in mind you have absolutely no effect on them so let’s try to not get sidetracked like the debacle over at Jim Carrey’s back in 2008. Any questions so far”?

“What’s that awful smell”?, asked Vaccines Haven’t Been Tested.

“I’m… I’m not feeling very well”, answered Improved Living Standards Wiped Out Vaccine Preventable Disease.

“No, that’s not it”, chimed in Vaccines Contain Toxins, “I can smell it too. It’s worse than that new Lie over there, My Uncle Went Into Hospital For Cancer Treatment And Died Perfectly Healthy – and he’s still decomposing”. Vaccines Cause Autism chatted quietly with Meryl for a moment.

“That’s Nimbin”, he announced. “Slight North Westerly breeze this morning chaps. Awfully sorry what, but let’s just get on with the task at hand. Tally Ho and all. We may be dead, decomposing and mummified but Nimbin residents have a power we can only dream of”. The crowd mumbled it’s grudging admiration. Vaccines Cause Disease giggled in his usual insane manner.

Without warning, Improved Living Standards collapsed. “Medic!”, screamed Meryl Dorey. No-one moved. The sound of crickets could be heard coming from the long grass outside. One of the Myths mumbled quietly to Dorey. “New Age Wellness Volunteers!”, she yelled. Suddenly the hanger was bustling. There was Reiki, Reflexology, Quantum Healing, Succussing, Diluting, Succussing, Diluting… and herbs. By golly there were herbs. Cries rose above the din. “Ear candles!”… “Acupuncture needles!”… “Positive vibes”… “Cosmic consciousness”…

“What’s wrong with him?” cried a homeopath.

“He doesn’t exist”, came the reply.

“Perfect!” responded the excited homeopath. “You”, he cried pointing at a Reiki guru with his chin. “Take this phial of nothing and dissolve it in this beaker of water with more nothing”.

“You just did that 1400 times already”, replied the Guru.

“Fool! It just looked like nothing. One day quantum physics will explain it, but we don’t have time to wait. Now pour, shake, succuss, empty and repeat 1000 times. Speed is of the essence”.

“Did someone call for essence?”, cried the Aromatherapist, who reporters confirm smelt absolutely gorgeous. They continued this way for an hour or more. Eventually some New Age weirdo looked up and explained. “It’s useless… it’s the Mamamia article. It’s been shared countless times on Facebook, emailed across the globe, retweeted again and again and again. With Hib vaccine success between 1993 and 2005 no-one believes in this Myth.

“Judy Wilyman does”, announced Dorey. “You know… PhD Judy!” The assembled crowd stared, blinked, shook their heads and sighed deeply. Improved Living Standards faded away to dust in the absence of any belief. Dorey tried hard but the possibility of profit and media attention filled her head.

During the futility of reviving a Myth the other Myths had backed away. This could happen to any of them. In fact, it regularly did. Which is why they remained partially optimistic. Hoping to brighten the mood Diseases Are Harmless looked at Vaccines Cause Autism. “Don’t you have something to say?”, he asked grinning suspiciously.

“Oh yes”, answered Vaccines Cause Autism. “A big welcome to our newest Lie, My Uncle Went Into Hospital For Cancer Treatment And Died Perfectly Healthy. He’s likely to get a run if things go quiet so make him feel at home”. A cheer went up and some back slapping ensued. All agreed their freshly decomposing friend would be best off known as just Uncle.

“Not that”, urged Diseases Are Harmless nodding at a shiny new ring on Vaccines Cause Autism’s finger. “Don’t be shy now”.

“Well, I wasn’t going to make a fuss…”. The crowd looked on expectantly and Vaccines Cause Autism was clearly embarrassed. “Oh well chaps if you insist. As vulgar as I find self promotion, I guess it’s in everyone’s interest… I was Knighted for services to the Realm of Mythology in sustaining the Power of The Burning Stupid. I suppose they reasoned if anyone was stupid enough to keep coming back time and again when he clearly doesn’t exist, then why not annoy him by making his name a bit longer”. A great cheer went up and arms, legs and heads were thrown into the air in celebration. A few verses of “For He’s A Jolly Good Myth” followed.

“Now, now”, Vaccines Cause Autism went on. “I myself argued there are much older myths more worthy of a title. Improved Living Standards for example is, or presently was, a generation older than I. Vaccines Contain Toxins was out and about terrifying innocent people back in the 1930’s with stories of puss and blood. Whilst Diseases Are Harmless is a senior amongst seniors”, he added raising his sword in a gentlemanly salute, ‘”Not to forget Vaccines Contain Mercury without whom I would never have gotten started. My old friend Vaccines Contain Monkey Kidney Cells also has quite a history. I say, Monk old chap what’s happened!?”

“I’m only half a myth these days lads”, replied Vaccines Contain Monkey Kidney Cells, crawling legless across the floor. “Never mind, I chip in where I can. The Parsnip woman mentioned me on 60 Minutes a while back. Most invigorating”.

“That’s the spirit that’s sustained me chaps! Not only is he a myth today, he’s never even existed. We should all take a leaf out of his book”, intoned Vaccines Cause Autism.

“Yes but you’ve done the most damage by far and been shown to not exist most thoroughly”, added Vaccines Haven’t Been Tested. “Even that law firm paid that no-longer-a-doctor chap who stood to gain by using you and a bum disorder to make money from so-called treatment and also filed patents for a mono-what’s it vaccine, has been crucified man. And the paper he fraudulated got with-tracted.”

“Ahem”, began Vaccines Cause Autism looking for all the world like a professor. “A few corrections. The ‘bum disorder’ or disorders you speak of are Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia and non-specific colitis, to be more accurate. The paper that was retracted from The Lancet was titled Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children and was indeed fraudulent. It is still cited as accurate by crackpots such as dear Meryl over there and adds considerably to my mythical powers as part of my hectic schedule entails being Vaccines Cause Pervasive Developmental Disorder In Children. Yes, the chap, Andrew Wakefield if I recall, did stand to make a great deal of money from keeping me captive to serve his own purposes and he did file a patent for a monovalent vaccine. A beastly man with an appalling ego, would you believe he is also worshipped by our friend Dorey who insists he will one day be vindicated?” Laughter.

“It’s all a bit academic now, this trivalent MMR vs monovalent shots business. I say, hard to believe I began my first assignments as MMR Causes Autism, what? Ghastly chaps, just ghastly. Imagine if all I’d achieved was to scare people into thinking just one lot of shots caused autism, and the only one to benefit would have been a stuffy British crook hired by a stuffy British legal team. My powers of course, have since expanded exponentially – especially since I joined up with you chaps under the Realm Of Mythology. I could not have done it without my best and most loyal friend, Vaccines Contain Mercury, who is just as entitled to a knighthood as any Myth I’ve known. No braver Myth would I choose to have at my side. Only after years together was I able to expand from MMR causes autism, to the number of shots causes autism to now… well, pretty much any vaccine causes autism. Ha! Three cheers for human stupidity!”. The crowd cheered.

“Did I hear my name?”, came a muffled response from Vaccines Contain Mercury who had found the refreshment table and was shovelling in sandwiches by the handful, enjoying them immensely. “We can’t take any contraband so…”, he shrugged his shoulders, handing out what was left of his stash to his fellow Myths.

“Oh, rather! Just saying what a loyal and fast friend and Myth you’ve been dear chap”, Vaccines Cause Autism replied.

Always quick on his feet, Vaccines Contain Mercury winked, “I see you’ve told them then… Sir”, he grinned. Then, “Well I say lads, he should be havin’ none of this Dorey woman who would hand our new knight of The Realm back to Wakefield in handcuffs if she could. They’re just usin’ us. We always cop a decent hiding in her hands. They can’t frame their arguments to keep us going for long. And they’re weird. Who’s that Gollum looking guy on a leash by Dorey’s side?”

“That’s Andrew MacDonald”, quietly offered Diseases Are Harmless. “Keep ya distance. Mad as two hens on a honeymoon. He’s the guy who wrote to parents who’d lost a baby to a vaccine preventable disease, saying… get this, that God chose the baby for this purpose. The baby hadn’t been vaccinated, but he starts using us myths in this rambling abuse”.

“What the…?”, Vaccines Haven’t Been Tested cursed as Vaccines Cause Disease shrieked and leaped about on all fours ready to devour MacDonald. Even My Child’s Immune System Will Be Overwhelmed, usually a timid pathetic little myth was on his feet swearing and peering toward this Andrew MacDonald character. Voices were raised in agreement that God was off limits. Unprovable either way. Known for their tolerance, Vaccine Myths themselves are multi-faith and of no faith.

Diseases Are Harmless continued. “He reckons that people who use vaccines must by definition think God is not perfect. That they must think God forgot to add toxic heavy metals, pig cells and chicken cells ‘found in vaccines’ to people. He goes on to claim research, not Myths, support the choice not to vaccinate”. With a roar Vaccines Contain Mercury was on his feet sword at the ready.

“I’ll kill him myself. How dare he tamper with my ontology! He places us all at risk. I decide how I’m used in tormenting humans – not stupid humans themselves. Research? Bah! There is no research to support antivax arguments, only us Myths. Without constant retelling as Myths we face potential doom. I have an analogue in that some vaccines contain ethyl mercury. Thus, I volunteer to skewer the critter. WTF do you think will happen if we allow insane humans to begin to voice their own myths? I told you this Dorey was bad news. First the disgraced physicist, Brian Martin – now this lunatic. It’s simple exploitation. We are all more powerful than her. Without us, she is nothing! Nothing! I say we waste the bastard”.

A large muscular Myth whose face was hidden was standing nearby. It was Big Pharma. “You don’t think that’s hasty? This thing may be of use to us. I mean, chicken cells, pig cells? Ha! They aren’t even here. They are ex-Myths. Clearly MacDonald is regarded as a fool by human standards. Thus he has no power over Myths beyond incoherent insanity. The lack of retelling led to the demise of Chicken cells and Pig cells years ago. He cannot revive them. His story sounds like rubbish even to us Myths. Surely we can torment him simply for satisfaction. For practice”.

Diseases Are Harmless cleared his throat. “Big Pharma, he also asked these parents if they had so much faith in you outstripping God do they not doubt you at all. Or something… he’s clearly insane and it’s hard to…”.

“Blasphemy!”, thundered Big Pharma drawing his sword, assuming a battle position. “That’s settled then. We waste the bastard! Slowly”. There was vigorous agreement.

“I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit”, offerred Vaccinated Kids Get The Disease. Everyone turned to look at him. “Sorry, I’ve just always wanted to say that”.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen. And monkey and ladies”, interrupted Vaccines Cause Autism nodding suavely toward the few blushing ladies who had recently joined as Lies about high pitched screaming, disturbed sleep and fever caused by vaccination years after the event. “Surely we can agree on an accommodation that will suit us in general and solve this particularly repugnant revulsion known as Andrew MacDonald. I say we play along with our hobnailed friend over there. Take full advantage of the refreshments and Stupid on offer.

“Partake of Vaccines Contain Mercury‘s herbs – the only ones here that do what they claim to (laughter) – and then enjoy a most invigorating, splendid regeneration as old Dopey parades us about in Perth, what? We are above this AVN train wreck, and we don’t even exist! Her time is almost over. We shall abandon her when it suits us. Or when she starts groping for money. Whatever comes first. Then move on to better things. Before that however, there is Burning Stupid galore so I urge to enjoy your fill. If perchance, MacDonald is harmed in the process, burned by his own Stupid or dies of influenza you have a Knight of The Realm to vouch for your innocence. Does that not make sense?”

Another cheer and the crowd dispersed to enjoy the rejuvenation.

“Fancy a stroll to take in the morning air”, Vaccines Cause Autism asked Vaccines Contain Mercury. “I hear the breeze is no longer coming from Nimbin”.

“Care to partake?” tempted Mercury with a large reefer.

“Why not? You only live 764,842 times… so far”, joked Autism.

“Remember Smoking Is Good For You?”, asked Mercury wistfully.

“I often think of him. A dear friend sadly missed. You know, we shall outlive a few of those here today but ultimately….”.

“Yes, ultimately we too will cease to exist… forever. Say, if I happen to accidentally stub out this roach on the back of Andrew MacDonald’s neck, would…er…?”

“Would anything happen? Why no, my friend – you don’t even exist”, replied Autism with a grin.

“Repugnant Revulsion? You actually said Repugnant Revulsion?”

“Did you like it? I thought it was rather fitting”.

“Well, I had a few ideas myself. But with the ladies present…. and a Knight of The Realm also… Sir”, answered Mercury.

Vaccines Cause Autism let out an audible groan.

And so it was, two chuckling dear old friends, Vaccines Cause Autism and Vaccines Contain Mercury, more aware of their own non-existent mythical status than the predatory human antivaxer about to put them to use, shot her a withering glare of disgust and strolled out into the morning air.

Andrew MacDonald trapped in a prison of his own making, chewed on his leash.

Immunisation: Why we do it and how ‘herd immunity’ works

Denial of community immunity or herd immunity is a common feature of antivaccinationists.

In fact groups that spread harmful disinformation, such as the Australian based Australian Vaccination-risks Network (AVN), have for years been refining the denial of this evidence based fact. Notably they misrepresent what herd immunity is, primarily by referencing an aspect of herd immunity or an expected result of herd immunity.

The Australian Government Department of Health offer this definition;

If enough people in a community are immunised against an infectious disease, there is less of the disease in the community, which makes it harder for the disease to spread.

Immunisation protects both people who are vaccinated and also helps the entire community. It helps protect those who are too young to be vaccinated and those who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons. This is known as community (herd) immunity.

Claiming that the “laws” of No Jab No Pay and No Jab No Play “are based on herd immunity”, Meryl Dorey of the AVN contends;

The theory claims that the unvaccinated are more likely to contract and transmit diseases than their vaccinated peers.

Travel to a largely unvaccinated country, get shots and you’re apparently in a protected bubble. Back home and they’d have us believe we need a 95 per cent plus vaccination rate to be protected and that a lone unvaccinated individual can be responsible for an epidemic.

Indeed rather than “claim” that unvaccinated community members will contract and transmit disease, herd immunity provides greater protection for the unvaccinated. Nonetheless herd immunity cannot protect any particular unvaccinated individual and is very important with respect to protection from measles infection.

This is why individuals who cannot be vaccinated for specific reasons or those with weakened immune systems will be better protected in a community that has a vaccination level of 95% or above. In certain communities where vaccination levels are low, herd immunity and the cluster of immune individuals doesn’t exist. In this instance measles can easily spread from an infected individual to unvaccinated individuals.

If not for herd immunity providing protection to those who refuse vaccination and deny their children the protection of vaccine induced immunity, many of the false beliefs held by antivaccinationists could not persist. The success of so-called natural remedies, homeoprophylaxis and so on persist simply due to the protection of herd immunity.

  • The video below was produced by the BBC and provides an accurate summary of vaccination and herd immunity.

Immunisation: Why we do it and how ‘herd immunity’ works – © BBC News

Discredited anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Judy Wilyman has even used denial of herd immunity in her ongoing attacks on Australia’s successful vaccination policy. Wilyman wrongly contends that only public health reforms such as sanitation led to the control of vaccine preventable diseases.

Vaccines did not create herd immunity to control infectious diseases, is an open letter on her website. The monumental flaw in her fallacious claim begins with her use of only mortality, and no morbidity data.

Also, Wilyman refers to changes in public health occurring before 1950. This ignores more modern vaccines such as that for Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) used in Australia from 1993 and later in Kenya from 1999.

Only vaccination can explain the control of Hib and the emerging success of the HPV vaccine.