Disease denialists dangerous
The glowing mothers-to-be, beaming, healthy babies and contented females adorning its very slick home-page give no hint of the Australian Vaccination Network's mission: to convince Australians in general, and mothers of babies and children in particular, that vaccinations are dangerous.
The New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) has had enough, finding that the AVN provides "inaccurate and misleading" information and "quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous". The AVN has been ordered to display a disclaimer on its website:
It is required to state "information provided by the AVN should not be read as medical advice" and a parent's "decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider".
Even worse, the very lovely crew at AVN, led by Meryl Dorey, is alleged to have badgered "the parents of a child who died of whooping cough last year, after the parents advocated the importance of childhood vaccination." (The following exchange on ABC's Lateline.)
STEVE CANNANE: Dana McCaffery died of whooping cough in March last year. She was just 32 days old - too young to be vaccinated against the disease also known as pertussis.
What her parents didn't realise was that they lived in an area with one of the lowest rates of childhood vaccination in the nation and one of the highest rates of whooping cough.
The McCaffery's live just a few kilometres from the headquarters of the Australian Vaccination Network. They say they've been harassed by the AVN since their daughter died and that the AVN has made repeated claims that Dana didn't die of pertussis.
TONI MCCAFFERY, PARENT: Our daughter wasn't even buried and it began. It began the day before her funeral. It began with phone calls to the Health Department to get her medical records contending she didn't die of pertussis.
STEVE CANNANE: This email from Paul Corben, the director of public health at the North Coast Area Health Service, backs up Toni McCaffery's claims.
PAUL CORBEN, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH, NORTH COAST AREA HEALTH SERVICE (male voiceover): "Ms Dorey called me on 12 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."
MERYL DOREY: I never said any of that. All I asked was ...
STEVE CANNANE: That's what he says in an email to Toni McCaffery.
MERYL DOREY: Well, I'm sorry, that's not true. That is not true. All I said was, "How was the diagnosis made? If it was a quick test, do you know that it's a real test and that the result is real? Was it really whooping cough?"
STEVE CANNANE: Meryl Dorey says repeatedly that Dana McCafferey "supposedly" died of pertussis.
Dorey is unrepentant, claiming the AVN provides "balance":
Our position is to provide information that balances the information that parents get from their doctors and from the government. We have never said that we provide both sides of the story. We don't.
The information AVN provides is definitely not "balanced" and is best described as unscientific.
Here's the AVN's propaganda on polio vaccination:
There are two sorts of polio vaccines - either or both of which can be used in Australia. One, the live-virus (Sabin or oral polio vaccine) contains 3 strains of live polio virus. It can cause polio infection in the vaccine recipient as well as those who are in close contact to them for up to 90 days following vaccination. In fact, aside from imported infections in immigrants, the OPV (oral polio vaccine) is the sole cause of polio infection in both the US and Australia and has been for over 30 years.
The injected poio vaccine (Salk or IPV) does not contain live polio virus but is still associated with polio disease since any injection may cause paralysis through what is referred to a provocation polio.
Both vaccines are cultured on animal tissue and are known to be contaminated with many monkey and other viruses. Only 3 of these - SV-40, SIV and Simian Foamy Virus, have been studied. SV-40 and Simian Foamy Virus are both associated with the development of cancer in humans and laboratory animals. SIV (Simian Immuodeficiency Virus) is thought to be the cause of HIV infections in humans, leading to AIDS infections. For more information on this connection,read,The River, by Edward Hopper and The White Death by Julian Cribb.
According to the Australian government's Immunisation Handbook:
Oral poliomyelitis vaccine (OPV) is no longer in use in Australia.
The last notified case of wild poliomyelitis in Australia occurred in 1977 due to an importation from Turkey, but 2 [OPV] vaccine-associated cases were notified in 1986 and 1995.
Polio vaccines are not "known to be contaminated with many monkey and other viruses" and the proposed SIV contamination link to HIV has been thoroughly debunked.
Measles, the only other AVN anti-vaccination screed I checked is equally inaccurate and sensational.
While at the site I did note a tangential link with self-proclaimed celebrity health guru Dr Peter Dingle. An AVN site search produces numerous links to Murdoch PhD candidate Judy Wilyman, who regards Dingle as something of a mentor. And lo and behold, both Wilyman and Dingle teach at Murdoch University. Surely the powers that be at Murdoch aren't happy with Wilyman using her PhD candidacy to give her anti-vaccination screeds a cachet of authority.
By the way, AVN archives a 99 page 2006 Wilyman error-filled opus on the whooping cough vaccine in which, amongst other things, Wilyman say aluminium is a "heavy metal". Really, these people are dangerous.