Chiropractor, Childhood Chiropractic, Healthy Baby

Does the CAA represent Australian Chiropractors? The Courage of Their Convictions

Chiropractor, Childhood Chiropractic, Healthy BabyWhen the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) began, way back in 1994, amongst the core group of 6 founders were 2 chiropractors. One was a local practitioner and another was from further away. They, like most chiropractors, fully supported the rights for all individuals to make free and informed health decisions without fear of coercion, financial penalty or government threats. One of those chiropractors went on to run a State branch of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (CAA), one of the 2 peak bodies governing the profession in this country.

Since its inception, the AVN has had a close, cooperative and friendly relationship with Australian chiropractors and the CAA. They had in excess of 10% of all Australian Chiropractors as Professional Members of the organisation when that level of membership was still available and I have personally spoken at many conferences and meetings hosted by both state and national branches of the CAA. Chiropractors who came to hear me have even been granted CE (continuing education) points.

Pressure brought to bear on chiropractors

Several years ago, things started to change. Chiropractors started to come under attack for supporting freedom of choice because many of them are sceptical about the benefits and safety of vaccination and were very supportive of their patients’ right to make informed choices about this issue. They were also being abused for daring to treat infants and children as well as adults, and for having the nerve to claim that chiropractic adjustments could treat more than back and neck pain.

The Chiropractic Board at that time deemed that chiropractors must not discuss any vaccination issues with patients. Chiropractors were not to have any information or books about vaccination in their offices and if a patient asked for their opinion on this topic, that patient was to be referred to the government health authorities or their local GP. In other words, chiropractors – health professionals who go through nearly the same training as medical doctors (without the emphasis on drugs and surgery) for the same number of years, were being told that they were not allowed to use their expertise to help their patients! Many of the chiropractors I spoke with at that time, including sitting Board members of the CAA, were furious about these moves!

Asking the hard questions

A few weeks ago, I was copied in on an email sent to a large list of Australian chiropractors by one of the top practitioners in this country. his question is below as well as my answer sent to him directly.

Q. should we get involved in this [vaccination] debate, as chiropractors, at this time ?

A. I’m not a chiropractor (as you well know, XXXXX :-), but Palmer went to jail (several times, from memory) for what he believed to be true regarding health. If he hadn’t done so, we most likely would not have chiropractic anywhere in the world!

If chiropractors allow themselves to be silenced, they are not doing right by themselves or by their patients. The only ones who will benefit from your silence are corporate government, corporate media and big pharma – all of whom want to see the end of chiropractic care, patient rights, the right to choose any and all forms of natural health. Do you really think that staying silent at this time will be a good thing?

The question is a good one: should chiropractors get involved in the vaccination debate or should they simply hide their own opinions, beliefs and the data their education has prepared them to analyse and just let their patients get information from one side only – the side that has been approved by the government?

On November 14, 2016, the CAA, a body that charges chiropractors for membership and purports to represent their interests with both the government and the general public, issued a statement you can read in its entirety at this link.

On the one hand, the CAA states, regarding best practice when caring for infants and children, that:

Best practice requires:

• placing the interests and wellbeing of the paediatric patient first;
• ensuring there is informed consent from the paediatric patient’s parent or guardian;
• carefully explaining the risks of care and alternatives to care to the parent or guardian; and
• identifying any ‘red flags’ particular to the paediatric patient and investigating, managing, co-managing or referring to an appropriate health practitioner.

All laudable goals when it comes to any form of treatment!

But then, they proceed to state that:

The CAA supports the Australian government’s view that immunisation is an important health care initiative. It is outside the scope of practice for chiropractors. When considering immunisation, patients should consult with either their GP or Maternal and Child Health Nurse for further information.

Now, this is a view that, I can comfortably state after personally speaking with many hundreds of chiropractors, represents a tiny minority of those in the profession.

CAA attacks the AVN-an organisation supported by many chiropractors

As if that were not bad enough, or disrespectful enough of the majority of their members’ informed and educated opinions, the CAA made a statement on their Facebook page:

Chiropractors Association Australia, Freedom of Choice, Chiropractic Care

I have spoken with the AVN Committee and to date, nobody from the CAA has contacted them about removing any link. In addition, since I was the one who set up the AVN’s web page and their links (medical, natural health and general), I can tell you that for many years, the CAA link has been reciprocal – in other words, they linked to the AVN and the AVN linked to the CAA.

Are the leaders of the chiropractic profession in Australia now guilty of cowardice? When their founder, Daniel David Palmer, felt so committed to the health of his patients that he spent time in prison in their defence, have his descendants strayed so far from their roots that their income has now become more important than their morals and knowledge?

Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I revere the chiropractic profession. My family’s healthcare provider has been a chiropractor for the last 25 years. But when I see that profession so afraid to hold to the courage of their convictions that they are willing to allow their patients to make decisions based only on information they themselves disagree with, I have to ask whether their usefulness as a healing modality is in its last days?

I support chiropractic and want to know what you think

By writing this blog, I know that I am exposing chiropractors to attack. In fact, all natural health modalities are and have been under attack. There are no rocks big enough for them to hide under any longer. It is time to fight back. It is time to stand up for what you believe in. It is time to tell the government, organisations like Friends of Science in Medicine and others whose stated goal is to see your profession exterminated that you will not bow to government-approved health tyranny.

Please comment on this blog if you are a chiropractor or if you use chiropractors for your healthcare. Feel free to use an alias since you will be threatened with deregistration if you dare to become public about your beliefs. It is time to support each other!

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.

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

Why vaccinations are a religion

Forced vaccination is unconstitutional

by Rixta Francis

899696_sThe self-proclaimed (and generally accepted) gold standard of the pharmaceutical industry is the double-blind,  placebo-controlled study (a placebo being a neutral, ineffective substance; in the case of vaccinations, a saline solution). There is a lot wrong with this gold standard, but let’s just accept that it is the standard that a drug’s claims to effectiveness and safety are expected to meet. Without positive studies like this, drugs will rarely be accepted by the government regulators.

Vaccines are drugs, and they are made by the pharmaceutical industry. But they are the exception to the rule, for the abovementioned gold standard is NOT applied to vaccines. There is no double-blind, placebo-controlled study that shows that vaccines are either safe or effective, let alone a study that shows the effects of multiple vaccines given, as is common practice, simultaneously. Those studies simply are not done. The reason the pharmaceutical industry gives for that is that it would be unethical to withhold a vaccine from the children in the placebo group. It seems to bother nobody that this means that children (and adults) are injected with drugs that have in no way been proven to be either safe or effective.

Vaccine efficacy is fatally flawed as a substitute for vaccine effectiveness. A vaccine’s efficacy is measured by the proportion of vaccinees developing a certain concentration of antibodies, a concentration believed to be protective. But scientists have already known for three decades that antibodies do NOT equal immunity. The only way to measure vaccine efficacy in a lab is completely useless for measuring its effectiveness in an epidemic. But that too seems to bother nobody; in lieu of its effectiveness at protection, the drug’s efficacy in antibody production is still used universally to sell it.

Those who try to impose their beliefs on others, we call zealots.

The reason people don’t care about these facts is that they have such a strong BELIEF in these shots that it doesn’t seem to matter whether there is any evidence of safety or efficacy. But anyone can believe anything; that doesn’t mean it’s true. And it doesn’t matter either that most doctors believe in it and that many people believe their doctors. There are some 1.5 billion people who believe in Jesus, some 800 million who believe in Allah, some 800 million who believe in Shiva. That’s considerably more than the number of doctors who believe in vaccinations. Still everyone agrees that these are religions and not science. So ‘everyone believes it’ doesn’t make a belief anything more than a belief.

Our freedom NOT to practice the religion of vaccination

The Australian constitution grants us freedom of religion. Section 116 of the constitution says:

“The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.”

It’s clear: the Australian constitution prohibits forcing any kind of religious practice onto anybody else. That prohibition includes government discrimination that is based in any way on submission or non-submission to any religion or religious practice.

This implies that nobody can be denied government payments or a job or anything else solely based on refusal to submit to the religious practice of vaccination. If the government, an employer, or anybody else is to implement discrimination on the basis of vaccination, then it will have to show clear, indisputable proof that the vaccine’s claimed safety and efficacy are based on science and not on beliefs. The burden of proof is not on those who refuse to accept those beliefs; it’s solely on those who want to force others to submit to them.

If the government (or anybody else) denies Australian citizens the FULL freedom to accept or reject vaccinations for themselves or their children, then it does so in contravention of the constitution. And that means the end of Australia as a democracy.

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.

Interview on 2CC Canberra: Ken McLeod and Meryl Dorey

Sherri Tenpennyby Meryl Dorey

As mentioned in the last blog post, Canberra Radio 2CC interviewed both Ken McLeod from Stop the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network (SAVN) and myself regarding the up-coming vaccination seminars with Dr Sherri Tenpenny.

SAVN admins appear to be a little bit embarrassed by Mr McLeod’s ‘performance’ on the program and the usually resourceful admins were unable to find the audio file for this interview. When a member of the Facebook group asked if Ken McLeod had been interviewed on 2CC, SAVN admin, Katie Brockie Kate Squires (correction by admin) replied:

It did indeed happen. Our own Ken McLeod was on as well, but was hoodwinked by Ms. Dorey’s appearance. Not sure if there’s a copy of audio. 

Well Katie, never fear! We have a copy of that audio and have transcribed it for your reading pleasure! And perhaps, while we’re at it, you can explain how I hoodwinked Mr McLeod when he was interviewed before me and was able to say whatever he wanted to say without interruption?

Freedom of speech? Not in their Australia!

SAVN has been trying their hardest to get Dr Tenpenny’s visa to enter Australia revoked and to bully the venues where she will be speaking to break their contracts to host these talks.

It is obvious, listening to Mr McLeod, that SAVN has no respect for personal rights or freedom of speech. He is also not above bending the truth in order to besmirch the reputation of the good doctor.

Below is a transcript of the interview which took place on January 7, 2015. I have provided a copy of the text to the presenter, Mr Rod Henshaw, and if he provides me with any corrections, I will be sure to update this blog. I do not believe there are any errors in this text however.

Interviewer: Rod Henshaw (R)

Interviewees: Ken McLeod (K), Meryl Dorey (M)

R:              A number of Australian doctors and expats … experts I should say, not expats. Well, maybe they’re expert expats, but a number of Australian doctors and experts are calling on the federal government to stop a prominent anti-vaccine campaigner from entering the country. Sherri Tenpenny is the author of the Saying No to Vaccine and is due to begin an Australian speaking tour in March, but Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is currently receiving advice on the issue, but Ken McLeod is from the Stop the AVN organisation. Ken, thanks for joining us.

K:              Oh, good afternoon Rod.

R:              Why shouldn’t we let Sherri Tenpenny into the country?iStock_000011256677XSmall

K:              She’s a very effective campaigner against vaccines and that’s not a good thing. She claims that vaccines are responsible for mass murders, including the Sandy Hook School massacre, that vaccines cause SIDS, autism, they disconnect the brain from the universe, etc, etc. We’re afraid that the end result of her tour is that some well-meaning parents will be conned. Sherri Tenpenny is not your average ratbag, she’s in a class of her own. We’re frightened that if enough parents are deceived the end result is misery, extra stress on the health department budgets, occasionally death and so on.

R:              But aren’t you underestimating the average intelligence of the average Australian in this case? I mean, aren’t you … there’s two questions I’ve got here, but that’s a first one. Are you … aren’t you assuming that the parents can’t pick and choose for themselves and work out what’s right and what’s wrong?

K:              You’re quite right. Most people, and I’m saying right up there in the 90% of the population can follow good advice, but there is that small number who can be dissuaded and that’s been proven in the statistics and that percentage of it is the number of people that we are worried about.

R:              But we do hear people from other walks of life coming out with totally outrageous things and we’ve heard it with Muslims in this current climate and all that sort of thing. Now, this doesn’t really differ too much from there because we can actually say well you’re an idiot, we don’t believe you, go back home if you want to and all this sort of thing, but at least we give them the right of free speech which you don’t seem to be willing to give … to extend to this person.

K:              That’s right. Yeah, it is a very difficult issue and I would say that your right of free speech ends where it has any effect on … an effect on the health of my children.

R:              Yeah, is that really the answer? You haven’t really answered the question. You’re saying she can’t come because we don’t agree with what she’s saying and you put a few very vibrant examples there, sure, I give you that, but still she’s surely entitled to express those opinions if she so desires and we’re so entitled that we can say bugger off, go home, we don’t want you and we don’t believe you, but let’s hear you first.

K:              Oh well, the problem is of course that in … what you might call an opinion is actually a disproven fact. She shares things that are clearly untrue, disproven by the science, and it wouldn’t matter if no one was hurt. So Australia has a proven track record of barring entry to people who can cause disharmony or endanger public health and I’m referring to Julien Blanc, the chap who ran seminars on how to seduce women and just use them for sex, David Irving, the Holocaust denier. We would say that Miss Tenpenny is up there in that league, but we do recognise that this is an incredibly difficult decision for the minister. We should … we are saying that the minister should, at the very least, deny Tenpenny a working visa, which mean that there would be no speaking fees, no payments, no entry fees, etc, etc.

R:              Okay, I am playing devil’s advocate with this, as you can probably tell (both laughing), but I am serious about the democracy thing, I mean, it reminds me of an old line out of one of those BBC television series, I forget which one, where they say democracy is fine, but why give it to the people? And it comes back to …

K:              (Laughing)

R:              … my original thing is couldn’t … shouldn’t we be …

K:              Yeah.

R:              … trusted enough to make our own minds up on this?

government-lies-truthK:              Yeah and that is the problem. I mean, if we’re discussing the existence of aliens and flying saucers and so on no harm is done, but where someone is using misinformation to persuade parents not to vaccinate their children and being very, very convincing about it, we think, you know, there’s a barrier there. There’s a bar that has to be brought down.

R:              Okay, well we’ll have to leave it there. We do have somebody from the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network, but I’ll put you on hold just in case you want to have a listen and we’ll go to her and then … but in the meantime I do thank you very much for your time this afternoon.

K:              Yeah, thanks Rod.

R:              Thanks Ken. Ken McLeod is the … from the Stop the AVN organisation and, as I mentioned, we do have somebody from basically the other side of the coin, if you like. Meryl Dorey is founder of the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network. Meryl, good afternoon.

M:            Good afternoon. Thank you.

R:              I don’t know how much you heard of that. Do you have a comment, a response?

M:            Oh, well I heard much of it. I don’t know how long Mr McLeod was on, but I heard some of the things that he claimed that Doctor Sherri Tenpenny was saying and it reminds me of a statement made by, I think his name is Goebbels, tell a lie long enough and often enough and it becomes the truth because what Mr McLeod was saying was not what Doctor Tenpenny has ever said. She has never claimed that vaccines cause mass murder, she’s never linked them with Sandy Hook, this is all just an attempt to smear her and personally …

R:              But can …

M:            … I think that if …

R:              Just before you go any further, I got to play …

M:            Sure.

R:              … devil’s advocate with this one too. How can you say she hasn’t said them? Can you prove that she hasn’t said those sort of things, those statements … made those statements?

M:            Well I’ve been following Doctor Tenpenny for over 20 years. She is above all an extremely moderate and intelligent person. All of her information comes from peer-reviewed journals. She has done over 20,000 hours of research in mainstream medical journals to gain the information that she shares with people who come to listen to her, so I would be very strongly … I would say very strongly that she’s never said any of those things. You know, if Mr McLeod has any proof of that let him prove it, let him show it.

R:              He seemed pretty …

M:            Until he does that …

R:              … straightforward and pretty strong with his views on that …

M:            He …

R:              … so I don’t think … I think … in fact, I would just suspect that in the court of law the defamation laws might come in if he’s wrong.

M:            Well, I hope they would too. I really do hope they would, because I don’t think that people have a right to tell lies about other people …

R:              That’s what I’m …

M:            … simply because ….

R:              That’s why I’m questioning whether he would actually go so … be so silly as to make those sort of statements if he couldn’t back them up.slander

M:            Oh, he’s done it before, so … I mean I have no doubt that he does not have the information to back that up. Like I said, let him prove it. If he proves it I will apologise and say sorry Ken, I was wrong, but I’m pretty confident that I won’t have to do that and what I want to say about this whole situation is that Australia is a democracy and in a democracy we have the right to disagree with each other, but we should also be defending others’ rights to say things that we disagree with. Australian parents are intelligent, they are very concerned about their children, they have every right and every ability to make these decisions for themselves after looking at both sides and asking appropriate questions from both sides. This …

R:              Meryl, it does come back … it’s incumbent on me to come back to say how can you prove that not vaccinating your children is going to be a good thing when we know so well that there is so many research papers and there has been so much documented evidence that kids do die unless they’re not vacc … unless they’re vaccinated?

M:            Okay, now first of all we have documented evidence as well. There is science on both sides and both sides … we don’t tell anyone that they shouldn’t vaccinate. Nobody tells anyone that. Doctor Tenpenny does not tell anyone that. All the AVN says is that there are risks and benefits to vaccination and it behoves all parents as responsible adults to get both sides of this information before making a choice for their children. The woman who is organising this series of seminars actually lost a child because of vaccination. My eldest child was vaccine-injured. Many parents who have chosen to look into this issue only did so after seeing one of their loved ones either die or suffer a serious reaction to a vaccination. We were not told that these things could happen. All the AVN is saying is that you need to get this information so that if your child has a reaction you know how to respond, you know what to do. You have a choice; vaccination is not compulsory. Everyone has the right to make this decision and it is wrong for any government, any medical community, to suppress, actively suppress, information that is sourced from peer-reviewed, mainstream medical literature that discusses the known risks and side effects …

R:              Well Immigration Minister …

M:            … of vaccination.

R:              Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is currently receiving advice on this issue, as I mentioned. How do you reckon he’ll go? Do you reckon …

M:            I have no idea.

R:              Do you think that there is a weight of evidence on the side perhaps of the people like Ken McLeod? And I will add that he is only one of a number of Australian doctors and experts who are calling on the government to stop her coming over here in the first place; it’s not just him.

M:            Okay. Ken McLeod is neither an expert nor a doctor. Ken McLeod is a member of a hate group called the Australian … Stop the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network. Their founder had an AVO order against them for making threats against myself for having phone calls coming from their home making threats against myself. This is the sort of organisation that they are dealing with. If the Minister for Immigration is making a judgement based on the law he will allow Sherri Tenpenny … Doctor Sherri Tenpenny to come to Australia. If he is making an emotional decision based on peer-pressure brought about by these people then he probably won’t and if he doesn’t it’s going to be a shameful situation for Australia. We should all have the right to speak our truth and people can listen to it. If they don’t want to … not listen to it if they don’t want to and they can also argue it and discuss it. I have been trying for many years to set up a public debate on this issue with everyone from the health minister on down and they continually refuse to present their information to the general public to let them make a decision. The parents of Australia are capable of doing this, they should be allowed to.

R:              Okay, you make a fairly strong argument. Then again, so does Ken, but as you say Ken has got to back that up and …

M:            Yes.

R:              … it’ll be interesting to see where it goes. So if he’s wrong and you’re right why don’t you serve him with a legal notice?

M:            Well, it’s not my name he’s smeared here, but I certainly think that Doctor Tenpenny would be interested in hearing what he has said, especially since she can prove that it’s not true and he has to prove that it’s true. He can’t just go about saying things like that without the proof to back it up.

R:              Yeah. It’s only one flaw there in Australian law … defamation law, truth is not necessarily a defence, that’s the trouble, but I think …

M:            Yeah.

R:              … you’re on the path there, you could be … it could be a very interesting result in court when both side … where both sides are presented accordingly.

M:            Thank you for the opportunity to speak here.

R:              Thank you Meryl.

M:            I appreciate it. Bye bye.

R:              Bye bye. Meryl Dorey, founder of the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network. On 2cc. It’s 3:42.

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.