I’ve changed my mind

They say it’s a woman’s prerogative. Making one decision and then, down the track, changing your mind. But everyone does it and it’s not necessarily a bad thing either.

Think about those words – changing your mind.

Brain CarvingTaken literally, they may sound a bit strange. They conjure up a scene of someone – an artist, perhaps, carving out a brain from hard wood and then, deciding at the last minute that something’s gone wrong and it might need a little bit of work here or there. A few hits with the hammer and chisel, being careful not to break it and have to start again.

That’s how my strange mind works and what I’ve visualised 🙂 But changing your mind is one of the many, many idioms that make the English language so difficult for non-native speakers to learn.

When it comes to vaccination, I started to change my mind 26 years ago.

Like many parents, I didn’t just decide blithely one day to stop vaccinating my son or my subsequent children. It wasn’t like taking my clothes out of the closet and deciding that the red top looked better with those pants than the blue one. I changed my mind because I saw that vaccines had hurt my child and, like most people who were trying to be the best parent they could, seeing that harm and having it confirmed by my doctor (who told me that he would leave out the whooping cough portion of my son’s next shot – something that isn’t even possible today!) made me start to search for more information about these shots I was giving my son.

And I didn’t change my mind that day or that month – or even that year.

Trying to be a responsible parent, I couldn’t decide until I had enough information about what I was doing.

In retrospect, I should have put off any further vaccines until I was fully informed, but the default position back in the late 1980s/early 1990s was to vaccinate so, I did.

It wasn’t until my son was hospitalised 10 days after his MMR vaccine (the most common time for certain reactions following that particular shot, as I found out later on through my research) that I decided enough was enough. And even then, I didn’t have enough information to stop vaccinating my children completely. My daughter received 3 DT (diphtheria and tetanus) and OPV (oral polio) vaccines and my next son got 3 OPVs. My youngest child is the only one who is completely unvaccinated.

By the time she came along, I had gathered together enough information and done enough research to completely ‘change my mind’ about vaccination. By then, my husband and I had both knowledge and confidence about our decision – it was a good place to be!

Many parents have stories that echo ours. Nearly everyone I know who started out totally committed to vaccinating (or just going along with it because it was the default position) but who stopped at some point, changed their mind because of either personal experience with vaccine reactions, reactions in a friend or family member or exposure to information that made them question and want to know more.

I am very proud of the fact that some of these people were able to find the information they needed because of the existence of the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), the organisation I started way back in 1994. The AVN had and has many sister organisations:

VINE (Vaccination Information Network);

VISA (Vaccines Information Serving Australia);

VAIS (Vaccination Answers Informed Sources);

IAS (Immunisation Awareness Society);

VAG (Vaccination Awareness Group);

VIS (the Vaccination Information Service);

and the group started by Kerry Hamblin in the Blue Mountains in the 1980s that pre-dated all of the others and whose name escapes me (if anyone remembers, please let me know and if I’ve left any organisations off, I apologise – let me know and I will amend this).

When I originally had my change of mind, the internet was not as easily accessible as it is today. I got my information the old fashioned way – I visited medical libraries, copied medical journal articles, took them home and sat with my highlighter pen and read them through. I went to the medical library in Princeton, New Jersey. I visited the Library of Congress for one amazing day of obsessive reading, photocopying and research. I remember being afraid that those articles would weigh so much, I wouldn’t be able to take them home with me to Australia!

Parents that Don't Vaccinate

How times have changed. What used to take me hours and a lot of money at 10 cents a page to photocopy, is now nearly instant and free.

The AVN’s library contains hundreds of books and tens of thousands of journal articles dating back to the early part of the twentieth century – and even further back when it comes to the smallpox vaccine.

I – like most parents who have changed their minds about vaccination, nutrition and medical treatments – made my decision after a lot of thought and a lot of discussions with health professionals and natural therapists about these issues. I took my responsibility seriously.

And yes, like the artist in my earlier thoughts who changed the direction of his carving in hard wood with great difficulty, it was not easy for me to change my path or for my husband to do the same. We were your classic ‘true believers’ like most of our generation.

A belief and trust in doctors was hard-wired into our consciousness through years of medical shows, government pronouncements and social conditioning. But once we were empowered through our own research to understand that we could change our minds, the veil was torn away and we were able to see this situation clearly for what it was – a mass delusion that was built on quicksand and that needed bullying and lies to shore it up and keep it from sinking away forever.

understanding-understanding

If you are like I was – a true believer in vaccine safety, effectiveness and necessity – challenge yourself to read a bit about the other side of this issue. You may never change your mind or your beliefs, but at least you will come to understand that those of us who stopped vaccinating made that choice with valid information and out of love for our children. Understanding can overcome fear and hatred and right now, there is way too much fear and hatred going around regarding the issue of vaccination.

By Meryl Dorey

Please note: Blog posts are opinion pieces which represent the views of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the nocompulsoryvaccination blog. This blog is a forum, support and information site 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.

 

measles in africa, vaccination africa, measles

Measles deaths in Africa

The following article is by Greg Beattie, author of Vaccination: A Parent’s Dilemma and the more recent Fooling Ourselves on the Fundamental Value of Vaccines. It was originally published on the REAL Australian Sceptics blog and bears repeating.

This information and the graphs included are excerpted from Mr Beattie’s latest book. It demonstrates very clearly that a true sceptic will not necessarily believe in headlines such as “Measles deaths in Africa plunge by 91%” without seeing the proof of those claims. Question everything – accept nothing at face value – that is the credo of the true sceptic.

Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
Bertrand Russell

Africa, measles africa, vaccination africa
0.450–0.499 0.400–0.449 0.350–0.399 0.300–0.349 under 0.300 n/a (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are not one to follow the news, you may have missed it. Others will have undoubtedly seen a stream of good-newsstories over the past five years, such as:

Measles Deaths In Africa Plunge By 91%[1],[2]

There have been many versions on the theme; the percentage rates have changed over time. However, the bodies of the stories leave us in no doubt as to the reason for their headlines. Here are some direct quotes:

In a rare public health success story on the world’s most beleaguered continent, Africa has slashed deaths from measles by 91 per cent since 2000 thanks to an immunization drive.

An ambitious global immunization drive has cut measles deaths…

Measles deaths in Africa have fallen as child vaccination rates have risen.

These stories represent a modern-day version of the belief that vaccines vanquished the killer diseases of the past. There is something deeply disturbing about the stories, and it is not immediately apparent. The fact is: no-one knows how many people died of measles in Africa. No-one! Not last year and not ten years ago.

I will repeat that. No-one knows how many measles deaths have occurred in Africa. So, where did these figures come from? I will explain that in this blog. In a nutshell, they were calculated on a spreadsheet, using a formula. You may be surprised when you see how simple the method was.

We all believe these stories, because we have no reason to doubt them. The only people who would have questioned them were those who were aware that the deaths had not been counted. One of these was World Health Organisation (WHO) head of Health Evidence and Statistics, who reprimanded the authors of the original report (on which the stories were based) in an editorial published in the Bulletin of the WHO, as I will discuss shortly. Unfortunately, by then the train was already runaway. The stories had taken off virally through the worldwide media.

Overview

First, an overview of the formula. The authors looked at it this way: for every million vaccines given out, we hope to save ‘X’ lives. From that premise, we simply count how many million vaccines we gave out, and multiply that by ‘X’ to calculate how many lives (we think) we have saved. That is how the figures were arrived at.

The stories and the formula are both products of a deep belief in the power of vaccines. We think the stories report facts, but instead they report hopes.

The nuts and bolts

Hardly any of the willing participants in spreading the stories bothered to check where the figures came from, and what they meant. That was possibly understandable. Why would we need to check them? After all, they were produced by experts: respected researchers, and reputable organisations such as UNICEF, American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, and the World Health Organisation.

However, I did check them. I checked because I knew the developing world wasn’t collecting cause of death data that could provide such figures[3]. In fact, it is currently estimated that only 25 million of the 60 million deaths that occur each year are even registered, let alone have reliable cause-of-death information[4]. Sub-Saharan Africa, where a large proportion of measles deaths are thought to occur, still had an estimated death registration of only around 10%[5] in 2006, and virtually no reliable cause-of-death data. Even sample demographic surveys, although considered accurate, were not collecting cause-of-death data that allowed for these figures to be reported. Simply put, this was not real data: the figures had to be estimates.

I was curious as to how the estimates were arrived at, so I traced back to the source—an article in The Lancet, written by a team from the Measles Initiative[6]. After reading the article, I realised the reports were not measles deaths at all. They were planning estimates, or predictions. In other words, they represented outcomes that the Measles Initiative had hoped to achieve, through conducting vaccination programs.

Don’t get me wrong. We all know that planning and predicting are very useful, even necessary activities, but it is obvious they are not the same as measuring outcomes.

The title of the original report from the Measles Initiative reads, “Has the 2005 measles mortality reduction goal been achieved? A natural history modelling study.[7] The authors took one and a half pages to explain how natural history modelling applied here. I will simplify it in about ten lines. I realise that in doing so, some may accuse me of editorial vandalism, however I assure you what follows captures the essence of the method. The rest is detail. If you are interested in confirming this, I urge you to read the original article for that detail. Here we go… the formula at the heart of the stories:

My interpretation of the Measles Natural History Modelling Study

  1. Open a blank spreadsheet
  2. Enter population data for each year from 2000 to 2006
  3. Enter measles vaccine coverage for each of the years also
  4. Assume all people develop measles if not vaccinated
  5. Assume vaccination prevents 85-95% of measles cases
  6. Calculate how many measles cases were ‘prevented’ each year (using the above figures)
  7. Calculate how many measles deaths were ‘prevented’ each year (using historical case-fatality ratios)

There, simple. As you can see, this is a typical approach if we are modelling,for predictive purposes. Using a spreadsheet to predict outcomes of various plans helps us set targets, and develop strategies. When it comes to evaluating the result of our plan however we need to go out into the field, and measure what happened. We must never simply return to the same spreadsheet. But this is precisely what the Measles Initiative team did. And the publishing world swallowed it—hook, line and sinker.

As mentioned earlier, WHO Health Evidence and Statistics head, Dr Kenji Shibuya, saw the problem with this method. Writing editorially in the Bulletin of the WHO, under the title “Decide monitoring strategies before setting targets”, Shibuya had this to say[8]:

Unfortunately, the MDG[9] monitoring process relies heavily on predicted statistics.

…the assessment of a recent change in measles mortality from vaccination is mostly based on statistics predicted from a set of covariates… It is understandable that estimating causes of death over time is a difficult task. However, that is no reason for us to avoid measuring it when we can also measure the quantity of interest directly; otherwise the global health community would continue to monitor progress on a spreadsheet with limited empirical basis. This is simply not acceptable. [emphasis mine]

This mismatch was created partly by the demand for more timely statistics …and partly by a lack of data and effective measurement strategies among statistics producers. Users must be realistic, as annual data on representative cause-specific mortality are difficult to obtain without complete civil registration or sample registration systems

If such data are needed, the global health community must seek indicators that are valid, reliable and comparable, and must invest in data collection (e.g. adjusting facility-based data by using other representative data sources).

Regardless of new disease-specific initiatives or the broader WHO Strategic Objectives, the key is to focus on a small set of relevant indicators for which well defined strategies for monitoring progress are available. Only by doing so will the global health community be able to show what works and what fails.

In simple terms, Shibuya was saying:

  • We know it is difficult to estimate measles deaths, but
  • You should have tried, because you attracted a lot of interest
  • Instead, you simply went back to the same spreadsheet you used to make the plan—and that is unacceptable!
  • If you want to make a claim about your results, you need to measure the outcomes and collect valid data
  • Until you do, you cannot say whether your plan ‘worked’

Unfortunately, by the time Shibuya’s editorial was published, the media had already been trumpeting the stories for more than a year, because the Measles Initiative announced its news to a waiting media before subjecting it to peer-review. So, without scientific scrutiny, the stories were unleashed into a world hungry for good news, especially concerning the developing world. The result… the reports were welcomed, accepted, and regurgitated to a degree where official scrutiny now seems to have the effect of a drop in a bucket.

The question of who was responsible for this miscarriage of publishing justice plagued me for a while. Was it the architects of the original report? Or was it the robotic section of our media (that part that exists because of a lack of funds for employing real journalists) who spread the message virally to every corner of the globe, without checking it?

One quote which really stands out in the stories is from former director of the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“The clear message from this achievement is that the strategy works,” said CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding

What strategy works? Is she talking about modelling on a spreadsheet? Or, using the predictions in place of real outcomes? More recent reports from the Measles Initiative indicate the team are continuing with this deceptive approach. In their latest report[10] it is estimated 12.7 million deaths were averted between 2000-2008. All were calculated on their spreadsheet, and all were attributed to vaccination, for the simple reason that it was the only variable on the spreadsheet that was under their control. And still there is no scrutiny of the claims. Furthermore, the authors make no effort to clarify in the public mind that the figures are nothing but planning estimates.

No proof

Supporters of vaccination might argue that this does not prove vaccines are of no use. I agree. In fact,let me say it first: none of this provides any evidence whatsoever of the value of vaccination. That is the crux of the matter. The media stories have trumpeted the success of the plan, and given us all a pat on the back for making it happen. But the stories are fabrications. The only aspect of them which is factual is that which tells us vaccination rates have increased.

Some ‘real’ good-news?

General mortality rates in Africa are going down. That means deaths from all causesare reducing. How do we know this? Because an inter-agency group, led by UNICEF and WHO, has been evaluating demographic survey data in countries that do not have adequate death registration data. These surveys have been going on for more than 50 years. One of the reasons they do this is to monitor trends in mortality; particularly infant, and under-five mortality.

Although the health burden in developing countries is inequitably high, there is reason to be positive when we view these trends. Deaths are declining and, according to the best available estimates, have been steadily doing so for a considerable time; well over 50 years.

One of the most useful indicators of a country’s health transition is its under-5 mortality rate: that is, the death rate for children below five years old. The best estimates available for Africa show a steady decline in under-5 mortality rate, of around 1.8% per year, since 1950[11]. Figure 1 shows this decline from 1960 onward[12]. It also shows the infant mortality rate[13]. Both are plotted as averages of all countries in the WHO region of Africa.

Figure 1. Child mortality, Africa

This graph may appear complex, but it is not difficult to read. The two thick lines running horizontally through the graph are the infant (the lower blue line) and under-5 (the upper black line) mortality rates per 1000 from 1960 to 2009. The handful of finer lines which commence in 1980, at a low point, and shoot upward over the following decade, represent the introduction of the various vaccines. The vertical scale on the right side of the graph shows the rate at which children were vaccinated with each of these shots.

The primary purpose of this graph (as well as that in Figure 2) is to deliver the real good-news. We see a slowly, but steadily improving situation. Death rates for infants and young children are declining. I decided to add the extra lines (for vaccines) to illustrate that they appear to have had no impact on the declining childhood mortality rates; at least, not a positive impact. If they were as useful as we have been led to believe, these vaccines (covering seven illnesses) would surely have resulted in a sharp downward deviation from the established trend. As we can see, this did not occur.

In Africa, the vaccines were introduced at the start of the 1980s and, within a decade, reached more than half the children. The only effect observable in the mortality rates, is a slowing of the downward trend. In other words, if anything were to be drawn from this, it would be that the introduction of the vaccines was counter-productive. One could argue that the later increase in vaccine coverage (after the year 2000) was followed by a return to the same decline observed prior to the vaccines. However, that does not line up. The return to the prior decline predates it, by around five years.

With both interpretations we are splitting hairs. Since we are discussing an intervention that has been marketed as a modern miracle, we should see a marked effect on the trend. We don’t.

The WHO region of Africa (also referred to as sub-Saharan Africa) is where a substantial portion of the world’s poor-health burden is thought to exist. The country that is believed to share the majority of worldwide child mortality burden with sub-Saharan Africa is India, in the WHO south-east Asia region. Together, the African and South-east Asian regions were thought in 1999 to bear 85% of the world’s measles deaths[14]. Figure 2 shows India’s declining infant and under-5 mortality rates, over the past 50 years. Again, the introduction of various vaccines is also shown.

Figure 2. Child mortality, India

And again, vaccines do not appear to have contributed. Mortality rates simply continued their steady decline. We commenced mass vaccination (for seven illnesses) from the late 1980s but there was no visible impact on the child mortality trends.

In a nutshell, what happened in the developed world is still happening in the yet-to-finish-developing world, only it started later, and is taking longer. The processes of providing clean water, good nourishment, adequate housing, education and employment, freedom from poverty, as well as proper care of the sick, have been on-going in poor countries.

I would have loved to go back further in time with these graphs but unfortunately I was not able to locate the data. I did uncover one graph in an issue of the Bulletin of the WHO, showing the under-5 mortality rate in sub-Saharan Africa to be an estimated 350 in 1950[15]. It subsequently dropped to around 175 by 1980, before vaccines figured. It continued dropping, though slower, to 129 by 2008[16].

The decline represents a substantial health transition, and a lot of lives saved. When cause-of-death data improves, or at least some genuine effort is made to establish credible estimates of measles deaths, it will undoubtedly be found they are dropping as well. Why wouldn’t they? This is good news, and all praise needs to be directed at the architects and supporters of the international activities that are helping to achieve improvements in the real determinants of health. In the midst of all the hype, I trust we will not swallow attempts to give the credit to vaccines… again.

I am not confident, however. I feel this is simply history repeating itself. Deaths from infectious disease will reach an acceptable “low” in developing countries, at some point in time. And although this will probably be due to a range of improvements in poverty, sanitation, nutrition and education, I feel vaccines will be given the credit. To support the claim, numerous pieces of evidence will be paraded, such as:

Measles Deaths In Africa Plunge By 91%

We need to purge these pieces of “evidence” if we are to have rational discussion. The public have a right to know that these reports are based on fabricated figures.  Otherwise, the relative importance of vaccines in future health policy will be further exaggerated.


[1]    Medical News Today 30Nov 2007; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/90237.php

[2]    UNICEF Joint press release; http://www.unicef.org/media/media_41969.html

[3]    Jaffar et al. Effects of misclassification of causes of death on the power of a trial to assess the efficacy of a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in The Gambia; International Journal of Epidemiology 2003;32:430-436 http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/32/3/430

[4]    Save lives by counting the dead; An interview with Prof Prabhat Jha, Bulletin of the World Health Organisation 2010;88:171–172

[5]    Counting the dead is essential for health: Bull WHO Volume 84, Number 3, March 2006, 161-256 http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/84/3/interview0306/en/index.html

[6]    Launched in 2001, the Measles Initiative is an international partnership committed to reducing measles deaths worldwide, and led by the American Red Cross, CDC, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, and WHO. Additional information available at http://www.measlesinitiative.org

[7]    Wolfson et al. Has the 2005 measles mortality reduction goal been achieved? A natural history modelling study; Lancet 2007; 369: 191–200 Available from http://www.measlesinitiative.org/mi-files/Reports/Measles%20Mortality%20Reduction/Global/Wolfson%20Lancet2007_Measles_Mortality_Reduction.pdf

[8]    Kenji Shibuya. Decide monitoring strategies before setting targets; Bulletin of the World Health Organization June 2007, 85 (6) http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/85/6/07-042887/en/index.html

[9]    MDG – Millennium Development Goals, to be discussed shortly in this chapter.

[10]  Dabbagh et al. Global Measles Mortality, 2000–2008; Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report. 2009;58(47):1321-1326 http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/714345

[11]  Garenne & Gakusi. Health transitions in sub-Saharan Africa: overview of mortality trends in children under five years old (1950-2000);  Bull WHO June 2006, 84(6) p472 http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/84/6/470.pdf

[12]  If you perform a ‘google’ search for ‘infant mortality rate’ or ‘under-5 mortality rate’ you will locate a google service that provides most of this data. It is downloadable in spreadsheet form by clicking on the ‘More info’ link.  http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.DYN.MORT/countries/1W-US?display=graph :Vaccine coverage data is available from the WHO website http://www.childinfo.org/files/Immunization_Summary_2008_r6.pdf

[13]  Infant mortality rate is “under-1 year of age” mortality rate.

[15]  Garenne & Gakusi. Health transitions in sub-Saharan Africa: overview of mortality trends in children under five years old (1950-2000);  Bull WHO June 2006, 84(6) p472 http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/84/6/470.pdf

Vaccine Bigots

Reject BigotryPolitical correctness will be the death of us all. We’re so afraid to say what we think for fear of being judged, that we stay silent rather than starting a storm. But I say, if our words are going to create a storm, let’s make it the best and biggest storm we possibly can. Let the winds blow and the rains wash away this shameful era of world history.

Those who support No Jab / No Pay / No Play are bigots – pure and simple.

Whether they are members of parliament, media representatives or your next door neighbours – if they believe it is OK to discriminate against you and your family or to treat you with anything less than the respect all citizens of a democratic nation should expect, they are bigots.

Definition: Bigot: a person who has strong, unreasonable ideas, esp. about race or religion, and who thinks anyone who does not have the same beliefs is wrong.

Our government – elected and funded by US – is comprised of bigots.

Many within mainstream medicine are bigots.

And members of the hate groups, Friends of Science in Medicine, Stop the AVN and the Australian Skeptics are all bigots.

Watch this powerful short video about a woman who has decided that she is not going to put up with vaccine bigotry any longer. Like Rosa Parks did over 60 years ago when she was arrested for not moving to the back of a bus due to the colour of her skin, Sheila Ealey has decided to ‘get off the bus’. She will hopefully be joined by a lot more of us, standing in solidarity against discrimination of any kind – racial, sexual, religious or medical.

“Get off the bus!” Sheila Lewis Ealey unites Compton! from Francesca Alesse on Vimeo.

Bigotry must be stamped out. It is the sort of thing that you would have seen in many countries 50 or more years ago; the sort of thing we were taught about in school history classes as an object lesson in wrong-headedness and injustice; the sort of thing that we look back on now and think – that would never happen today!

Except that it has. And it has been government-approved.

When we see the leader of the Australian Greens party standing up in Parliament to thank people who have abused and threatened parents whose only ‘crime’ was wanting to care for their children as they feel is best – we know that vaccine bigotry has institutional support.

When we see someone who has made a name for themselves by publicly shaming or abusing those who think differently about vaccination, receiving government awards instead of jail sentences, we know that vaccine bigotry is systemic in our society.

And when we read media articles written by journalists who are functional illiterates yet feel that they have the right to tell the government how they should punish anyone who disagrees with them on scientific or medical health issues, we know that vaccine bigotry has pervaded the very fabric of Australian life today.

Let’s fight against this by first and foremost, calling these people what their words and their actions have defined them as – bigots. The language is powerful, so let’s use this weapon to defeat bigotry.

If we can be called anti-vaxxers for asking valid, scientific questions about medical procedures that are capable of killing or injuring us or our children (let’s not even think about the fact that vaccines don’t work as promised – or at all), then we can use a more appropriate name for those who are responsible for this sociopathic and discriminatory behaviour – BIGOTS.

Let’s wipe out bigotry in Australia today. By naming it. By shaming it. By not standing for it any longer.

 

Opposing The Compulsion To Vaccinate Everyone – Meryl Dorey

Meryl Dorey of nocompulsoryvaccination.com and the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network, Inc. did 2 interviews on March 10th regarding the No Jab No Pay legislation. Below is the video from one of those. The other will be posted when it is live on the internet. Thank you so much to 108Morris108 for providing a venue to air these important issues. Please share this information widely.

How YOU can protect your family and tell the Government what you think about No Jab No Pay

Freedom of Choice ImageWell, I’ve had some trouble finding the original source of the letter and statutory declaration mentioned in the previous post, Administering Vaccines Against a Person’s Wishes is Illegal but I finally managed to track it down and lo and behold, It was on Tasha David’s website, Poly mum of Eight

I really should have known. Tasha is the President of the Australian Vaccination Network and is a widow raising 8 children – 6 of whom has various levels of disability due to vaccine reactions. Only her youngest 2 – who are completely unvaccinated – are completely healthy.

Despite this and despite the fact that her doctor has attested to the fact that vaccines were the cause of her children’s problems, Tasha will lose out on tens of thousands of dollars under the current legislative changes under the immoral, illegal and discriminatory No Jab No Pay legislation.

To add insult to injury, because she lives in Victoria, she will also not be able to get childcare for her younger, unvaccinated children due to the Victorian government’s No Jab No Play legislation which bars healthy unvaccinated children from mixing with their fully-vaccinated compatriots. Find the logic there (hint from me: there isn’t any!)

Being the amazing activist that she is, Tasha has sought legal advice and the following documents were produced with the assistance of a solicitor with expertise in these issues. They should be used as is – without any changes – for the best possible effect.

I hope that all of you who are going to be affected will go to your doctors or the doctor at your local council clinic to get them to attest to the fact that they will not vaccinate your children against your wishes. If enough of us do this, the government will be backed into a corner – well and truly!

Below is the form which has been designed for this purpose for parents in this situation:

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF INVOLUNTARY CONSENT TO VACCINATION

I, …………………………………………….…..
name and title of Immunisation Provider

confirm that ……………………………..………
name of parent/s

has/have presented their child ..…………………..………………..………….…..
name of child

on this date………….… for the following vaccinations: ………..…. ……..……

I acknowledge that the consent provided by …… ……………………………….. name of parent/s is not voluntary consent.

Given the absence of voluntary consent, I am/am not willing to proceed with the vaccination of …………………………………………..
name of child

Signed by: …………………………………………………
name and title of provider

In the presence of : …………………………………………………
signature of witness

…………………………………………………
name of witness

Date: ………………………………………….

 

The Immunisation Provider (IP), upon being presented with the form, will either:

(1) complete the form in such a way as to indicate that the IP is not willing to proceed with the vaccination, and will then sign the form, or

(2) decline to sign the form, in which case the parent may sign a Statutory Declaration stating that the parent asked the IP to sign the form and the IP refused. This will have the same effect as (1).

The wording of the Statutory Declaration should be as follows:

STATUTORY DECLARATION

I, ……………………………….. confirm that I has/have presented my child …..………………..
name of parent/s name of child

to ……………………………..…………………
name and title of Immunisation Provider

on this date………… for the following vaccinations: ……………….. ………………

I informed the Immunisation Provider that my consent is not voluntary consent.

I presented the attached form and requested the Immunisation Provider to complete and sign the form. The Immunisation Provider then refused to sign the form.

Signed by: …………………………………………………
name of parent/s

In the presence of : …………………………………………………
signature of witness

…………………………………………………
name of witness

………….…
date

The parent may then lodge a complaint through Centrelink on the grounds that they are being disadvantaged through no fault of their own.

If the government is going to tell us they will disadvantage us for making legal, informed health choices for our children, then they must be made to take responsibility for the outcomes of this coercion.

In the Australian Immunisation Handbook, under Informed Consent for Vaccination, it states:

2.1.3 Valid consent
Valid consent can be defined as the voluntary agreement by an individual to a proposed procedure, given after sufficient, appropriate and reliable information about the procedure, including the potential risks and benefits, has been conveyed to that individual.2-6 As part of the consent procedure, persons to be vaccinated and/or their parents/carers should be given sufficient information (preferably written) on the risks and benefits of each vaccine, including what adverse events are possible, how common they are and what they should do about them7 (the table inside the front cover of this Handbook, Side effects following immunisation for vaccines used in the National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule, can be used for this purpose).

For consent to be legally valid, the following elements must be present:6,8

It must be given by a person with legal capacity, and of sufficient intellectual capacity to understand the implications of being vaccinated.

It must be given voluntarily in the absence of undue pressure, coercion or manipulation. (emphasis added)

It must cover the specific procedure that is to be performed.
It can only be given after the potential risks and benefits of the relevant vaccine, risks of not having it and any alternative options have been explained to the individual.
The individual must have sufficient opportunity to seek further details or explanations about the vaccine(s) and/or its administration. The information must be provided in a language or by other means the individual can understand. Where appropriate, an interpreter and/or cultural support person should be involved.

Consent should be obtained before each vaccination, once it has been established that there are no medical condition(s) that contraindicate vaccination. Consent can be verbal or written. Immunisation providers should refer to their state or territory’s policies on obtaining written consent (refer to Appendix 1 Contact details for Australian, state and territory government health authorities and communicable disease control).

Consent on behalf of a child or adolescent
In general, a parent or legal guardian of a child has the authority to consent to vaccination of that child; however, it is important to check with your state or territory authority where any doubt exists.2,5 A child in this context is defined as being under the age of 18 years in Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia; under the age of 14 years in New South Wales; and under the age of 16 years in the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Queensland follows common law principles.

For certain procedures, including vaccination, persons younger than the ages defined above may have sufficient maturity to understand the proposed procedure and the risks and benefits associated with it, and thus may have the capacity to consent under certain circumstances. Refer to the relevant state or territory immunisation service provider guidelines for more information.

Should a child or adolescent refuse a vaccination for which a parent/guardian has given consent, the child/adolescent’s wishes should be respected and the parent/guardian informed. 2

Urgent update on Submissions to Senate Committee “No Jab, No Pay”

by Meryl Dorey

 I just got off the phone with the Secretariat of the Senate Commitee that is considering submissions on the No Jab, No Pay legislation. For those who have not been aware of what is happening with this, you can click here and here to read more.

The Secretariat told me some very important information so whether you have already sent in your submission or you were planning on doing so today, you MUST read this first because today is the deadline for all submissions and your voice counts! Submissions have to be received by 5 PM AEST – there is a 1 hour grace period but no more.

1- If you have not included your contact details (Name, Address, Phone number), your submission will not be accepted. Please note – it has been brought to my attention that submissions made via the committee’s web form will always collect this information so only if you mailed, emailed or FAXed your forms will this be a concern.

2- If your submission does not touch on the Bill at all, your submission will be taken as correspondence and will not be counted. If you say somewhere either in the body of your submission or, should you be sending it as email, in the introduction, that this is your submission, then it will be considered as a submission. One wording that I’ve seen on several submissions is: Attached please find my submission to the Senate Enquiry on the abovementioned Amendment Bill.” This is good wording should you wish to ‘borrow’ it.

3 – I was told that there were so many submissions that it is possible they may not all be dealt with prior to the time that the Committee needs to report back to the Senate on the 9th of November. This is not acceptable!  I just received information that over 1,000 submissions have been counted so far and it is expected that over 2,000 will have been received by the deadline this afternoon. I’m not sure if this is a record for any public inquiry by the Senate but it’s got to be close. It is so obvious that even Blind Freddy can see it, that this issue deserves time and serious consideration – not lip service and rushed decisions.

4- I was told that no promises will be made, but the Committee is considering holding a public hearing. We MUST put pressure on them to do this. We are voiceless without the opportunity to ask and answer questions in person as well as in writing.

Here is what I am asking everyone to do and it is vital that you do the first part today – the second can wait until next week if you’re pressed for time:

1- Check your submissions. If you feel that there is ANY chance that it will not be acceptable as a submission, edite it, add the wording about this being a submission, and resubmit it. Everyone one of us needs to be counted. Remember to do this before 6 PM this afternoon AEST.

2- Send an email to the Committee Secretariat demanding that they ask for an extension of time to properly consider the information they have received and also, that a public hearing be held to allow us to air our views before the senators. You can send this correspondence to the following email address – community.affairs.sen@aph.gov.au.

Again, with ALL submissions and correspondence, include your full name, address and phone contact. You can certainly ask them to withhold this information when they publish your submission on the website and they will do so but they won’t accept submissions without these details.

One last thing, I have tried to send an acknowledgement to everyone who has forwarded their submissions to me but I have been sick over this last week and was unable to do so. Please take it as read that I LOVE what you are doing, appreciate each and every one of you and will try very hard to get back to you over the coming days. Keep copying me in on your submissions – I get a little thrill every time I read one 🙂

URGENT – Action Plan to Protect Your Rights

UrgentYesterday afternoon, the No Jab, No Pay legislation was introduced in Federal Parliament. Please note – it was introduced – not passed.

You can (and should) read the Bill here:

Social Services Legislation Amendment (No Jab, No Pay) Bill 2015

If we do nothing, this bill will pass. If we wait for someone else to take the actions needed, this bill will pass. If we think that once this Bill passes we can somehow get it rescinded, we are living in a fool’s paradise.

We need to act – and we need to act NOW!

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

Thanks to the excellent work of a delegation of individuals that included representatives from the AVN. The Senate will be convening an inquiry looking into No Jab No Pay. I have no terms of reference for this inquiry as of yet but will find this information shortly. In addition to sending the letters to your State and Federal representatives, everyone needs to put together a short submission, explaining why you are opposed to this legislation and it needs to be received by the committee no later than October 16th so time is very short! I will be putting some talking points and details up about this over the weekend but be prepared to do some writing in the very near future. We need hundreds of submissions in order to show the Senators that there is a real grass-roots interest in health freedom. Be ready!

Here are 5 things you can do today to help ensure that this bill will never be enacted:

1- Send out the My Will letter to your local MP and State Senators should you have them.

2- Do the same for your federal pollies.

3- Write to Malcolm Turnbull and tell him why you oppose No Jab No Pay. Use the info from the My Will letter or use your own words. If you have a vaccine injured child – send him a picture. Make sure you use the words – “it is my will” in there somewhere so a reply will be required.

4- Join the AVN. Honestly, this is a no-brainer. For $25 a year, you will be supporting an organisation that is supporting you. Now that I am no longer President or on the Committee, I can say this – if you are not a member of the AVN, you are really not looking to the future. If you really can’t afford the $25, I believe there is a way to get a sponsored membership (but only do this if there is a real need). Contact the AVN and ask them about it. Whatever you do, join the AVN today!

5- Share this information with everyone you know – your children’s and grandchildren’s future may very well depend on what you do today. So be strong – be forthright – and be vocal. 271 new vaccines are in the pipeline. You and your family are the targets. So step forward and own your decisions. You are not alone. You are loved, supported and part of a growing community of freedom-loving men and women – speak your truth.

That’s it – a handful of steps you can take to help your family and your country. Will you please do this today?

Love to you all,

Meryl

Who do you think you’re Kidd-ing?

by Meryl Dorey

Dr Richard Kidd
Dr Richard Kidd, Council and Board Member of the Australian Medical Association, QLD

On Thursday, September 10th, I attended an inquiry that was held in the QLD Parliament regarding the possibility of excluding unvaccinated children from childcare. I was there as an observer and to support the AVN contingent who, I must say, did a masterful job under very difficult conditions. You can read more about that by clicking here.

I am starting this blog series with the speaker who I felt should have been the best-informed of the lot, but who unfortunately showed himself to be terribly ignorant of some basic vaccination facts.

If he were a neurosurgeon or a kidney specialist for example, one might almost understand his errors. But Dr Richard Kidd is a Council and Board Member of the Australian Medical Association, QLD and he is also a general practitioner – the sort of person who both administers vaccines and is meant to advise parents with up-to-date and accurate information.

During his testimony before the Committee, Dr Kidd was asked by the Committee Chair about boosters for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). She said that she had boosters when she gave birth to her young children but not the MMR. She asked the doctor if that was necessary.

His answer blew me away. And it should leave you with grave concerns about the competence of Australian doctors if such basic and egregious errors can be made by someone so high up in the medical fraternity.

Dr Kidd answered that, “…we do like to give people MMR preferably before they become pregnant but you can do it during pregnancy.”

Now, if Dr Kidd is giving his pregnant patients the MMR vaccine, he is not only putting their unborn children at risk, but he is also acting in direct contravention to the Australian Government’s guidelines on vaccination!

According to the Australian Immunisation Handbook which is published on the Australian Government Department of Health website:

“MMR-containing vaccines are contraindicated in pregnant women. Pregnancy should be avoided for 28 days after vaccination.”

Pregnancy VaccinesThere is no doubt about this; no controversy. The rubella portion of the MMR vaccine has been contraindicated in pregnancy since it was first manufactured in the 1960s. Rubella vaccines are meant to prevent congenital rubella syndrome, which it is thought can cause congenital malformations and death in a percentage of infants whose mothers contract it during pregnancy. Because the vaccine contains the live attenuated rubella virus, it is possible for it to cause the very same condition it’s meant to prevent if administered during pregnancy – especially during the first trimester. So Dr Kidd’s advice is deceptive, misleading and dangerous.

It is not the only error he made during his testimony. During the same answer to the Committee Chair, Dr Kidd stated that:

“We are routinely giving people boosters for tetanus in particular and attached to that is diphtheria. Maybe we should have the pertussis attached to that as well.” 

The mind boggles.

Dr Kidd was speaking about vaccination for adults (because that is what the question was about). There is only ONE vaccine that is recommended for adults who are seeking to have booster shots against diphtheria and tetanus. It is called Boostrix and it is a trivalent vaccine containing antigens for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Did the good doctor really not know that?

There is a vaccine that is only for diphtheria and tetanus – called ADT (Adult diphtheria and tetanus) but it is not recommended for boosters and is only used in rare instances. Most doctors’ offices would not even have this shot in the fridge.

There were several other instances where Dr Kidd made statements that were either verifiably incorrect or were riding the thin edge of what is provable. I don’t have time to deal with all of those here. But I will end with one of the more bold-faced incorrect statements he made, towards the end of his testimony.

One of the other committee members, a doctor himself, asked Dr Kidd about information that had been provided earlier in the day regarding the possibility of vaccines causing immune dysfunction. The AMA representative was asked if this was true.

His response was:

“There have been a couple of studies but they have been flawed.”

Oh, really?

The link between vaccinations and immune dysfunction/autoimmunity is so strong, it has been given a name in the medical literature – Autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA). Adjuvants are extremely toxic ingredients intentionally added to vaccines to induce an immune response. ASIA is autoimmunity caused by these ingredients. Again, there is no controversy about this – it is an accepted phenomenon within medical circles. So why is Dr Kidd, a GP who deals with vaccinations in his own practice (a practice he claims has a 96% vaccination rate) ignorant of this?

For one thing, there is a textbook by THE world authority on autoimmunity, Dr Yehuda Shoenfeld (you can read his CV at this link – it is very impressive indeed!), called Vaccines and Autoimmunity. This book was co-authored by Nancy Agmon-Levin, a professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and Dr Lucija Tomljenovic, a PhD researcher at the Neural Dynamics Research Group at the University of British Columbia.

This text is used to teach advanced immunology to students at universities around the world. And it has not been found to be ‘flawed’. It was presented by one of the speakers representing the AVN but the AMA representative was not present in the room at the time so he would not have seen that. The Committee members should have, however.

Below is a small selection of other articles from peer-reviewed journals discussing the link between vaccines and immune system dysfunction – there are many more respected (not flawed) studies. If you are interested in seeing some of them, just click this link to go to a Google Scholar search for studies discussing whether or not vaccines cause autoimmunity. Interesting note – there are 33,000 results – so much for Dr Kidd’s “couple”:

Vaccination and autoimmunity-‘vaccinosis’: a dangerous liaison?; J Autoimmun. 2000 Feb;14(1):1-10.

Vaccination and autoimmune disease: what is the evidence?; THE LANCET; June 3, 2003

Vaccine-related Risk of Autoimmune Reactions; Rheumatology. 2011;50(8):1358-1365

Self-Organized Criticality Theory of Autoimmunity; 10.1371/journal.pone.0008382

I will be sending a copy of this blog to all sitting members of the QLD Parliament – including those who sat on the Committee that heard Dr Kidd’s testimony. They need to be aware that the information they consider to be sacrosanct because it comes from doctors isn’t necessarily so. I hope to receive appropriate responses in the near future and I will share any and all responses on this blog.

In conclusion, while it is not necessarily surprising (since I have spoken with many doctors over the years who were not well-informed about vaccination ingredients, safety or efficacy), it is disappointing that someone in such an esteemed and responsible position would not be better informed. Doesn’t Dr Kidd realise that as a doctor, he holds a sacred trust? Parents come to him anticipating that he is an expert because the government says he is. The government says all doctors are experts.

But if Dr Kidd has been giving MMR vaccines to pregnant women, he has seriously breached that trust and needs to be held accountable.

Once again, it is clear that when making a vaccination decision, though you should be speaking with your doctor, you should also be seeking independent information from other sources including doing your own research. Taking this responsibility and doing your own research is the only way to keep yourself and your children safe.

 

No Jab, No Pay, Health Rights, Childcare

QLD Parliamentary Inquiry into allowing Unvaccinated Children to be excluded from Childcare

QLD ParlimentOn the 19th of August, 2013, then AVN President, Greg Beattie, gave a presentation before a QLD Parliamentary Inquiry looking into changes to the way in which unvaccinated children are admitted to childcare facilities. The intent was to exclude the unvaccinated or make it more difficult for them to attend.

The Committee Chair was Trevor Ruthenberg and he was both fair and competent in the way he managed the day.

The AVN put together a scientifically-based, well-referenced submission and was treated with great respect by most on this committee whose ultimate decision was, thankfully, not to go ahead with the intended legislative changes.

This last week, On September 10th, due to very similar changes being proposed in QLD, the AVN once again took the time to put together a submission and was called upon to testify.

We assumed that the procedure would be the same and that the Committee would, once again, treat all those who took the time to testify with respect.

Unfortunately, that was not the case.

I was there as an observer so I was able to closely watch both the previous speakers and the AVN representatives.

Altogether, were 12 speakers who were in support of government policies regarding the exclusion of unvaccinated children (actually, Professor Julie Leask, though an avid supporter of vaccination, was not happy with the bill in its present state and said – amongst other things – that it was unethical) and 4 speakers who believed in free and informed health choice. The AVN’s group consisted of Greg Beattie, Tasha David (current AVN President) and Brett Smith, a member of the AVN.

In addition, there was to be a presentation from Ms Rebecca Hansen-Smith, a QLD mother who has been researching this issue extensively and who gave an excellent presentation at the last Committee Meeting.

The AVN was told that they would have 20 minutes in total and they were to present after Prof Julie Leask testified by telephone hookup. They therefore prepared a 3-minute opening statement each (9 minutes in total) and allowed 11 minutes for questions.

Ms Hansen-Smith was also given 20 minutes and she was supposed to be the last speaker of the day, immediately following the AMA (there will be a very long blog about the presentation of Dr Kidd from the AMA within the next day or two).

The Committee members listened to the pro-medical speakers with great attentiveness and asked many, many questions – the majority of them, Dorothy Dixers.

When it came time for the AVN to speak, however, the Committee called Rebecca Hansen-Smith at the same time.

The AVN just assumed that their time had been extended to 40 minutes (which would have been fair) and the Committee just wanted them all to speak together since they were covering the topic from the same point of view.

Less than 2 minutes into Ms Hansen-Smith’s opening statement however (the Committee asked her to go first), the Chair interrupted, asking if she could please wrap it up! Of course, none of us expected this and Rebecca said that she still had important information she had prepared and wanted to get to.

The Chair said that the Committee was running overtime after the previous speakers so the AVN was going to have to cut its time short and also merge its time with another, unrelated person!

Of course, everyone was most upset about this. Tasha had flown in from Melbourne, Brett from Sydney and Greg had travelled from the Sunshine Coast. In their voluntary capacity, they had spent hours putting together submissions and opening statements and now, they were not going to be allowed to put them on the public record!

Greg’s opening statement (in the next blog following this one) was cut in half and neither Brett nor Tasha got to use their statements at all.

To add insult to injury, whilst the Committee had listened very intently to the pro-vaccine speakers, they chatted amongst themselves nearly the entire time the AVN and Ms Hansen-Young were presenting.

You can read the Transcript of the day’s testimony at this link – and as I said previously, I am going to be writing an in-depth analyses of several of these presentations, but I would just like to close by saying that the Committee showed extreme rudeness and disdain for those who were in opposition to the passage of this law.

This was a public hearing and they were the only ones representing the general public. Instead of listening to them and allowing them the requisite time they had been promised, they were ignored and their talks were cut short.

Lastly, when the final presenter of the day, Dr Richard Kidd from the AMA QLD rose to speak, he assured the Chair that he would be as brief as possible. The Chair replied, “We have made up time. Thank you.”

Of course they had made up time! They had cut the two health consumer talks in half in order to give that time to a medical lobby group.

I am hoping that they will at least be fair when determining the outcome of this legislation (and please do take the time to read Greg’s opening statement because it explains why this legislation cannot go ahead in its present state).

Only time will tell.

A new Pro-Choice political party needs your help URGENTLY!

iStock_000011256677XSmallI am reposting this extremely important information here. Please everyone, read, share and consider! I have just joined this party this morning (was previously a member of the Greens – HAH! With di Natale as head, that party is now nothing more than a pro-pharma joke!). If you believe in freedom of choice in Australia; if you believe in justice for Australians, consider joining this party too and do it soon because they MUST get 700 more members by Monday. The septics are out to shut them down – let’s show them that our voices count! Read and share, read and share!

Thanks,

Meryl

URGENT!

As you all know I have been telling you about Jeff Hodges from the Consumer Rights and No Tolls political party.
Unfortunately the anti-choice community have decided that he should be silenced and have put in a complaint to try and get his website domain taken away. He now has until Monday to get 700 members to register as a national party.
This assault on anyone who dares question the status quo needs to stop, it is unnecessary and ridiculous. Please join me and showing them that we are sick of being pushed around and let’s get some politicians in parliament that will be our voice!
Jeff’s party has been running since 2012/13 and are getting close to having enough members to register with the electoral commission, if any of you can support his party please check out his website http://www.consumerrights.org.au/ and register.
He needs your name, address and birth date, if you are already a member of another party you have the option to join his party and take your allegiance over to Consumer Rights and No Tolls party it is your right and your choice.
It is free to join and if you feel like changing your mind later on you can do that too, but let’s get Jeff’s party up and running and let the cyber bullies know enough is enough!

“Hello, I am Jeffrey Hodges, Founder and secretary of the new Consumer Rights & No Tolls party, and we really need your help please.

We want to stand at the next election for consumer rights issues, and we stand strongly beside you in regards the rights of people to refuse vaccinations and not be discriminated against. We will do whatever we can when elected to repeal the discriminatory ‘No jab, No pay’ legislation which both the ALP and LNP support.

However, to become a registered party we need at least 700 foundation members – and we need you to provide your full name, date of birth and residential address as per the electoral roll.

There is no cost – membership is totally free – and there is no obligation for you to be involved in any way. You would just be helping us ‘have a go’ and stand against ‘No jab, No pay’ and other important consumer rights issues. Please have a look at our website and join us if you agree with what we stand for.
You can join online at www.consumerrights.org.au

There is an urgency in this as we are wanting to register the party next week – so please, please, join us by the weekend!
If you have any questions, you can call me personally on 07 5445 7994.

Thanks for your help.
Thanks!
Jeffrey”
www.consumerrights.org.au
CONSUMERRIGHTS.ORG.AU