We are constantly being told that the AVN is anti-vaccine and the we somehow try to prevent parents from hearing about the ‘benefits’ of vaccination (information about which is available through 99% of media reports and virtually 100% of doctor’s offices / hospitals / council clinics) whilst forcing them to listen to our information on the dangers and ineffectiveness of this medical procedure.
Yet in reality, we are the ones who tell people to see their doctors before making a decision about whether or not to vaccinate their children. We are the ones who include links to many mainstream medical sources on our website. And we are the ones who always try to include vaccine ‘experts’ in our seminars when they occur.
Next week, I will be speaking at two seminars on the Far North Coast of NSW – in Byron Bay on the 19th of June and in Lismore on the 20th.
Before I had even confirmed both venues, I invited Dr Chris Ingall, one of the most outspoken proponents of mass vaccination in this area, to be a speaker. Below is the letter I sent him on the 24th of May:
Dear Dr Ingall,
I hope this letter finds you in good health.
I am writing to inform you that the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), Inc will be hosting two seminars on the issue of vaccination in the Lismore and Byron Bay area next month. I would like to ask if you would be prepared to be one of the speakers so that those in attendance will be able to get a balanced view of this most important issue.
You will be given 1/2 an hour for your talk and I would be very happy for you to be there to answer questions at the end of the seminar as well.
If you would feel more comfortable, I am happy for you to suggest a moderator for the evening who will be fair and unbiased.
The date for Lismore is locked in at the 20th of June and the seminar starts at 7 PM and will go (with question time) until approximately 10 PM
Byron Bay is not yet confirmed, but it will either be the day before – the 19th of June or the day after – the 21st of June.
I would appreciate it if you could let me know as soon as possible if you are available for either or both of these events so I can try to arrange an alternate speaker should these dates not fit with your schedule.
I had to resend the invitation to him on the 28th because I hadn’t received an answer, but on the 29th, he wrote back to me as follows (an email which I felt was very cordial):
Thank you for your kind invitation to speak at your upcoming Seminars. Unfortunately I am unavailable to talk on those evenings. I am sure you will find someone of equal or greater interest to fill my spot.
I responded by thanking him for getting back to me and I asked if he would be able to suggest anyone else who might possibly be interested in speaking at these events but he did not reply.
On the 30th of May, I sent the same letter (with the addition of confirmed details for the Byron Bay event) to Mr Vahid Saberi, CEO of the North Coast Medicare Local. I also sent it to Mr Paul Corben, Director of Mid North Coast Public Health and called his office and spoke with his assistant, Colleen, regarding this event. I tried to call Marianne Trent who is the immunisation coordinator at the North Coast Public Health Unit, but she will not speak with me, return my calls, emails, faxes or letters. She is a public servant who does not believe it is her role to serve all of the public – only those who are not associated with the AVN.
I never received a response from Vahid Saberi and it was only after 3 calls to Paul Corben’s office, the most recent being yesterday when I once again spoke with his assistant, Colleen, that I finally received a response from the man himself:
So while it seems that the mainstream medical authorities like to talk a big game about supporting choice on health issues and wanting to ensure that everyone is fully-informed (since that their requirement according to the National Health and Medical Research Council), when it comes down to it, their actions speak far louder than their words. They are anti-choice and will do everything in their power to keep the parents of Australia from learning about the other side of the vaccination debate – a debate they refuse to participate in.