by Meryl Dorey

Anti-choice campaigner, Alison Gaylard
Anti-choice campaigner, Alison Gaylard

My local newspaper, The Northern Star, ran the following article regarding the proposed punishments of law-abiding Australians trying to make informed choices for the protection of their children. These parents — the majority of whom are (according to numerous Australian government studies) highly educated and well-researched on this subject — believe that:

1- Vaccines carry serious risks including the risk of lifelong disability or death. 

2- Vaccines are not as effective as doctors have claimed them to be.

3- Healthy unvaccinated children do not carry or transmit diseases to others, though their vaccinated counterparts do (e.g. those who have received live virus vaccines and those who have been vaccinated against pertussis (whooping cough), who recent studies show may be more likely to infect others with the illness)

4- In a democratic nation such as Australia, that is a signatory to the Nuremburg Code, personal informed choice is sacrosanct and must never be abridged in any way.

Many of you may not know this, but the AVN was instrumental in the lobbying efforts to introduce a conscientious objector clause into Federal legislation so that a generation of parents between then (the late 1990s) and now was able to access all government benefits. Now, moves are afoot to wipe out our hard work on your behalf.

Below are my responses to this article (the original article is in block quotes below). I would love to hear your feedback on what you are willing to do to protect your rights. Please suggest ideas (visits to politicians, protest marches, letters, petitions, etc.), and let me know whether you would be prepared to be one of those who takes action against these tyrannical moves by our pharma-controlled government, by clicking here to send me an email with your contact details and ideas.

Vaccination supporters welcome government crack down

Luke Mortimer

Northern Star

11 April, 2015

NORTHERN Rivers Vaccination Supporters has welcomed moves by the Federal Government to crack down on parents avoiding vaccinating their children.

Well, this is no surprise! The Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters is a small group of people involved with Stop the AVN (SAVN). They have always favoured compulsory vaccination. I would be very surprised if they were ever quoted as being supportive of health rights or the right to freedom of choice or speech. That is not their way.

ALISON GAYLARD: Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. And science is factual.

No, Alison; I’m sorry to have to tell you that science is neither factual nor wrong. Science is a process by which hypotheses are tested. And there are few hard and fast rules in science. Some examples of indisputable facts are: yes, the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west; yes, living things respire, reproduce, and die. Scientific conclusions are, by their very nature, open to debate, interpretation, and testing. That process is what we call science.

In recent days, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison confirmed to media outlets the government was reviewing ambiguous legislation that allowed parents to object to immunisations for personal or philosophical reasons.

It’s strange that Minister Morrison describes this legislation as ‘ambiguous’. It is anything but. The legislation describes exactly how those who object to getting their children vaccinated can still access government entitlements. And the important word there is ‘entitlements’ — because these are things that ALL citizens and residents of Australia are entitled to. Our Federal Government is signatory to many international treaties and codes that enshrine our right to make free, informed health choices.

In fact, the Australian Medical Association (AMA), the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC), and various other government and medical industry bodies all state — quite unambiguously — that they support this right and that it is one of their core values.

So is Minister Morrison unaware of these facts? Or was he elected into public office to protect a multi-trillion-dollar international business model (that of Big Pharma) instead of the rights and needs of his constituents?

Mullumbimby’s Alison Gaylard, a founding member of Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters, hoped the review would go some way towards improving the North Coast’s immunisation rates, which were the worst in the country in 2014.

The vaccination rates may or may not be “the worst in the country”, but no matter how bad they are, they are still orders of magnitude higher than they were in 1991, when our rate of infectious diseases such as whooping cough was far lower than it is today. So we have had an overall increase in vaccination rates along with a concomitant increase in disease. How, then, is it possible to blame the unvaccinated? And yet, read on and see that Ms Gaylard does just that!

Ms Gaylard helped start the group after her two daughters became ill with whooping cough.

Please note that both Ms Gaylard’s daughters had been vaccinated against whooping cough. Read that again: they had been vaccinated. The vaccine failed them both. But Ms Gaylard, rather than face up to the known ineffectiveness of the vaccine (not conjecture on my part: many, many studies have and still do demonstrate that the vaccinated may be unprotected), Ms Gaylard blames some nameless, faceless unvaccinated people for the failure of the vaccine to protect her children.

If I go out for a drive today and run into a light pole, I have as much right blame the full moon or the orange juice I had for breakfast as Ms Gaylard has to blame the unvaccinated for the failure of a vaccine. In fact, I would go further and state that placing the blame on the unvaccinated is not only unscientific and without any evidence; it is plain dumb.

We have a high number of conscientious objectors in this area, especially in Mullumbimby. I think it will (improve immunisation rates),” she said.

Well, no doubt there are some families who will vaccinate their children because they rely on government payments to put food on the table, a roof over their head, and clothes on their children’s backs. It is those least able to afford these financial penalties who are being targeted and who will be most likely to make the decision to vaccinate purely for financial reasons. Do we really want to live in a society in which people are forced to give their children medical procedures that — let’s face it — have real and (in some cases) quantifiable risks, against the informed choice of those who love them most, their parents? In my case, the answer is, no: I do not want to live in such a society. It is immoral, unethical, undemocratic, and just plain wrong. If there is a risk, there must always be a choice.

We have a high number of people who’ve bought into the anti-vaccination stance, so as to whether they’ll be concerned about whether they’ll lose childcare benefits or facilities, I’m unsure how it’ll impact here. We’ll be watching with interest. Our demographic here is so diverse.”

Those who have “bought into the anti-vaccination stance” — which is how Ms Gaylard and her ilk characterise anybody who doesn’t buy into their peculiar brand of magical thinking — have generally made their choice after:

1- having a child who was injured or killed by a vaccine or vaccines;

2- knowing someone who was injured or killed by a vaccine or vaccines; and/or

3- spending many hours (commonly in the hundreds or thousands of hours) researching this issue for themselves.

After all, it is so easy to say yes to vaccination; it is far harder to say no in today’s society. So that decision must be respected by a government that is truly representative of its citizen’s rights.

Ms Gaylard said there was indisputable evidence regarding immunisation’s benefits.

I would welcome Ms Gaylard’s providing such “indisputable evidence” of vaccination’s benefits. Calling vaccinations immunisations is the first clue that Ms Gaylard has no idea what she is talking about since even immunologists and paediatricians admit that vaccines don’t immunise and therefore, the words cannot truthfully be used interchangeably.

If Ms Gaylard is a woman of her word, I would like to challenge her to a public debate on this issue. Since she is so sure she has this “indisputable evidence”, let her present it in a fair and open forum to allow those in attendance to hear and see it and decide that for themselves.

If she feels that she is not qualified to present the facts behind the benefits and safety of vaccination, she is more than welcome to find a medical professional, government health official, or anyone else to take her place.

Come to the party, Alison. If you really are firm in your convictions, support them with the evidence.

Please note: Blog posts are opinion pieces which represent the views of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the AVN National Committee. The AVN is a forum, support and information organisation and outlet for discussion about the relative benefits and risks of vaccinations in particular – and medical procedures in general. We do not provide medical advice but believe that everyone has the opportunity and the obligation to do their own research before making decisions for their families. The information we provide (including your personal review of the references we cite) should be taken in conjunction with a range of other data, including that obtained from government, your health care provider and/or other medical source material to assist you in developing the knowledge required to make informed health choices.

Drowning in Data?

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39 Comments

    1. I can’t take credit for that line (though I’d love to 🙂 I read it very recently and it jumped out to me too. I’m afraid I’m going to start overusing it a bit – but it is SO true!

  1. No one should be penalised for not vaccinating their child. It is a personal choice. If others do choose to vaccinate their child what are they worried about if they believe in the vaccination??

    1. Exactly right. They don’t appear to have much confidence in vaccination, do they? Instead, they appear to just be looking for a scapegoat to blame when their vaccinated kids get sick.

      1. I think its more the fear that children that haven’t been vaccinated yet will be more susceptible to becoming infected due to someone else having never been vaccinated.

  2. It doesn’t even matter whether vaccines are safe and effective or not. It’s a medical procedure and that should never, ever be compulsory. The only exception could possibly be if a child is very sick and the illness can easily be treated with minimal risk and a very high chance for success. Then maybe the parental rights can temporarily be suspended and the treatment forced. But that would be a very, very rare occurance. Forcing any kind of medical treatment on people who are not sick is so wrong, that there aren’t even words to describe it.

    1. Are you referring to children with cancer FORCED to endure chemo? Medical ‘science’ will tell you THAT treatment has a high success rate. It does not. Not as rare as you dreamily suggest. You obviously believe ‘others’ know better than you and REALLY care.
      I truly pray you aren’t raising children.

    2. Rixta, you did a great job.
      Keep up thye good work.
      Keep speaking up.
      Don;t ever stop

  3. I am concerned about the personal attack on Ms Garylard. Can the debate please be about the issue, not about people. If everyone here wants their opinions heard then why feel threatened by others opinions. I am pro choice for all, I would just like to see more respect. We are all trying to do our best for our children.

    1. I do not consider this an attack against Ms Gaylard. She is asking that my rights to choose what is best for my children be taken away from me based on nothing more than conjecture. I am saying that anyone who wants to take away my rights on that basis is clueless. I stand by that statement. And this is not an attack on her – it is a criticism of what is going on in the community right now. Perhaps you should be criticising those who are vilifying informed, loving and caring parents and those who are saying that our children should be taken away from us, not allowed in schools or public places and we should lose our rights as Australian citizens and residents because we have made an informed choice not to vaccinate? I mean, let’s get real here. This is a scientific debate. Alison Gaylard has entered it with both feet and she is not being personally attacked – she is being asked to back up her statements with evidence. I’m sorry if you feel that is not fair.

  4. You are so right while there is risk there must be choice. The goverment are now saying to people you have a choice either your child starves or you vaccinate….simply wrong !

  5. Besides the arguments for both sides of the vaccination story, the real issue is infringement on personal choice and liberties. If society allows the public servants to get away with imposing legislation stating that an individual can no longer use conscientious objector grounds for not getting vaccines, then God help us all. You object to having to go to fight in a war? Too bad, the state says you have to……….

  6. I would love to see a debate take place between the two, it’s great to see someone well informed fighting for us. Are there any protests happening in Sydney?

  7. I’m perplexed when people say they are being forced to do anything. You can choose not to vaccinate. And equally you can choose to forego government handouts. You want to opt out iof une system? That’s fine. But dont expect the cash. It’s a package. It’s not free money. It’s a reward for being in the system.

    Not being rewarded is not the same as being penalised.

    1. But Steve, these are not “handouts” They are tax refunds. And linking any government payment with compliance with a medical procedure is immoral. But you are a pseudo-skeptic so I wouldn’t expect you to understand that…

    2. Let’s imagine for a second it were the other way around – ‘the government will now take away money from all parents who vaccinate their children’. You believe strongly in the science of vaccination and that it keeps your kids healthy. Would you change your mind and not vaccinate your kids to save yourself some cash?
      This is what is being asked of us non-Vaxers. No amount of money being withheld will make me change my mind about the health choices I make for my children. This policy will just make my already financially struggling family, struggle more.
      And guess what; my super healthy unvaccinated kids will still attend preschool. It’ll just cost me a lot more!

  8. Well the interesting thing is that the government wants to use the entitlements to blackmail people into vaccinating. These entitlements come from you, they are yours anyway, they have been accessed from the bond of your birth certificate. This is the way government finances government, through the value of the individuals in the society. Removing your benefits, for any reason is theft by government.

  9. In the US, we’re on our way to living in a dictatorship too. I’m thinking of moving to South America….

    1. Many European countries have full vaccination freedom. And they don’t have lower vaccination rates than Australia or the USA. Persecution never works. It just makes people wonder why the government does this.

  10. Meryl, I appreciate your clarification above about the definition of science. I cringe whenever I hear anyone speaking of scientific “facts”, and/or failing to recognise that science is a process we follow to make sense of worldly observations (by development of theory and testing of hypotheses). I’ve observed and participated in similar debates on topics where the available data is inconclusive. I agree with the notion that where there is risk, there should be choice. BJ what is missing in this debate is an understanding of the size of the risk, relative to the size of the benefits of vaccinating or not vaccinating. The best data would be derived from RCT designs… Where data for questions like; Does vaccination increase/decrease infection risk/rate? Or- Does choosing not to vaccinate increase/decrease infection risk/rate? – could be gathered. Such designs are of course, unethical, and will never be approved/funded (rightly so). So we are left with observational studies, particularly epidemiological data.

    As it stands the debate is at an impasse. Both sides see their side as the moderate position, while seeing the other side’s view as extreme. I don’t know that there is sufficient data for either side to make conclusive statements about the risks/benefits of vaccinating or no vaccinating. I’d be interested to read about the data you rely upon to arrive at your position that we are better off not vaccinating.

    I agree that in the absence of clear evidence for a societal risk, or in the absence of a clear benefit, the government should not be removing the individual’s choice. I am more interested though, in how to go about establishing clearer data, so that the debate can proceed. Any thoughts on some new hypotheses, ideas for research?

    1. Hi Patrick,

      We already know that the infection risk/rate had declined substantially well before the introduction of vaccines and we also know that mortality and morbidity have not been positively affected (in many cases) with the introduction of vaccination or after its cessation. When Britain saw a decline in whopping cough vaccinations in the early 1980s, they experienced a large increase in reports of the disease. One epidemiologist said that all you had to do was go to the doctor with a child with a runny nose and if that child was not vaccinated, they would be diagnosed with whooping cough. But those reports were not subjected to laboratory testing and the UK had no sentinel laboratory scheme like we have recently introduced in Australia. The real figures and those of interest, are the rates of hospitalisations and deaths and studies published subsequently showed that both hospitalisations and deaths from whooping cough declined precipitously once the vaccine rate declined (to below 30% from memory). Sweden’s experience was the same. Sweden had experienced the largest outbreak of pertussis on record at a time when their compliance with whooping cough vaccination was at its highest – much like Australia has been seeing for the last 6-8 years. Unlike Australia, the Swedish government did not use this experience as a reason to vilify the unvaccinated and call for more ineffective vaccines. They stated that the shot just wasn’t working and withdrew it from the schedule. They saw an increase in reports of the disease for the first few years but a decrease in deaths and hospitalisations and, what is interesting from both the Swedish and the UK experience – when the shot was not being used on a widespread basis, they saw virtually NO pertussis in children under the age of 1. It reverted to its normal age distribution in children between 4 and 10 years old which is an age where long-term adverse effects or death are exceedingly rare. In addition, the immunity from natural infection – though not necessarily life-long, is far more durable than the stated ‘immunity’ (a misnomer because immunity by definition must be lifelong) from the vaccine – 60-80 years for infection – 6 months to 3 years for the shot. So if we are worried about the ‘herd’ spreading disease, it is obviously the vaccinated who are more likely to do so because they think they are protected by their shot but they are apparently anything but.

      The evidence we need here in Australia is the evidence we already have – we need the ACIR and medicare data – which are already linked, to be used to study the rate of diagnoses between those who are fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated and completely unvaccinated. How many illnesses are being reported in each group and what is the rate of things like autism, allergy, anaphylaxis, diabetes, lupus, etc. The government has not done this study despite being asked by the AVN since 1992. Nearly 3 years ago, Peter McIntyre from the NCIRS stated that the study was already being done but there is no mention of it and inquiries to him have gone unanswered.

      So those who want more information should be writing to Peter McIntyre and the Federal Minister for Health to ask them why this study is not yet being done and when it will be done and published. It literally only needs a computer program that can extract the information for our already existing database and since the government linked the ACIR with Medicare, it would be a cheap, simple and very informative study. Which is probably why it hasn’t yet been done.

      1. “We already know that the infection risk/rate had declined substantially well before the introduction of vaccines and we also know that mortality and morbidity have not been positively affected (in many cases) with the introduction of vaccination or after its cessation.”

        Are you referring to mmr vaccine? Can you provide me with a reference to chase up and read for myself?

        So there was a correlation between reduced vaccinating for whooping cough, and increased diagnosis of whooping cough in the UK in the 1980s, which you attribute to false positives (misdiagnoses). While remaining impartial, I would argue that that data, in the absence of lab tests to confirm the diagnosis, could also be hypothesized to reflect a causal relationship. Same data, two different hypotheses for explaining it. No conclusive answer.

        ” The real figures and those of interest, are the rates of hospitalisations and deaths and studies published subsequently showed that both hospitalisations and deaths from whooping cough declined precipitously once the vaccine rate declined (to below 30% from memory). Sweden’s experience was the same. Sweden had experienced the largest outbreak of pertussis on record at a time when their compliance with whooping cough vaccination was at its highest – much like Australia has been seeing for the last 6-8 years. ”

        So we have a correlation between decreased rates of vaccination for whooping cough and rates of death/hospitalization (for whooping cough?). Again, could I trouble you to provide a link to the research you refer to?

        “Sweden’s experience was the same. Sweden had experienced the largest outbreak of pertussis on record at a time when their compliance with whooping cough vaccination was at its highest ”

        I wonder what that peak compliance rate was?

        “They stated that the shot just wasn’t working and withdrew it from the schedule. They saw an increase in reports of the disease for the first few years but a decrease in deaths and hospitalisations”

        How do you interpret those findings was the decrease in death/hospitalization rate over the same time period as the increased reporting?

        “what is interesting from both the Swedish and the UK experience – when the shot was not being used on a widespread basis, they saw virtually NO pertussis in children under the age of 1. It reverted to its normal age distribution in children between 4 and 10 years old which is an age where long-term adverse effects or death are exceedingly rare. ”

        That does sound interesting… Could you provide a link to this research? I would like to be better informed on this topic.

        “In addition, the immunity from natural infection – though not necessarily life-long, is far more durable than the stated ‘immunity’ (a misnomer because immunity by definition must be lifelong) from the vaccine – 60-80 years for infection – 6 months to 3 years for the shot. So if we are worried about the ‘herd’ spreading disease, it is obviously the vaccinated who are more likely to do so because they think they are protected by their shot but they are apparently anything but.”

        Are these figures specific to whooping cough, or generalizable (word?) to other conditions/vaccines?

        “The evidence we need here in Australia is the evidence we already have – we need the ACIR and medicare data – which are already linked, to be used to study the rate of diagnoses between those who are fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated and completely unvaccinated. How many illnesses are being reported in each group and what is the rate of things like autism, allergy, anaphylaxis, diabetes, lupus, etc. The government has not done this study despite being asked by the AVN since 1992. Nearly 3 years ago, Peter McIntyre from the NCIRS stated that the study was already being done but there is no mention of it and inquiries to him have gone unanswered.”

        I think the challenge is sourcing data for those who are fully unvaccinated, no? These won’t necessarily be captured by Medicare. An additional challenge is that these groups don’t live in isolation from each other… So the results of a study comparing infection rates (for the disease the vaccine is designed to prevent/limit, will always be subject to the interpreter’s bias. The anti-vaccinators will find a way to explain the data in a manner that confirms their view that vaccinations are both useless and dangerous. Pro-vaccinators will find a way to interpret the data such that it confirms their view that vaccinations are safe and effective, and that not being vaccinated is dangerous. How could our Medicare data get past this problem?

        With regards to measuring and possibly implying causation from correlation between vaccinated groups and other diseases like autism, I think that is very tricky stuff. Drawing a link between prevalence of a disease state (unrelated to the purpose of the vaccine) and vaccination status requires a very strong level of evidence, in my view. I think it’s very important to be circumspect with such claims as the average joe tends not to draw a distinction between correlation and causation.

        I don’t know that retrospective studies using population data will provide clarity to advance he debate. I suspect it will just polarize the two sides further.

  11. lol. “Some examples of indisputable facts are: yes, the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west; yes, living things respire, reproduce, and die. Scientific conclusions are, by their very nature, open to debate, interpretation, and testing. That process is what we call science.”

    NO the sun does not rise and set… the Earth rotates and spins around the sun giving the appearance of the sun rise and sunset – but hey believe whatever science you want. Kinda like vacancies give an appearance of immunisation.

  12. Keep this in mind
    1. The US is the most vaccinated country in the developed world
    2. The US has the highest mortality for infants and for children under 5

  13. Some unvaccinated people get sick. Some vaccinated people get sick. The only thing you can avoid 100% is vaccine injury,

    Is it worth chatting to Bob?

  14. Can the Government be held responsible for adverse reactions due to mandatory vaccines? The ones I’m thinking of are the vaccines manufactured with foetal DNA which are known to cause autism and some cancers especially Burkitts Lymphoma.

  15. All medicine is experimental, in the words of the leading case of State v Biggs (46 SE Reporter 401, 1903). That Court held that there could be no “state system of healing” p.402 and at p.405: “Medicine is an experimental, not an exact science. All the law can do is to regulate and safeguard the use of powerful and dangerous remedies, like the knife and drugs, but it cannot forbid dispensing with them. When the Master, who was himself called the Good Physician, was told that other than his followers were casting out devils and curing diseases, he said, ‘Forbid them not.’” Those who profess to believe that Informed Consent only applies to “experiment” not to “treatment” (which in their view can be forced on people) have yet to explain why humans should have a strong right to refuse the one (“experiment”) but not the other (“treatment”). Such a distinction without meaning is the hallmark of the fascistic mindset and not worthy of any intellectual respect.
    .

  16. It’s beyond disgusting that the government feel they can tell you how you must raise your children or pay the price. I suffered a major reaction to the MMR, within an hour of the shot I was comatose and almost died. I know from experience vaccines are not safe, I would not risk my childs life for money. What the government is doing is effectively bullying the poorer community. It is a joke. I am absolutely outraged and anyone that tells me I shouldn’t have a right to make the choice for my own child can shove it. If vaccines work then how is your already vaccinated child contracting a disease they are already vaccinated against?

    1. I am currently experiencing joint pain that has flared up like never before. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis about six years ago but it’s always been more of a nuisance than anything else until I got the Hep B vaccination for work and since then it has been so painful I am on painkillers now. Could be coincidence, it could have suddenly flared up randomly, but I did have the vaccine, it did flare up after it and I have heard of this happening to others. Imagine what it does to a newborn baby. They can’t tell anyone and the worst part is that their parents would not know the difference if the baby is fussy and cranky because the vaccination is done so soon after the baby is born. Parents never get to meet their baby with an immune system that is not processing this vaccine, that causes pain in adults. And the risk that they are at from Hep B is tiny. Perhaps this vaccine would be better off left for adults or older children and only recommended to parents of newborns at particular risk. I can’t stand the ‘jab em all’ policy.

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