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

Did NSW Fair Trading Illegally Leak Private AVN Information?

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In November 2013, the Administrative Decisions Tribunal affirmed that the NSW Office of Fair Trading (OFT) may lawfully order us to change our name. Then, in December, our attempt to process the new name was thwarted when that name was somehow leaked to outside parties. This happened within hours of our payment failing due to an unauthorized access on our credit card. This enabled them to ‘get in first’ and register the name for themselves.

(Note: individuals can register business names immediately, whereas incorporated associations have to wait for OFT to register an official name on their behalf.)

This was not the first time we suspected sensitive information had leaked from OFT. Just one month prior, members of ‘Stop the AVN’ publicised the decision regarding our forced name change (mentioned above) before we ourselves were aware of it. At the time, the only parties with access to this information were OFT and the Tribunal itself. The event in December galvanised our suspicions.

Our contact at the OFT undertook to investigate the alleged leak, but despite this promise, it appears that no investigation has taken place and all communication with our contact has been cut off by the OFT without explanation.

During the past six months, many of our members have asked about the progress of this investigation. Each time, we have had to reply that we were still waiting. To date, we have had no adequate response nor any indication that an investigation has or will take place.

On May 15th of this year (six weeks ago) we issued the Commissioner with a statement of events, and asked for confirmation of its accuracy. We indicated the statement would be used to brief our members about what had occurred thus far.

We have been asked to sit tight ever since while a response could be prepared. And we have, until now. Our final deadline to OFT passed five days ago. The Committee has now decided to go ahead and release the statement.

Below is the letter, complete with the statement and an outline of our concerns. In addition, you will find subsequent correspondence between OFT and AVN.

——————————————————–

May 15, 2014

The Commissioner,
NSW Fair Trading

Ref: Your correspondence of 14/3/2014
by email to commissioner@finance.nsw.gov.au

Dear Commissioner,

Regarding the possible leakage from your office of sensitive information concerning our organisation.

Please read the following document and advise as to whether any of the information in the enclosure or the summary (below) is inaccurate. We request your response in writing no later than the close of business on Thursday, May 29, 2014. Should you require more time to respond, please contact us. In response to queries from our members regarding this issue, we intend to inform them using the information in the summary and full-text letter below. If we do not hear from you within this timeframe, we will presume that you agree with these statements and will proceed accordingly.

In summary:

1- No formal investigation took place. It is clear that sensitive information provided by the AVN, somehow flowed from NSW Fair Trading to third parties. Despite the disturbing nature of this situation, NSW Fair Trading has neglected to conduct an investigation.

2- Ms Lunney, our contact at the department, expressed deep concern about what had occurred. We were surprised then to be told that she was unavailable to speak with us subsequently.

3- It seems that someone within NSW Fair Trading did indeed release information to a third party. However, instead of treating this situation with the seriousness it deserved, a carefully-worded letter was sent to the AVN by Mr Stowe, the Commissioner of Fair Trading, giving us assurances of things we hadn’t alleged whilst avoiding those we had.

Kind regards,
Greg Beattie,
President
Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc

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Is the NSW Office of Fair Trading leaking privileged information?

Members of Stop the AVN have obtained information that was not in the public arena at least twice in recent months.

The first instance occurred on the 25th of November. When the Administrative Decisions Tribunal (ADT) decision was handed down in the case of the AVN against NSW Fair Trading, members of Stop the AVN issued tweets about our loss before we ourselves were informed and before this information was public knowledge. We confirmed with the Registrar at the ADT that the only person who had knowledge of this decision at the time the tweets were issued was the solicitor for NSW Fair Trading.

The second instance occurred in December of 2013.

At 11:36 AM on the 20th of December, Meryl Dorey faxed and emailed a copy of a Form A1 (application to reserve a name) as well as a credit card payment form to the Department of NSW Fair Trading.

Unfortunately, due to an unauthorised access of the AVN’s credit card, the payment was rejected on December 24th.

1- Within hours of the payment failure, members of Stop the AVN had registered the exact same name we had tried to reserve as well as three variations of that name with ASIC.

2- On Boxing Day (December 26th), the AVN’s President, Mr Greg Beattie, received a call from Mr Rick Morton, a journalist with the Australian newspaper, who asked him why our name registration had failed. At this point, we ourselves were unaware of any problem with the payment and Mr Beattie told him as much.

3- On January 2nd, Mr Morton published an article (Appendix A) stating that the AVN had failed to register the name Australian Vaccination-Sceptics Network. The only time that name (including the hyphen) had been written down was on the paperwork the AVN had submitted to the Department on the 20th of December.

4- That same day, January 2nd, the AVN was made aware of a blog post from Mr Dan Buzzard (the text of which was later posted to the AVN’s PO Box in Bangalow). (Appendix B). Mr Buzzard stated that on the 24th of December, his “investigators” notified him that we had attempted to register the name Australian Vaccination-Sceptics Network.

5- Also on the 2nd of January, the following online comment was posted on the website of the Northern Star newspaper in response to their story about the AVN’s ‘failure’ to register our name.

Sandra_Harvey of Ocean Shores wrote:

“So to reserve a name without paying for it until their hand is forced once again by NSW Fair Trading has backfired. Dan Buzzard registered the name Australian Vaccination Sceptics Network with ASIC. If they had simply paid up like any sane person who wanted to register a name, they would have nothing to complain about”

All of these events took place well before we ourselves were aware of the failure of our payment and at a time when our name reservation should not have been public knowledge.

When ASIC reopened in January, the AVN enquired as to whether any of the above information might have been available to the public on their database. We were informed that name reservations do not appear on the database until they have been registered with the relevant state authorities. In fact, they themselves don’t have access to name reservations from the various states so nobody could have found out about this from them.

On Monday, January 6th, Mr Beattie spoke with Ms Robyne Lunney, our contact at Fair Trading, to inform her of Mr Buzzard’s claims and the article published in the Australian newspaper. Ms Lunney was disturbed by these events and said she would investigate and get back to Mr Beattie. She requested more details which were provided later that day by email. [Appendix C]

On trying to follow up with Ms Lunney, Mr Beattie was twice told by Fair Trading that she was not available and would no longer be available to speak with him.

On the 11th of February, Mr Beattie sent an email to Ms Lunney asking how the investigation was progressing. [Appendix D].

He received a response on the 13th of February, but not from Ms Lunney. Instead, Ms Christine Gowland was the correspondent.
Her only response to Mr Beattie’s question about the ‘investigation’ was:

“A response to the other issues raised in that email and your earlier email regarding events following your name reservation will be provided shortly under separate cover.”

After having no other contact with the Department regarding this matter, Mr Beattie sent the following request to Ms Gowland on March 3rd, 2014:

Dear Ms Gowland

I understand from the last sentence in your email (below) that the matter of sensitive information falling into the hands of a third party is still being investigated by your office. Can you please advise me of the name and contact details of the branch or person conducting this investigation so that [I] may ask further questions directly?

[It is our understanding that proper procedure for such an investigation is that it be conducted by a separate branch and that the party requesting the investigation (in this case, the AVN) be informed of these details.]

Ms Gowland did not respond to Mr Beattie’s request for further details about this investigation. Instead, the next correspondence from her was received by the AVN on the 12th of March 2014. It was a letter informing him that the AVN had 5 days in which to comply with the order to ensure that our name was changed on all documents and on our website.

On March 13th, Mr Beattie wrote to Ms Gowland acknowledging her advice regarding our name change and reminding her that he had yet to receive a response to his request from the 5th of March for details on the internal investigation.

Ms Gowland responded on the same day as follows:

“A formal response will soon be provided to you regarding issues raised in regards to information surrounding the new name.”

On March 14th, Mr Beattie sent the following email to Ms Gowland:

Dear Ms Gowland

Thank you for your email. I must ask why you have neglected to identify the party conducting the investigation. Surely we are entitled to make enquiries to this party regarding time-frames and other issues. Is it a formal investigation? I ask because these are the questions being asked of me by our members.

I look forward to your response.

Kind regards
Greg Beattie
President
Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.

On the 21st of March, the AVN received a letter by postal mail from Mr Rod Stowe, Commissioner of NSW Fair Trading. This letter [Appendix E], was signed on March 14th but not posted until March 19th. The letter simply stated that Mr Stowe assured the AVN that NSW Fair Trading had not disclosed any details regarding the name Australian Vaccination-Sceptics Network to the media or in any public forum.

The use of this language is interesting. Whilst members of the media were clearly privy to this information, the AVN has never alleged that NSW Fair Trading had released it directly to them. Why then did Mr Stowe use these words? The fact is that information which was not in the public domain and was sent by us to NSW Fair Trading under current privacy legislation, somehow made it to these parties. The question is – how did this happen?

Divider 1

From: <commissioner@finance.nsw.gov.au>
Date: Wed, May 21, 2014 at 5:02 PM
Subject: Re: Correspondence from Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network     Inc.

Dear Mr Beattie

Thank you for your further correspondence on this issue, which is currently being considered. A formal reply will be forthcoming following careful consideration of the points raised.

I will shortly provide you with an updated reference number for this matter.

Regards,
XXXXXXXX
Office of the Commissioner | NSW Fair Trading

Divider 1

From: <commissioner@finance.nsw.gov.au>
Date: Mon, May 26, 2014 at 10:05 AM
Subject: Ref: FTMIN14/1376 – Correspondence from Australian     Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.

Dear Mr Beattie

I write again to further acknowledge your latest correspondence.

The reference number for this matter is FTMIN14/1376.

Unfortunately, the Commissioner will not be able to meet your stated deadline for a response to the issues raised, especially due to the fact he has only just today returned from overseas leave. However, please be assured the matter is under consideration and a response will be forthcoming as soon as possible.

Regards,
XXXXXXXX
Office of the Commissioner | NSW Fair Trading

Divider 1

From: Greg Beattie
Date: Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 2:00 PM
Subject: Re: Ref: FTMIN14/1376 – Correspondence from Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.
To: commissioner@finance.nsw.gov.au

Dear XXXXXXXX

Your ref: FTMIN14/1376

Please be advised that our committee intends to commence preparing the information for our members after close of business next week (June 20). We request that the Commissioner notify us before that date if he feels that any of the information in the timeline we sent him is inaccurate or otherwise not in order. We presume the Commissioner is familiar with the issue, having previosly considered the allegations. If any substantial inaccuracies can be identified before the time mentioned above, we will be happy to delay informing our members to allow further time for investigation.

Please ensure a copy of this email is forwarded to the Commissioner.

Kind regards

Greg Beattie
President
Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.

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From: <commissioner@finance.nsw.gov.au>
Date: Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 11:38 AM
Subject: Re: FTMIN14/1376 – Correspondence from Australian     Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.

Dear Mr Beattie

Thank you for this latest e-mail, which will be considered in the preparation of the Commissioner’s response to your previous correspondence on this issue (FTMIN14/1376).

Regards,
Office of the Commissioner | NSW Fair Trading

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Date: Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 7:17 AM
Subject: Re: FTMIN14/1376 – Correspondence from Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.
To: commissioner@finance.nsw.gov.au

Dear XXXXXXX,
Thank you for your email. It has now been more than five months since this matter was raised. Despite its concerning nature (something clearly acknowledged by your own representative) we still have not had an adequate response. I reiterate that our committee intends to prepare the information for members after close of business today (June 20, 2014). We will also consider whether further action is warranted.
Please ensure the Commissioner receives this email.
Thank you for your assistance.
Yours sincerely
Greg Beattie
President
Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.

Divider 1

From: <commissioner@finance.nsw.gov.au>
Date: Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 2:35 PM
Subject: Re: FTMIN14/1376 – Correspondence from Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.

Dear Mr Beattie

I acknowledge your email and have made the Commissioner aware of it.
We are expediting the Commissioner’s response and hope to send it to you today.
Regards,
XXXXXXXX
Office of the Commissioner | NSW Fair Trading

Timeline to a Tragedy: Part 2 – The cover-up deepens

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Christine Selvey emailed Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer (CHO), QLD Health:

Russ (Dr Schedlich) contacted DOHA yesterday to try to find out what has been reported to the TGA. …

 

Dr Young replied to both Christine Selvey and Dr Schedlich:

I assume the death is unrelated to the school clinics but have we heard of any death related to pandemic vaccine?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dr Russell Schedlich sends the following email to Dr Jeannette Young:

Have not yet heard back from DOHA (Commonwealth Department of Health) and will follow up with them today, but they were certainly not aware of any Australian deaths. I understand that WHO (the World Health Organisation) is saying that there have been a few reported deaths temporally associated with vaccination.

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Six cases of suspected flu vaccine reactions reported by nurses at the emergency department at PMH.

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Parent in Geraldton calls CDCD after seeing several children at the Geraldton hospital reacting to flu vaccine. CDCD called the hospital to ask them to report any reactions to them and to the TGA.

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Mother calls CIC to report that her daughter had an adverse reaction to the flu vaccine. She had called PMH and was told that they were experiencing an increase in admissions at their emergency department. The CIC rang the CDCD to express concern after receiving calls from 3 parents advising them of flu vaccine reactions.

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PMH reports that three children had presented to the emergency department experiencing seizures within 24-48 hours of flu vaccination.

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CDCD called the TGA to ask if other states have been reporting reactions to the flu shot.

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A nurse at PMH contacted the director of the emergency department at that hospital to advise them that there were currently 6 children being treated in emergency after suffering reactions 24-48 hours after flu vaccination.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Craig Davis sends an email to Christine Selvey:

NOCS (ed note: Notifiable diseases unit in QLD) has nothing recorded about a death following vaccination. I’ve checked with Kay Campbell in NOCS data-entry and she has confirmed that she has seen nothing either.

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Ten patients presented to PMH emergency department reported as experiencing adverse reactions to flu vaccines. Hospital requests a check back through the EDIS (Emergency Department Information System).

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The CDCD emailed the TGA to follow up from their phone call the previous week. Again, they notified the TGA about seizures, febrile convulsions and other reactions being experienced and asked whether other states were experiencing similar. The TGA advised that a medical officer would be back in touch.

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Samantha Keegan sends the following email to the QLD Minister for Health’s office, cc’ing several other QLD Health employees:

Channel 9 is asking about a link between the Sudden Unexpected Death of a 2-yr-old girl on Friday and the child’s vaccination against swine flu 24 hours before her death.

Channel 10’s News Editor gave me his word he would not run anything on Fri-then ran a short 3 par ‘live read’ (no vision or interviews).

ABC and Courier Mail agreed not to run anything after I discussed the public health ramifications of children not being vaccinated with them.

An autopsy has been done on the child, but the cause of death is unknown. …

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The following media response is sent to Channel 9. In the footer, it says it was written by Kerry White and approved by Jeannette Young and Christine Selvey:

PR

In relation to the above press statement, Dr Jeannette Young responded to Kerry White as follows:

Assuming Christine [Selvey] is ok with it then I am fine.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

 

CDCD emails the TGA because there has been no return phone call re-reactions. TGA sends a return email to the CDCD advising that there have been a number of reactions reported to Panvax (adult flu vaccine) and Panvax Junior (the vaccine for infants and children). TGA says there were four reactions notified nationwide at that time.

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CDCD emails summary of reactions being experienced in WA to that point and requests information from other states.

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Public Health nurse gives verbal report of 3 or 4 children with high temperatures for 12 hours following vaccination.

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SA Nursing Director Immunisation Section calls CDCD asking if there have been any adverse events reported in WA as SA was seeing them after flu vaccination.

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CDCD emails regional public health units informing them that they may be seeing flu vaccine reactions and requesting that these be reported.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

PMH reports that there were more reactions presenting overnight. A database is established and reports are sent to the TGA. The TGA states that these reports are not received until April 20th, 2010.

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A microbiology registrar calls a paediatric immunologist at PMH to report that his own child had a febrile convulsion after receiving flu vaccine.

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PMH emails the CDCD and confirms that 27 patients have presented – 5 with confirmed febrile convulsions following vaccination.

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SA Nursing Direction Immunisation Section emails TGA, DoHA and all State Health Departments to inform them that SA is seeing increased numbers of children with high fever and vomiting after flu vaccine.

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CDCD emails all public health units informing them that all reactions must be promptly reported – “not in a month’s time”.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The AVN is contacted by a QLD mother who sent the following email:

I contacted Channel  10  Brisbane on Monday to confirm the details stated here (Please see news report quoted on 9th April, 2010). All correct and the newsroom guy said that a Post Mortem was going to be done on Monday.

No press release from the Health Minister  appears to have  been released yet and no other TV or radio station  or Queensland  newspaper appears to have reported on this.

I have today, Friday 16th April about 11.30 am  contacted Janelle Miles the medical reporter for the Courier Mail, who said she was aware of the story but they (the Courier Mail) chose not to report it.

I asked why, she said there was no proof it was due to vaccination. I asked her if she knew about the Post Mortem , she said she knew a little .

I will go through the Courier Mail for the last week and see if any death or funeral notices for the toddler.

Don’t know if you guys can find out anymore….. or how you find  out if there will be a Coroners report.

 

PMH emails CDCD to report that there have been 90 possible presentations following flu vaccination – 22 of which were notifiable (seizures, temperatures over 40℃.

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CDCD calls parents of children reacting to flu vaccine to find out what brand of vaccine had been administered and where it was given.

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The TGA emails SA Nursing Director Immunisation Section to inform them that there had been 62 reactions reported so far – 22 of which were in people 18 years of age or younger. They requested all unsubmitted reaction reports from all states.

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The Victorian Health Department emails TGA, DoHA and all State Health Departments to say that they have been receiving reports of high fevers and vomiting after flu vaccination.

Last part of timeline will be uploaded tomorrow

Timeline to a Tragedy: Did incompetence, lies and a government cover-up lead to deaths?

The AVN has created a timeline of events surrounding the ill-fated flu vaccination campaign, from its launch in WA on the 19th of March, 2010 up to the 18th of May, 2010. It paints a disturbing picture of government incompetence; bureaucrats whose only aim seems to be avoiding having their policies questioned; lies from those responsible for protecting the health of the community; and a group of caring parents kept in the dark about the real risks of a medical procedure that caused hundreds of hospitalisations and an unknown number of deaths.George Orwell1

We have merged 3 sets of data to bring you this information:

1-    The timeline included in the Stokes Report, commissioned by the WA government to examine what went wrong with the flu vaccination campaign and make suggestions as to how to prevent the same happening again.

2-    The Right to Information (RTI) request revealing how Ashley Epapara’s death was covered up to prevent criticism of the vaccine. The correspondence in this RTI also proves that both the Chief Health Officer (Jeannette Young) and the Minister for Health were alerted within hours of Ashley dying, despite their claims to the contrary.

3-    Phone calls and emails from parents and health practitioners received by the AVN during the worst of the reactions in WA and elsewhere. Most concerning is the fact that the AVN’s information includes two reports of deaths following flu vaccine – one an infant in Perth and another a 19-year old young man near Newcastle. Neither of these has ever been reported in the media nor, to the best of our knowledge, have they been included on Australia’s national database of vaccine reactions.

The recommendations of the Stokes report have, for the most part, been ignored. What happened four years ago, can happen again. Protecting vaccination policy still appears to take precedence over alerting consumers to warning signs of an unfolding tragedy.

Our health officials are claiming there is no vaccination debate; minimising the known risks and exaggerating the unproven benefits to declare vaccines beyond question. They follow this up with an agenda of vilification against those who have the greatest stake in the issue – the parents of Australia’s children.

Timeline of WA Flu Vaccine Disaster

(Please note – all emphasis has been added by the AVN and this blog will be uploaded in 3 sections due to the large amount of information included.)

Official studiesFriday, March 19, 2010

Flu vaccination campaign launches in WA with letters being sent to all families whose children are in the target age group, urging them to be vaccinated against influenza. No information is provided to alert them to the fact that this is an experimental, untested vaccine.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A local health service in WA contacted public health to report reactions in six out of nine children who had received the flu vaccine the day before. One child was hospitalised.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A public health nurse contacted the Communicable Disease Control Directorate (CDCD, WA), telling them of flu vaccine reactions and one child who was hospitalised. Authorities reassured this nurse that “reactions are common” and asked her to report to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An immunologist working at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) contacted the Telethon Institute (the organisation being paid by pharmaceutical manufacturers to conduct a trial on flu vaccination in children) with concerns that their own child was experiencing a reaction to the Fluvax vaccine.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A senior nurse emailed CDCD to inform them of a number of calls from parents reporting vomiting and fever after receipt of flu vaccines.

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Ashley Jade Epapara, her twin sister and her older brother received their flu shots from a local doctor. That night, all three became ill.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Reports received from the nursing staff at PMH that children were presenting to the emergency department “unwell” after receiving the flu vaccine.

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Bunbury hospital called the CDCD to report that an adult had presented to their emergency department suffering a suspected reaction to the flu vaccine.

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CDCD emailed the Central Immunisation Clinic (CIC) at the WA Department of Health to confirm that they had heard of some children who were experiencing high fevers, pain and vomiting leading to hospitalisation after flu vaccinations.

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Ashley Jade
Ashley Epapara and her family

Ashley Jade Epapara was found dead in her bed at 6.30 on the morning after receiving the vaccine. Her twin sister and older brother who also received the shot are ill.

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Channel 10 News runs the following report at 5:00 PM:

Possible swine flu vaccination death – toddler dies in Brisbane

The Brisbane 5pm  Channel 10  TV News  – Friday 9th April 2010 reported  Mt Gravatt police are investigating the sudden death of  a 2 year old toddler .

The death occurred a day after the girl and most of her family had been immunised with the  Swine Flu vaccination.

The Queensland  Health Minister (Paul Lucas) said that no-one should avoid Swine Flu vaccinations.

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Samantha Keegan, A/Manager (Corporate) QLD Health, sent the following email to other QLD Health Officials:

Channel 10 have rung saying they have been informed by a very reliable source a 2-year old has died following some kind of flu vaccination.

Sounds a bit suspect as they said QPS is ‘aware’ – Police media know nothing.

Kerry White, Senior Public Affairs Advisor to QLD Health sent the following email to the Commonwealth Health Media Unit as well as to various officials with QLD Health:

 

Gday all, just to let you know (UNOFFICIAL) a two year old had died at Mt Gravatt, a Brisbane suburb, with “no suspicious circumstances”, we have had a TV inquiry already who says police suggested the only thing different in their lives recently was swine flu vaccination. Police seem to have left this as a possibility for post mortem investigation.

That is all we have at the moment, nothing official yet. Awaiting more detail.

Please advise total number of vaccinations in Australia, adverse events, any deaths attributed? And global?

 

Samantha Keegan, A/Manager (Corporate) with QLD Health wrote the following email:

Had a call from Channel 10 about a story they wanted to do on a two-year-old girl who died at Mt Gravatt this morning.

The QAS was called and police attended. There were no suspicious circumstances.

However, someone involved (think it was a police officer) told the journalise the death may have been linked with a flu vaccination given to the child 24 hours before its death, and an autopsy will be performed Monday to rule it out.

I have spoken to police media who followed up with the area to make sure no further statements of the nature were made and spoke to CH 10 News Editor about the unlikeliness of a link and the possible panic such a story could cause.

He has agreed to drop the story at this stage. No other media have called.

 

Email from Kerry White to Neil, Media Unit, Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing

Gday Neil, a police office apparently made some comment to a Channel 10 reporter abt a possible vacc connection. Samantha has spoken to police media and got them to put a stopper on that talk, and to Channel 10 who have agreed to go no further, not run anything.

 

Email from Neil to Kerry White:

Thanks Kerry, and thanks Samantha for setting the coppers straight.

The irony is that I provided a one-hour briefing to reps of all State and Territory Premiers and Police media units about pandemic flu in Adelaide only last week. Part of that presentation included my thoughts on how people in authority (ie. Doctors in my case) can totally undermine health programs by making silly comments about perceived safety issues.

 

Email from Neil to Kerry White:

Much appreciate the heads up. Please keep me posted on this one.

I’m keen to hear if this blows up. Certainly has the potential to seriously undermine the confidence in the program and I’d like to jump on it before it does blow up (if possible).

 

Email from Kerry White to Dr Russ Schedlich, State Health Incident Controller, Pandemic H1N1 2009:

…In QLD it seems on the latest info I can find that we have had 199 adverse events (33 hospitalised) reported from 717,167 immunisations administered. (AVN note: 717,167 vaccines may have been distributed but there is no information on how many of those were actually administered.).

To be continued tomorrow, May 23, 2014…

Apparently “…there’s nothing to debate”

by Greg Beattie

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, has refused to participate in a panel discussion on vaccination at this weekend’s Healthy Lifestyles expo on the Sunshine Coast, saying “there’s nothing to debate”. In the wake of this, disturbing details have now emerged of a cover up by her office regarding the death of a child following vaccination.

sopa-censorship-billBrisbane two-year-old, Ashley Jade Epapara, died shortly after a flu vaccination on April 9, 2010, just two weeks before the vaccine was withdrawn nationally in a blaze of publicity due to severe reactions. Police attending the scene of the death told reporters there were no suspicious circumstances apart from the vaccine. But Queensland Health staff acted quickly to quash that suggestion, instructing police to “ensure no further statements of the nature were made”, and securing agreement from media outlets to not pursue the story.

With the story suppressed, the vaccine continued on a path of destruction, particularly in Western Australia where an aggressive campaign was underway to vaccinate every child in the state.

It was not until April 22 that the vaccine was withdrawn from use in children. During and immediately following this period, many children endured severe reactions including Saba Button, who remains profoundly disabled. One wonders whether Saba’s parents, or those of the many other children affected, would have taken their child for the shot had they known about the tragedy in Brisbane. Unfortunately few knew about the vaccine connection in the Brisbane tragedy because of the cover up.

The following email excerpts were recently forwarded to us by a concerned third party. They are part of a Right to Information (RTI) release. They demonstrate clearly that health department staff deliberately and successfully prevented Australian parents from being warned about the potential for danger with this vaccine. (You can read the entire RTI by clicking this link for part 1 and this link for part 2.)Government Censorship

APRIL 9
“…someone involved (think it was a police officer) told the journalist the death may have been linked with a flu vaccination given to the child 24-hours before its death, and an autopsy will be performed Monday to rule it out.

“I have spoken to police media, who followed up with the area to make sure no further statements of the nature were made and spoke to the CH 10 News Editor about the unlikeliness of a link, and the possible panic such a story could cause.”
– Samantha Keegan, A/Manager, Corporate, Queensland Health.

————————————-

“I’m keen to hear if this blows up. Certainly has the potential to seriously undermine the confidence in the program and I’d like to jump on it before it does blow up (if possible).

“…and thanks Samantha for setting the coppers straight.
Neil, Media Unit, Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra.

————————————

APRIL 13
“Channel 9 is asking about a link between the Sudden Unexpected Death of a 2-yr-old girl on Friday and the child’s vaccination against swine flu 24 hours before her death.

“Channel 10’s editor gave me his word he would not run anything on Fri – then ran a short 3 par ‘live read’ (no vision or interviews).

“ABC and Courier Mail agreed not to run anything after I discussed the public health ramifications of children not being vaccinated with them.”
– Samantha Keegan, A/Manager, Corporate, Queensland Health.

There were many more emails exchanged, as can be seen in the RTI release, and Dr Young was kept informed the whole way. Within two weeks, a disaster had evolved forcing an urgent national withdrawal of the vaccine. When Dr Young was again approached by the media she issued a press release, feigning ignorance:

APRIL 25
“Until now, neither Queensland Health, nor the relevant national body had been advised of, or were aware of, any death allegedly related to a 2010 seasonal  flu vaccine in Queensland”.
Jeanette Young, Chief Health Officer, Queensland Health – April 25, 2010

The problem with the current approach
In the following days, we will be publishing a detailed series of articles regarding a more in-depth account of these events. One thing is clear: the current approach of our health authorities sometimes involves withholding, or suppressing vital information. In this case, the approach had clearly devastating consequences for some families.

Free SpeechWhat’s not immediately apparent is that this is actually the general ‘modus operandi’ of health authorities when dealing with vaccination. Whenever possible, they avoid discussing concerns raised by the media or consumer groups. Even worse, they openly state that these concerns are unjustified or dangerous in and of themselves. In short, “there’s nothing to debate”.

The refusal by Dr Young to provide a spokesperson for this weekend’s Healthy Lifestyles Expo is an example of this modus operandi. Her comments that the organisers should have exercised due diligence and not allowed anyone from the AVN to speak is another. Accusing the AVN of spreading ‘misinformation’ and ‘debunked theories’ is something Dr Young should be prepared to defend publicly. Her reluctance to do so is simply in keeping with this approach.

Parents are entitled to all information that may matter to them. If the police, or the media, or any other group feel the information is important, then it is. The AVN speaker at the expo, Ms Meryl Dorey, will be raising issues that are of concern to all potential consumers of vaccines. The public deserves to have these issues addressed at the forum and they rightly request the presence of a representative from their taxpayer-funded health department to explain why such concerns should not be considered important.

Suppression of vital information when parents are faced with making informed decisions about their children’s health is clearly not the answer. Responsible health officials tend to prefer education over coercion when it comes to health choices. It is essential that any information which matters to consumers is never actively withheld from them, and that any discussion this prompts is welcomed by our publicly funded health officials.

Please read the attached Right to Information documents (part 1 and part 2) to follow the trail of suppression by health officials in both the Queensland and the Commonwealth governments.

Further analysis will be available on this blog in coming days.

Timeline to a Tragedy: Part 1 – Did Incompetence, Lies and a Government Cover-up Lead to Deaths?

Timeline to a Tragedy: Part 2 – The Cover-Up Deepens

Timeline to a Tragedy: Part 3 – Lessons Go Unlearned

Another day – Another Courier Mail Hit Piece

Laura Chalmers - Courier Mail Censorship Specialist
Laura Chalmers – Courier Mail ‘Journalist’

by Meryl Dorey

I don’t know why Laura Chalmers from the Courier Mail even bothers to contact anyone from the AVN before writing about us?

This is the third time she’s been in touch with me about a story in recent weeks and yet, she has never  reporting anything I’ve said. A few weeks ago, she even sent me a 2 or 3-page summary of our talk so I could approve it before she went to print –  and she  never used one word of what I had to say.

Let’s look at the bright side though – if she isn’t reporting fairly or in a balanced manner, at least she isn’t misquoting me or taking me out of context.

She has done the same thing with the AVN’s President, Greg Beattie – wasting so much of our time for nothing. Is this just window dressing for the Courier Mail? Are they just pretending that they really care or are interested in presenting both sides whilst continuing to report whatever will make their Board and their advertisers happy?

Who knows. But here, for the record, is what I sent Laura Chalmers last week when she contacted me about this ‘story’ (you can read the entire ‘hit piece’ by using the link at the bottom of this blog post) – and how ironic is it that the media is openly calling for censorship on ANY subject? Such a slippery slope!:

Dear Laura,

This is not the first time that attempts have been made to block the presence of someone from the AVN at a public event. SAVN did this a few years ago at Woodford and it resulted in a record number of people in attendance at the vaccination discussion. They were literally standing in the aisles and lined up out in the street 8 or 10 deep to hear the talk. The same thing can and most probably will happen if a similar campaign is run regarding my talk at this event.

Don’t forget that one of the SAVN stalwarts, Peter Bowditch, publicly confirmed he would debate me at the Healthy Lifestyle Expo and then, backed out, reneging on his promise to attend. The organisers have been actively seeking someone from the medical fraternity to come and present the other side for over 6 months, but nobody was willing to defend the anti-choice stance.  Since SAVN and the medical community appear to be incapable of holding their own on this issue before a live audience, they want to stop anyone else from hearing what I and the AVN stand for.

Censorship sometimes backfires and as a journalist, you should be aware of that. Perhaps you’d like to read some of the articles at this website: http://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/backfire.html

Kind regards,
Meryl Dorey

For those who are interested in hearing about some of the potential issues with vaccination, please do come and hear me speak or just say hi to me at the AVN’s stand at the Healthy Lifestyle Expo in Caloundra. Here’s a discount ticket for you and your family. The organisers have literally been through hell and back over this issue. They have had their website hacked, threatening calls made to them and to the other stall holders and they have had to get the police involved. Yet, they are standing firm in support of freedom of speech and freedom of choice. If you believe in what they are doing, please take a moment to visit their website (click the discount ticket image below) and use the contact form there to drop them a line and say – WELL DONE!:

B1G1-VistaprintIn the meantime, below is a link to the article in today’s Courier Mail calling for the Expo to ban me from speaking. If the medical community and the media are fighting this hard to shut the AVN up, it means that we are on the right track. Those who have evidence to back up their beliefs do not try to censor opposition. They are happy to debate and discuss these issues in an open and respectful manner.

It is only those who have no data to defend their assertions who will, in desperation, take the immoral step of trying to censor those they disagree with.

Health experts call for ban on anti-vaccination campaigner Meryl Dorey at Healthy Lifestyle Expo | The Courier-Mail.

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.

Daniel Raffaele, Founder of the Hate Group SAVN, Doesn’t want you to know this

On Tuesday, July 9th, I uploaded a post to the AVN’s Facebook Page regarding a statement the AVN’s President, Mr Greg Beattie, had made on the programme Today Tonight that evening. Part of Greg’s statement which concerned threatening phone calls from the home of SAVN’s founder to myself was censored despite assurances from the show that there would be no editing. I will paste the expanded version of the Facebook text below for you to read in its entirety in addition to a link to the programme itself.

Sometime on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning , Facebook removed the post below due to its being reported by members of Stop the AVN including Mr Daniel Raffaele. The message was reposted by one of our page administrators (since I was unaware of its removal until late last night) and was immediately removed again! Apparently, SAVN members strongly support freedom of speech – as long as it’s their right to abuse others they are protecting.

I, Meryl Dorey, currently have an apprehended violence order (AVO) against the founder of Stop the AVN (SAVN), Mr Daniel Raffaele, because 6 phone calls were made from his home to mine in August last years between approximately 2:30 AM and 3:30 AM. The NSW police positively confirmed that the calls originated from his house and the AVO was taken out at their suggestion. Despite this and despite the then 3-year history of almost daily abuse from this man, the police declined to charge him with a crime. Even though he did not admit to making these 6 calls, two of which consisted of threats against myself (Die in a Fire, and Just burn), it is my personal belief that Mr Raffaele was the perpetrator in this case. He had both the motive – his often professed overwhelming hatred of me – and the opportunity (he lives with his mother in the house where the calls originated from and has not offered any alternative explanation as to who else would have been there in the middle of the night using his phone to call me) and it would stretch credulity past breaking, in my opinion, to think that these calls came from any person other than Daniel Raffaele.

Today Tonight – 9 July, 2013

Greg-TT

On the 9th of July, 2013, Today, Tonight interviewed Mr Greg Beattie, President of the AVN and Senator Richard Di Natale, health spokesman for the Australian Greens. Two weeks ago, Senator Di Natale put forward a resolution in the Federal Senate to demand that the AVN be disbanded.

Today, Tonight offered Senator Di Natale and Mr Beattie an opportunity to make a statement on this issue. They were told that they would each have exactly 60 seconds and that there would be absolutely no editing of their words. Unfortunately, Greg’s statement was edited. The following line was cut from the final recording (click the image above to view the entire show) – you can see the cut during Greg’s talk when the screen suddenly gets much brighter.

”The calls were recorded, and traced by the police. Di Natale named and thanked the man who made the calls, and criticised our founder for taking out an AVO. Work that out!”

“This concerned the fact that Senator Di Natale congratulated Daniel Raffaele for his ‘work’ in trying to force our group to close, and crticised the use of the Apprehended Violence Order. The Senator was either unaware of or unconcerned about the threatening and abusive calls to the AVN’s Public Officer, Meryl Dorey. These calls were traced by the police and confirmed to have originated from Raffaele’s home.”

Do we really want someone in Parliament who shakes hands with abusers and attacks their victims?

Everything Di Natale said about the AVN and those who represent our organisation was untrue. His association with a hate group should be a grave concern to anyone who cares about human rights and freedom of speech.

If you haven’t already done so, please write a letter to Senator Christine Milne, Leader of the Australian Greens, to ask her whether her party really does support silencing and abusing a volunteer-run parent’s support group? If you would like to read some of the letters which have already been sent, you can view them on our blog here.

Autism World – The Upcoming Mark Geier Appeal… Part One – What’s at Stake Here?

Autism World – The Upcoming Mark Geier Appeal… Part One – What’s at Stake Here?.

There are several US cases going on right now that are significant to the Autism World, one of which is the Mark Geier versus the Maryland Medical Board, a case which is simply waiting out the required timing to be filed in a real court.  Since the Autism World situation is without doubt, a microcosm of what is happening in US, and world, health care, the case is also of importance to the North American Health Freedom Movement.

Meryl Nass, M.D.: Ireland: Narcolepsy rate 13 fold higher after Pandemrix/Irish Times etc.

Anthrax Vaccine — posts by Meryl Nass, M.D.: Ireland: Narcolepsy rate 13 fold higher after Pandemrix/Irish Times etc..

The report, commissioned by the Department of Health, found there was 13-fold higher risk of narcolepsy among children and adolescents who received the vaccine compared with unvaccinated young people.

The results are very similar to those seen in similar studies in Sweden and Finland…

Dr Holohan emphasised that vaccination was very safe. “It is important that the current vaccination programmes continue to protect children and adults against the serious consequences caused by these preventable diseases,” he said.

On average, in each of the last three years in the US, 1.7 children per million died from influenza (swine flu and other types).

In Ireland, 50 children per million who received Pandemrix vaccine developed narcolepsy.  Would you call that “very safe”?  I’d like to see Dr. Holohan’s risk-benefit analysis.  And how would he comment on preventable vaccine injuries from untested vaccines?

There are two sides to the vaccination issue – but only one gets heard

For the second time in as many months, a Herald Sun opinion piece writer has defamed the AVN and every parent who has taken the time and effort to research health issues before making a decision in an article she wrote for their opinion page (this same article ran in many of the Murdoch papers as well as on Mia Freedman’s web site – mamamia). Many of you would have read Mia Freedman’s article and my response to it earlier in the week (Celebrating Ignorance – Mia Freedman Says ‘Embrace Your Inner Moron) and I have published a selection of your letters to her on this blog and hope to publish more, time allowing.

Just as it happened the first time around back in February, when I contacted the paper to complain about the one-sided and insulting article, I was invited to write my own opinion piece giving the AVN’s side of the story as a way of ensuring our right our reply (The Herald Sun Does Not Care About Balance or Fairness). Once again however, the paper said that my opinion piece will not be running and no information was provided as to why that was. It seems that the vaccination issue is one of those ‘special cases’ where balance and fairness are not required.

But at least this time, what I wrote will be used as a letter to the editor though in a severely cut-down form. Below, is my original opinion piece and under that, is the letter to the editor that will supposedly be running tomorrow morning in the Herald Sun. As you can see, much of the information was removed. I understand that many of our members and supporters had letters published in the Herald Sun letters page on Thursday and Friday this week in response to Mia Freedman’s article and that is truly excellent! I will try and find the letters and publish them on this blog for all to see.

Keep on writing and keep on being active on this issue. We ARE having an effect!

Ignorance is not bliss!

Opinion Piece – Ignorance is not bliss!

Nobody ever told me that I had a choice when it came to vaccination. I thought vaccines were compulsory and that I would lose out on government entitlements were I not to give my child his shots. That was and still is incorrect.

Nobody ever told me that for some children, the risks of childhood shots could outweigh the benefits. Nobody ever told me that I should be checking the manufacturer’s information for the list of ingredients, side effects and contraindications before I allowed my child to have his shots.

Like most Australian parents, I was never given any information about the safety or effectiveness of vaccination and, had my own child not reacted to his shots, I probably never would have looked twice at this issue. But he did react – first to his DTP / Oral polio at 2 months of age and later, to his MMR, at 18 months.

It was only after seeing my own child suffer that I decided to start looking into this issue and truly, I wish I had known then what I know now!

In my son’s preschool class of 18, there were 3 children who were vaccine injured – one of whom died before his 5th birthday as a result of vaccine-associated seizures. My son and I attended his funeral.

Mia Freedman states that we should trust the doctors’ expertise on medical subjects but time and time again, we have seen doctors getting it completely wrong. From recommendations that pregnant women take thalidomide for morning sickness, to prescriptions for Vioxx, Avandia and other medications which, over time, have been shown to be more dangerous then the conditions they were meant to treat.

We shop around and test drive cars before buying them. Were we NOT to do this first, we would be considered both foolish and crazy.

Why then is medicine any different?

Do we need to be doctors in order to understand information from medical sources? And are all doctors supportive of every vaccine for every individual? Ms Freedman seems to think so but that is simply not correct.

There are thousands of doctors worldwide who believe that vaccinations should only be administered after the individuals have been fully informed of both the benefits and the risks. They also believe that not every person can or should be vaccinated safely and therefore, both the government and the medical community owe Australian citizens a duty of care to ensure that those who should be excluded from vaccinations are protected.

The fear shown by Ms Freedman towards those who have made informed choices not to vaccinate is neither logical nor correct. If her vaccinated children are at risk from exposure to healthy unvaccinated kids, then vaccines are not protecting.

That is exactly the situation Australia currently finds itself in. Today, we are in the fifth year of a record-breaking epidemic of pertussis (whooping cough) despite increased vaccination. We have gone from approximately 71% of our children vaccinated in 1991 to over 95% vaccinated in 2008 and over that time period, we have seen the reported number of cases go from just over 300 per year to almost 40,000 per year – the highest incidence per capita since before the pertussis vaccine was added to Australia’s childhood schedule in 1953.

It is the unvaccinated who are being blamed for this epidemic despite the government’s own data showing that 75% of those under 5 who get whooping cough are fully vaccinated against it and a further 14% are partially vaccinated.

Mia Freedman claims that the Australian Vaccination Network was found to be misleading by the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC). Yet she is ignorant of the fact that the NSW Supreme Court found the HCCC acted outside of its jurisdiction in either investigating our organisation or issuing a warning against us. Both the investigation and warning are now null and void. If Ms Freedman had done her research, she would have known about that just as she would have known about the risks of childhood shots and the fact that many doctors question mass vaccination.

There are many valid scientific concerns about vaccination and the one study that would give parents the confidence to vaccinate has never been done. That is an independent study comparing the overall health of the fully vaccinated compared with the fully unvaccinated.

Parents of Australia, you are your child’s advocates. You will always love them more than any doctor will. You will always be the experts on how they are progressing, feeding, and learning. Doctors are advisers and good ones – but your vaccination decision must be made with full information from many sources including your own research and advice from health practitioners including from GPs and natural healthcare providers. Do your research carefully and make your choice an informed one.

You owe it to your family to get a second opinion and to know both your rights and the information on this important health issue.

Below is the letter that ran in the Herald Sun this morning:(click on the image to open in full size)

 

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