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The Australian Vaccination Network was the big winner in the 2001 Millenium Awards, taking out the prestigious Anus Maximus Award, and then backed up to win an Encouragement Award in the 2009 Millenium Awards.
The AVN has a mailing list at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AVN/, but they are so ashamed of their activities that they won't let me join the list. In fact, I have been banned. You can see the full story of the banning by clicking here.
Speaking of anti-vaccination liars ... (1/12/2000)
Aren't they vile? One of them said this on the Australian Vaccination Network's mailing list recently: "Wow, thanks so much for posting this! It's an invaluable article for our anti-vaccinations cause. I will print this out and take it with me to the doctors when I have to go in a few months". You might wonder what "this" is that was so invaluable. It was a news item that said:
"The Hunter Public Health Unit, in New South Wales, has confirmed a fatal case of whooping cough in a baby. It is the first confirmed death of a baby in the epidemic that has ravaged the state since mid-2000".
To these people the death of a baby from a preventable disease is "invaluable" for propaganda purposes. And you might wonder how the writer knew she was going to the doctor in "a few months". Well, that was when her child was due to be immunised and she was planning how to lie to get conscientious exemption. Conscientious? She wouldn't recognise a conscience if it bit her on the face.
They cannot help themselves (14/1/2001)
I gave an award of "quote of the year" to someone on an anti-vaccination mailing list who said "Wow, thanks so much for posting this! It's an invaluable article for our anti-vaccinations cause", referring to an article about how a child had died of whooping cough. (You can see the original article here.) Someone accused me of misquoting, and said that the words I quoted above should be the "misquote of the year". If you click here, you can see a screen capture of message number 11492 to the AVN list at eGroups. You will notice that the words "Wow, thanks so much for posting this! It's an invaluable article for our anti-vaccinations cause" appear in message number 11492. I did not misquote anything. Saying I did is lying, but I suppose lying comes naturally to these people.
|For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolators, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. Revelation 22:15|
Speaking of whoremongers, murderers and liars ... (14/1/2001)
I once naively thought that there could not be more than one person prepared to say that people who murder children were innocent because the signs of violence were really just the results of vaccination. Now I have found a discussion on an anti-vaccination mailing list about finding or inventing appropriate slogans and sound bites to use when campaigning on behalf of murderers. A suggestion made by Meryl Dorey, President of the Australian Vaccination Network, was "Shaken Maybe Syndrome". Here's my suggestion for an extension of this campaign. Not all child abuse is violence, many children are abused sexually. With the experience they have, the anti-vaccinators could easily fabricate a connection between vaccines and genital damage and start defending child rapists as well as murderers. Think of the publicity! Think of how you could use this to frighten parents. Think of the expert witness fees.
Comparative badness (14/1/2001)
I had mentioned murderer Alan Yurko when discussing the similarities between people abusing children by murdering them and those who sexually abused children. A proponent of quack medicine criticised me for this and suggested that sexual abuse was a serious matter, implying that beating children up and denying them life-saving medications were not serious things as well. This was my reply. The portions in italics are drawn from the Buttram and Yazbak web site. There is a mention at the end of how the anti-vaccination liars are planning more exploitation of murdered children for propaganda purposes.
HHere are some parts of the article, and my comments.
>The baby's 7-day hospital course was complicated by continued
>respiratory distress, spending 3 days in the intensive care unit.
>3 daily chest X-rays showed persistent pulmonary infiltrates
Remember the bit about chest X-rays. It will become important later.
>On November 11, l997, at approximately 8 weeks age, the baby was
>simultaneously administered 6 vaccines including DPT,
>Hib, OPV and Hepatitis B. As related by the mother, about 10 or 11 days
>following the vaccines the baby developed a high-pitched cry, which
>she had been told might ensue following the vaccines; also the skin
>became warm to touch, and there was an increasing lethargy with
>a falling off of feeding patterns, which had been a combination of breast and formula.
>This pattern continued until 3 days later, on November 24th, when
>the father was home alone with baby Alan and his 4-year old sister.
>In rapid succession the father noticed that the baby began wheezing,
>next spit up, and then stopped breathing. In attempts to restore
>breathing, the father first slapped the baby's face, then held it by
>its ankles and spanked its bottom, all without success.
Note - the baby had been crying for a few days before the father held it by its feet and hit it.
>Post-Mortem Findings included minor contusions of both temporal
>areas of the head, small ecchymosis of the right lower eyelid, fresh
>subdural hemorrhages of the right and left cerebral hemispheres
>and at base of brain and some areas of spinal cord, and retinal
>bleeding. The brain was grossly edematous. In addition there were
>several old, healing fractures of the 5th, 6th, 7th and l0th ribs, all
>posterior and on the left.
Hmm. Retinal bleeding. Blood around the brain. Bleeding in the spinal cord. Bruises on the head. Everything except cigarette burns.
>The Issue of the Rib Fractures: At autopsy four rib fractures were
>found, all on the posterior left. All witnesses agreed that these
>fractures were at least l0 to l4 days old, as indicated by the degree
>of callus formation. However, the state witnesses pointed out that
>there was a difference in the sizes of the calluses, which (they
>suggested) indicated that the rib fractures had occurred at
>different times, thus indicating a pattern of child abuse.
>There are several considerations which weigh strongly against
>this. First, the difference is sizes of the calluses might just as readily
>be explained by a difference in severity of the injuries as a
>difference in time of occurrence. Next, if there had been serious
>chest injuries the baby was brought home from the hospital, the
>mother, who was breast feeding, would surely have noticed some
>indication of pain and distress in the baby when he was handled,
>and this was not the case.
Now here's the bit I like
>It was the suggestion of the defense witness that the rib fractures
>took place during labor, prior to birth.
I'll repeat that, so that you don't miss the point.
>It was the suggestion of the defense witness that the rib fractures
>took place during labor, prior to birth.
But, but, but - while the baby was in hospital he had
>3 daily chest X-rays
over a period of at least 3 days, which surely would have shown broken ribs, and
>if there had been serious
>chest injuries the baby was brought home from the hospital, the
>mother, who was breast feeding, would surely have noticed some
>indication of pain and distress in the baby when he was handled,
>and this was not the case.
So the defence witness said that the mother would have noticed broken ribs (but she didn't) and the baby had a least 3 X-rays showing no broken ribs, but the broken ribs happened during labour.
I'm not surprised that the jury found the father guilty, but I am surprised that the judge didn't notice the obvious evidence of perjury.
Other pages on the web site that these quotes came from make it quite clear that at least one of the authors of this paper is opposed to vaccination, which is why he has taken up the case of Allan Yurko (the father of the dead child). Further support for Yurko comes from Sheri Nakken (http://www.nccn.net/~wwithin/vaccine.htm)who seems to be very well respected in the anti-vax cult. Her site contains a very long letter purportedly from Yurko (but more likely written by some PR flack) telling of the horrors of vaccination.
Yurko is also a cause celebre for other campaigners. Examples are The Portia Project (http://www.portia.org) which treats everyone in prison as political prisoners or something like that and someone running a list of people in prison for victimless crimes, caught up in the war on drugs (http://www.hoboes.com/pub/Prohibition/Activists/WOD Prisoner%20List, http://paranoia.lycaeum.org/war.on.drugs/casualties/ drug.prisoners). It looks like Yurko has a good PR operation going for him to try to get him out of prison, and the anti-vaxers are only too pleased to help. (The last two have a different prison address, but the name "Allan (or Alan) Yurko" can't be all that common in the US prison population. I am prepared to believe that these do refer to someone else if evidence can be produced for this.)
The next case taken up by Nakken is a couple in Australia who (luckily) had their child grabbed by the welfare people before they could kill it. They are using Scheibner and Kalekorinos as expert witnesses (K is the man who reckons that vaccinations are part of a WHO genocide program). In another case, Nakken has offered the services of Buttram (who wrote the article referenced above), Yurko (huh? the man's in high-security lockup), Michael Horwin (Burzynski's PR man), Scheibner (of course - keep them fees coming in) and some others.
And while we are at it, here is the latest thinking:
>WE MUST HAVE A COUNTERBALANCING QUESTION READY since most will not mentally
>entertain alternative answers right away.
>Unless and until there is a better one (and there may be), I recommend:
> "SHAKEN FROM THE INSIDE"
> To be effective, the catch phrase must be short, ideally repeat the key
>word of its opposite number, AND speedily provide an alternative, all at the
> "Shaken from the inside" is the best I can come up with now and it does
>"speak" to me. We are SO very far behind the curve in the international push
>to publicize and prosecute SBS, minus, of course, any consideration of
>devastating internal adverse reactions from vaccines. Even a reasonably good
>autopsy will not "find" either vaccine-induced death or genetic metabolic
>errors when knowledgeable professionals are not invited to participate.
>I just read this out to my husband who is great with catch phrases and he
>suggests - Shaken Maybe Syndrome. I like Shaken from the inside too - both
>are good. And a great thought - you are right - sound bites have it. And as
>my 16 year old niece would say - that bites!
Sicko, and proud of it ... (10/6/2001)
Earlier this year I commented about a man who had murdered a ten-week-old boy by beating the child to death. This would have been horrifying enough, but what took it almost into the realm of fantasy was that some anti-vaccination liars want to get the murderer out of prison and are using him in their campaign to spread their mental disease. You can read about this outrage here. I cynically suggested that someone would call him a "hero", and it turns out that a bunch of chiropractors have done just that. Someone has passed on to me some comments from the Australian Vaccination Network's mailing list. As they mention me, I have no qualms about reproducing them here.
From: "Paris Moon"
Just came across this on their site:
Child murderer update
Who is the sicko that runs that site?
and the reply from the list moderator:
You don't want to know. When we passed the letter around to write the prison to protest the limit on mail they could receive, he is a spy on some list and he wrote the prison and told them to blame it on Alan trying to get him in trouble. He is a sicko
I did not write to the prison a tell them "to blame it on Alan" at all, and the person writing this knows that very well because she received a copy of my email. Lying must be a habit. So there you have it. A man who bashes a baby to death is a hero, and someone who comments on it is a "sicko".
More anti-vaccination madness (11/8/2001)
The Australian branch of the anti-vaccination movement is campaigning to force doctors to report anything that might have been caused by vaccination no matter how long ago. That is, if something happens and the person it happens to has been vaccinated at some time in the past, they want it mandatory that it be recorded as a possible vaccine adverse effect. The idea is to produce enormous numbers of these spurious adverse effects so that they can show how dangerous vaccination is. One of the things on the list is "death", so presumably they want all of the 130,000 deaths that occur in Australia each year to be recorded as vaccine-related if the deceased person had ever had a shot at any time in their life.
They want pictures ... (29/9/2001)
During September, four more pictures were added to the collection that I am supplying to the President of the Australian Vaccination Network, following her request on some newsgroups for pictures to remind her of the old times and the diseases that she would like to see our children experience. You can click on each picture to see a larger view, or click here to see the full collection.
They want pictures ... (27/10/2001)
During October, four more pictures were added to the collection that I am supplying to the President of the Australian Vaccination Network, following her request on some newsgroups for pictures to remind her of how things will be when she and her friends get their way. You can click on each picture to see a larger view, or click here to see the full collection.
Strange email indeed (24/11/2001)
I received an email this week from a web designer telling me that one of his clients had a new address and new web site so that I could change my links to it. The email started out "Dear Webmaster" and finished by saying "I hope that your web site is doing well. Best Regards". As it was the Australian Vaccination Network, I am pleased that they wish my site well. The interesting thing is that while the original domain link to www.avn.org.au still works, this email told me to change the link to point to www.vaccinations-immunizations.org. I wondered for a while why an Australian organisation with its own domain name would choose to adopt an international name, complete with US spelling. The only thing I can think of is that Barbara Loe Fisher at the National Vaccine Information Center has been distracted by personal problems during the year (her husband died) and the AVN are globalising to exploit her tragedy and steal market share from the NVIC. I also noted that the AVN site describes the AVN as "a non-profit, registered charity", but the relevant government department that deals with charities says "1.6 Is there a registration scheme for charities? No. However, there is a registration scheme for persons or organisations that wish to conduct fundraising appeals for charitable purposes". So they are lying about being a "registered charity" because there is no such thing, but this is no surprise as lying is what they do for a living. Perhaps someone from the AVN could enlighten me as to what "charitable purposes" they support. Paying the expert witness fees for Scheibner, Kalokerinos etc when they appear for the defence of child murderers doesn't count.
They want pictures ... (24/11/2001)
During November, three more pictures were added to the collection that I am supplying to the President of the Australian Vaccination Network, following her request on some newsgroups for pictures to remind her of the benefits of avoiding immunisation. You can click on each picture to see a larger view, or click here to see the full collection.
They want pictures ... (31/12/2001)
During December, seven more pictures were added to the collection that I am supplying to the President of the Australian Vaccination Network, following her request on some newsgroups for pictures for pictures to remind her of how good it would be for children in a world without vaccines. You can click on each picture to see a larger view, or click here to see the full collection.
Some award winners are not grateful ... (12/1/2002)
I notified the Australian Vaccination Network about the honour they had received by winning the prestigious Anus Maximus Award for 2001 but they did not acknowledge my message or display the award logo on their site. I don't know whether they were just being very modest or whether they were ashamed that their nonsense had been given some recognition. Actually, I think it must be modesty because, as I have pointed out before, I doubt that they are capable of shame. If I ran an organisation devoted to harming children, I wouldn't want any publicity either.
An open letter (23/3/2002)
The following message was posted to the AVN mailing list at Yahoo! Groups (Ms Dorey is the President of the Australian Vaccination Network):
Date: Fri Mar 22, 2002 9:32 am
Subject: Re - posting on this list
Just to remind everyone, this list is a venue where everyone is entitled to state their own opinions and the research they have uncovered. The only thing that will not be tolerated here is abusive behaviour. We need this to be a place where everyone feels safe to express their opinions - even if we don't agree with those opinions. Respect is the key. I will not vaccinate my children any further - others will vaccinate fully or selectively. I respect their decision as long as it is an informed choice, and I hope that they will respect mine.
So please let's not start a flame war here. We all love children and want a healthy world. The only difference of opinion we have is how to achieve that goal. So please be nice to each other.
When someone alerted me to Ms Dorey's offer of peaceful coexistence, I wrote to her:
Dear Ms Dorey,
In a message dated 23 March, 2002, to the AVN mailing list at Yahoo! with the subject "Re - posting on this list", you said: "Just to remind everyone, this list is a venue where everyone is entitled to state their own opinions and the research they have uncovered. The only thing that will not be tolerated here is abusive behaviour. We need this to be a place where everyone feels safe to express their opinions - even if we don't agree with those opinions. Respect is the key".
The fact that I am banned from the AVN list suggests that the words quoted above are empty rhetoric or maybe just blatant hypocrisy. It is easy for you to reverse this impression by removing the ban and resubscribing me to the list (email address firstname.lastname@example.org, individual emails, plain text). To maintain the ban in light of what you said above can only lead to the reasonable implication that the matters discussed on the list are either shameful or cannot withstand scrutiny by someone who is not a true believer.
I look forward to rejoining your list shortly.
Her reply was much as I had expected, despite the sentiments expressed in her original message:
Dear Mr. Bowditch,
When you were subscribed to the AVN Discussion list, you breached our code of behaviour by being extremely abusive and disrespectful. I see no reason to re-subscribe you since you have shown no signs of ever changing that behaviour which caused you to be banned in the first place. I must therefore inform you that at this point in time and for the foreseeable future, you will not be subscribed to the AVN Discussion list.
During the time I was subscribed to the list I posted no messages of any kind to it, so it would have been impossible for me to have been "extremely abusive and disrespectful". Other list members, however, had no problem with abusing me and, as in the case of Ms Dorey herself for example, accusing me of financial corruption. Still, why should I expect anything else but hypocrisy from people who claim to like children but would rather see a million children dead or crippled than one child with a needle in his arm?
Predictable hypocrisy (30/3/2002)
Last week I wrote to Meryl Dorey, the President of the Australian Vaccination Network, and asked for the ban on my membership of her organisation's mailing list to be lifted. I did this because Ms Dorey had made yet another announcement of the tolerance of dissent that was supposedly a policy of the list. She refused my request and stated that I had been banned from the list because while I had been a member I had "breached our code of behaviour by being extremely abusive and disrespectful". As I have never posted anything to that list in my life, I fail to see how I could have been either. Other members of the list, however, including Ms Dorey, had no problem abusing me and suggesting that I might be some form of criminal. I have now restored all the messages about me sent to the AVN list to the anti-vaccination mailbox page. If people don't like seeing what they say about me reproduced here, they should keep quiet.
Anti-vax update (27/4/2002)
I haven't mentioned the anti-vaccination liars for a couple of weeks, so I thought I would comment on some advice that I saw someone given during the week. The person had complained on the Australian Vaccination Network's mailing list that her sister had a son (4) who was autistic and another son (2) who was not and the mother of these boys was planning to continue vaccinating them. Shock! Horror! What to do? Instructions were given for the following actions.
A preview of Hell (26/10/2002)
On the page here devoted to the anti-vaccination liars, I say that "a special place should be reserved in Hell for people who want to kill or maim children by preventing them from receiving vaccinations". On Thursday, 24 October, I attended a seminar organised by the Australian Vaccination Network, and I came away thinking that not only has that special place been reserved for them, but that they have already moved in. I will be writing a full report with comments in a few weeks once I have seen the video of the night (someone else ordered it for me - I couldn't see my credit card being acceptable), but I will give a short summary here.
The night started by ridiculing the medical experts who had been invited to speak in favour of vaccination but didn't turn up. I am not sure when they would have been able to say anything, as there were only two-and-a-half hours available for the entire program and there were six anti-vaccination speakers already scheduled, plus housekeeping, introductions and a question session. Professor John Dwyer from the University of New South Wales wrote a declining letter which suggested that vaccination might just have been the most significant advance ever in medical science. This got a good laugh when it was read out.
The content of the speeches was much as I had expected, particularly as I knew the speakers. The first speaker's current obsession is meningococcal disease, and she gave us the usual claptrap about how it is not a problem (only six deaths so far this year in this state) and how the vaccine that the government is going to use has not been tested. The second speaker was a medical doctor who believes that doctors kill people and that children should be allowed to eat dirt. He also provided a fraudulent interpretation of some Australian disease statistics. The third speaker was also a medical doctor, although she runs a woo-woo clinic rather than a conventional general practice like the previous speaker. She told us all about leaky guts and autism. The fourth speaker was yet another medical doctor - the infamous Archie Kalokerinos. Dr Kalokerinos told us that massive doses of vitamin C would cure just about every ailment, and that vaccination was a deliberate process of genocide carried out under the auspices of the World Health Organization and the Save the Children Fund. He went on to say that these two groups "put Hitler and Stalin in the shade" when it came to deliberate and intentional mass killings. It is extremely disturbing to see how apparently calm and normal a man as insane as Kalokerinos can appear to be.
According to a report of the seminar put out the next day by the Australian Vaccination Network, I and a group of friends got up from our front-row seats and left at this point. Facts being what they are, the truth is that I was in about the twelfth row (next to a lady in a face mask who was warning everyone about the dangers of chemtrails), and the one person who came with me asked one of the questions in the Q&A at the end of the night. I don't know who the people were who left after Dr Kalokerinos finished his rant, but perhaps they were offended by his belittling of the Holocaust or maybe they just had sensitive gag reflexes and wanted to get out before vomiting.
The next speaker announced the alarming news that the makers of the vaccine to be used in the government's meningococcal vaccination campaign had been given special permission to omit some things from the bottle labels. The manufacturer of this particular vaccine was not the same as the one that was selling untested vaccines, as reported by the first speaker. (A third company has applied to be able to supply some of the vaccine doses needed in 2003. I would assume that an appropriate complaint will be fabricated as soon as approval is announced.) The speaker also warned us of the dangers of mercury in vaccines which no longer have mercury in them. Still, what are facts when there are vaccines to be stopped? This speaker also displayed a comic strip by murderer Alan Yurko, which tested even my gag reflex. The final speaker was a herbalist and naturopath who told us about witchcraft and voodoo potions. A question session followed.
I fully expected to be accosted by a three-headed dog when we tried to leave at the end of the night, but Cerberus was nowhere in sight. We sought relief and sanctuary in the nearby Illawarra Catholic Club, where we were able to get a couple of nerve-calming beers. My companion tried to play a slot machine but it kept giving him his coins back. I don't know whether this was because the place has rules against taking gambling money from atheists, but I suspect that the ultimate boss of the place had decided that we had suffered enough for one night and wanted to spare us from placing losing wagers.
Some people were not happy (2/11/2002)
I ran a story last week headed "A preview of Hell" about attending an anti-vaccination seminar. As well as publishing the story above on this site, I also posted it to several Internet forums where the anti-vaccinators hang out. Not surprisingly there was no discussion of any substantive issues, but two things seemed to create a lot of concern. One was my mention at the end of having a drink in the Catholic Club and the other was my comment about someone announcing where I was sitting when I was actually somewhere else. The club comments ranged from someone who wondered why an atheist would talk about Hell, to someone who thought that the $5 we spent on two beers would have been better spent saving some children somewhere, to someone who tried to turn the issue into a discussion of paedophile priests (the Catholic Club is a sort of mini-casino and probably has little to do with the theological or administration aspects of the church).
The seating position comment produced an interesting result. I was initially attacked for being egotistical and expecting everyone to know who I was. I replied that my comment was really about the bizarre leap of non-logic that took two isolated facts - I was known to have been in the room (I had signed a list that had been passed around) and someone left early - and from them derived the conclusion that I was the person who had left. Someone then told me that she had recognised me on the night (she had been seated right behind me) and had told the person who made the "he left early" statement about me. This was supposed to make things better, but what it told me was that the person who announced the next day that I had been sitting in the front row had known at the time that this was not me. Telling people that it was me was not a case of very poor inference creation but a deliberately untrue statement. It is what the rest us call "lying". Why was I not surprised?
In late 2002 the NSW Government set up a committee (the Health Claims and Consumer Protection Advisory Committee) to investigate the more dreadful kinds of quackery. Meryl Dorey from the AVN played a large part in organising the opposition to the committee.
They just can't help themselves, can they? (21/12/2002)
The Australian Vaccination Network won the Anus Maximus Award in the 2001 Millenium Awards, thus rendering them ineligible for the award this year despite their site containing some wonderfully egregious lying about the Health Claims and Consumer Protection Advisory Committee. To give you some indication of what it takes to win such an award, consider this from a message posted by the president of AVN to the AVN's mailing list on 5 December, 2002:
I just wanted to let you know that in Australia, the package inserts are almost always removed before the bottles of vaccines are sent to the doctors. Vaccines that are part of the Australian Schedule are generally ordered from the state health dept. Someone there must have the job of removing them before the docs get to see them. I know this because we regularly get calls here at the AVN from doctors asking us questions about vaccine ingredients and I've asked them about the package inserts and they say they never get them with the vaccine bottles!
I have in front of me the package inserts for the DTPa, HepB and Hib vaccinations which the World's Finest Grandson will receive shortly. To get these secret documents, I asked his doctor. When I told the doctor that I had heard that the inserts were removed before the vaccines were sent to doctors, he looked at me as if I had gone mad and told me that the inserts were always there. He then pointed to his waste paper basket and asked if I wanted to look at the package inserts from the vaccines he had administered that day.
Speaking of mailing lists ... (4/10/2003)
People have been posting the names of doctors to the Australian Vaccination Network's mailing list. These are doctors who will discard the ethics and principles of their profession and the morals of civilised behaviour in order to issue vaccine exemption certificates to anyone who walks in off the street. In other words, these doctors are prepared to participate in fraud. The moderator of the list has asked people not to name names, because it might get these amoral physicians into trouble. It might even do that, as it should.
Keep it up, liars (11/10/2003)
An Australian airline issued a warning to passengers who flew on a certain flight that they might have been exposed to measles. Here is a response from the president of the Australian Vaccination Network. And these people keep asking why I call them liars.
I can't help it - please read the following and then, replace the words "hang nail" every time you read the word - "measles" they are both about as dangerous as each other to children though hang nails can be a bit more painful! Incredible fear mongering!
Liver Transplant (1/1/2004)
One of the true miracles of modern life is transplant surgery. Could there be a more thrilling example of medicine than the ability to transfer parts from one person to another so that someone can live? One hindrance to the wider use of transplants is the shortage of donors. In most cases, the donor has to die on a hospital operating table if the organs are to have any use. It doesn't matter how many living wills you make or how many donor cards you carry or how good your intentions, if you die at home or even in the ambulance it is unlikely that anything except maybe your corneas will be transplantable. There are limited opportunities for living donors because there are organs that we just can't live without (which is why transplants are needed), and this really only applies to kidneys, skin and blood. It is early days yet, but work is progressing on performing liver transplants from living donors, as the liver will regrow if it is not too badly damaged.
There was a case recently in Canada where a woman named Edith Petes provided a portion of her liver for a workmate, Zahir Ismail. Zahir was 51 years old and his liver had been destroyed by Hepatitis C. Nobody knows for sure, but it appears that he may have contracted hepatitis from a vaccination he received as a child in Kenya. He left Kenya when he was a teenager and settled in Canada in 1984 to study for his PhD. Unfortunately, the transplant was not successful and he died eight days after the operation from complications arising from the surgery. His wife Alison and the donor Edith were equally devastated at his death, and they share a bond which cannot even be imagined by the rest of us.
Zahir Ismail was 51 years old and received the suspect injection in the early 1950s in Kenya, which could hardly have been described as being in the forefront of world-standard medical care at the time. And how did Meryl Dorey, President of the Australian Vaccination Network, report this story of courage, medical wonder and ultimate tragedy? She released the story under the heading "Another victim of unsafe vaccines". I had to buy a new keyboard because I couldn't get the vomit out of the old one.
More anti-Muslim nonsense (26/6/2004)
In support of their perverted agenda against the rights of children to live safe and healthy lives, anti-vaccination liars in Britain have been spreading the story that MMR vaccines contain pork. The exact subject heading on a message sent to the AVN's anti-vaccination liar mailing list was "Muslim Babies -- MMR Jabs have traces of Pork".
As it is usually prudent to expect that anything said by these despicable child haters is a lie, it is worth looking at reality. It seems that gelatine is used in the manufacture of the vaccines, and gelatine can be extracted from pigs. Of course, it can be extracted from any animal which has collagen in it, which is pretty much any animal at all. All gelatines are made up of the same 20 amino acids, but the proportions and arrangement can vary from one animal to another. The gelatine is not used whole, but is broken down into peptides (which are molecules consisting of two or more amino acid molecules joined together). Presumably the pig gelatine is used because it is the best way to get the desired mix of peptides. Once the peptides have been created, it is beyond absurd to suggest that they still bear any relationship to pork. In fact, it makes as much sense as suggesting that breathing downwind from a pig is against Muslim law because there might be molecules of carbon dioxide which had been exhaled by the pig in the air.
We consider it ridiculous when religious fanatics like Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to allow their children to have blood transfusions, but how much worse is it when the more idiotic parts of a religion are exploited by people outside the faith who see this as a way to achieve their insane objectives.
Forty years on, the fear persists (23/10/2004)
Australian papers have been full of a story that millions of doses of polio vaccine contaminated with simian virus 40 were administered to Australian children between 1956 and 1962. Two batches were released before the problem was discovered and another two were released when it was known that they could contain SV40 from the monkey kidneys that were used to culture the virus. While this seems reprehensible with forty years of hindsight, medical science then wasn't what it is now and someone had to decide whether the risk from SV40 exceeded the risk of polio, and as there had been no adverse reports from the earlier contaminated batches it was decided to continue vaccinating rather than to delay the program. People now who have never seen polio think that the decision would have been very easy and cannot understand why the vaccines were released. In every one of my infant and primary school years I shared classes with kids with callipers on their legs. When I had my appendix out one of the other occupants of the children's ward at Hornsby Hospital was an 11-year-old girl who was going to spend the rest of her life in an iron lung. This was a very scary and very visible disease.
The newspaper and television news stories were beat-ups, and were based on a book by two journalists and the research of the one scientist who seems to "know" the truth. There is some slight evidence of a coincidence of SV40 and certain types of tumours, but if what the scaremongers are saying is true there would be hundreds of millions of people aged between 50 and 60 who are suffering from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. There aren't.
None of this stops the anti-vaccination liars from leaping on the bandwagon, of course, and the story was all over the liars' mailing lists, both in Australia and elsewhere. To give you an idea of how every piece of bad news is an opportunity for these people, consider the following passage from a media release put out by the Australian Vaccination Network:
Today's revelation that the Australian government knowingly distributed contaminated vaccine to Australian children and adults in the 1960s pales into insignificance when we consider that the vaccines which are still being used by millions in Australia and overseas have never been cleared of this contamination.
"Is there infectious virus? The short answer is, yes," stated Dr. Michele Carbone, a researcher associated with Loyola University at the Vaccine Cell Substrate Conference in July 2004.
Since 1963, we have been assured that polio vaccines have not contained this deadly contaminant. This is now known not to be the case. Not only that, but regulators and those who have been charged with making sure our vaccines are as pure as they can be have had knowledge of this risk for decades and did nothing about it.
The risk of polio infection in Australia is non-existent since all cases which have not been imported for the last 30 years are directly associated with the polio vaccine. The risk of cancer from the vaccine however is a clear and present danger. We must get rid of these toxic doses which are contaminated with at least 60 known simian or monkey viruses.
The AVN want to know what else we have not been told about vaccines?
The prize for the best scare story of the week, however, goes to the woman who told a friend of mine that the pink colouring of the Sabin oral polio vaccine was haemoglobin from the monkey kidneys. Sometimes the lies are so bizarre that the only possible conclusion is that they are generated by minds working in a different universe.
The tsunami which devastated countries around the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004, caused severe headaches for anti-vaccination liars. While most wanted to donate something (although one leading liar suggested that the tsunami was just Mother Nature reacting to a new vaccine which could save 500,000 child deaths a year) there was the problem of finding a charity or relief organisation which would not waste the money on vaccines. After UNICEF and the Red Cross were eliminated, a suggestion was made to donate to A Touch of Love, a charity which distributes naturopathic "medicines" and nutrition advice, but never vaccines, in Third World countries. I wrote to the President of the Australian Vaccination Network, who had once described measles as "benign" and less harmful than a hangnail:
Subject: Touch of Love
Date: Sat, 01 Jan 2005 12:52:24 +1100
Dear Ms Dorey,
I have a question about the Touch of Love charity. Have the people who work for the charity in developing countries been vaccinated against any of the local diseases? For example, if they were working in a country with endemic yellow fever they would have required a valid vaccination certificate to enter the country (and to return to Australia). I know that it is possible to obtain fakes of such certificates in Australia, so have the aid workers in A Touch of Love availed themselves of this opportunity or were they forced to undergo the actual jabs themselves?
Have a Happy New Year. The 750,000 children who died of "benign" measles during 2004 won't have that opportunity.
Sad news (19/3/2005)
On Sunday, March 13, the president of the Australian Vaccination Network, Australia's leading anti-vaccination liar outfit, announced that the organisation would be going out of business within a week if money could not be found to pay some debts. I might have had a certain amount (a tiny amount) of sympathy if the announcement had not contained the sentence: "No doubt, the Australian Sceptics (sic) will be declaring a national week of celebration at the death of the 'Anti-Vaccine Liars'". Indeed we will, but it is early days yet and the corpse is still twitching. We can't use lack of brain activity as a sign of final demise because this crowd have been brain-dead for years, so we are containing our celebrations to a quite acceptable Seaview Brut until we see the dirt going into the hole and onto the coffin. Then we break out the Moët.
AS committee members Peter, John, Richard and Ian
do some celebrating at Sydney's Skeptics in the Pub
You may wonder why I headed this item "Sad news" when all about should be rejoicing and declaring days of festivities. Unfortunately, it now seems that enough people have kicked the can to pay off the debts and the AVN will stagger on for a while yet. Many of the donations were given as pledges, so the real test will come when the pledgers are asked to produce actual cash. I won't take the champagne out of the refrigerator and put it back in the cellar just yet, and I will keep the flute glasses handy. You never know when good news might arrive.
There have been suggestions that something said in last week's update may have been defamatory of the Australian Vaccination Network. When the President of the AVN recently described me as "total slime", it reminded me that at a seminar conducted by the AVN in October 2002 six speakers took the stage to tell the audience that:
A woman with an autistic son (4) and another son (2) who was not autistic once asked the AVN for advice. She was told about the following services offered by the AVN to anyone who needs them:
It would be difficult to defame an organisation which does such a good job of defaming itself.
Vaccines and foetuses (23/7/2005)
One of the lies told by anti-vaccination liars is that the ingredients used in vaccines include parts of aborted foetuses. One of the materials used in the manufacture of rubella vaccines is a cell line derived from a legal abortion carried out in 1962. This is a tissue culture, very many generations removed from its source, and could only be considered aborted foetal tissue in the minds of people with, well, no minds at all. It is used to grow the organisms used to create the vaccine and is as much an ingredient of the vaccine as the acid used to prepare the sheet steel before pressing into body panels is a part of a car. None of these facts are of interest to anti-vaccination liars, of course, as their objective is to find anything which can possibly be used to frighten parents out of vaccinating their children.
In 2003 the anti-vaccination liars joined forces with the anti-abortionists to request a ruling from the Catholic Church about this use of the products of abortion, with the obvious expectation that they would receive an immediate knee-jerk condemnation of the practice and would therefore be able to threaten vaccinating parents with an eternity in Hell. What really happened was that the Church spent a long time considering the matter and talking to scientists and people who might know what they are talking about. The Pontifical Academy for Life has just released its findings. No, the Church does not like the use of anything to do with abortions and recommends that alternatives be sought, but that doesn't mean that Catholics can't vaccinate their children. This is how the ruling finished:
To summarise the summary, it says that while the Church does not like it, in the absence of any alternative it is permissible for Catholics to continue to vaccinate their children because of the overarching responsibility for the welfare of children. That is what the words "morally justified as an extrema ratio due to the necessity to provide for the good of one's children and of the people who come in contact with the children" mean. And are the anti-vaccination liars lying about this? Of course they are. That is what they do. The Australian Vaccination Network issued a media release with the deceptive title 'Vatican says, "Parents must oppose vaccines from human foetal remains"'. Other liar sites have similarly misrepresented the Church's ruling.
Yet another person wrote to me during the week trying to claim that the anti-vaccination liars are not opposed to vaccinations. That person was mistaken. There is nothing that is too evil for these people to do in the pursuit of their deranged objective of placing every child in the world at risk of death or serious injury. It is almost incomprehensible to sane people that anyone could hate children so much.
Let's misinform some parents (19/8/2006)
The Australian Vaccination Network held a public seminar on August 15, the purpose of which was to provide some information to parents so that they could make informed choices about vaccinating their children. I was a bit too busy to go (my sock drawer needed reorganising). (I might not have been welcome anyway. When they held one of these liefests once before someone volunteered to stand at the door and identify me if I tried to get in.) There were three speakers advertised, and it is worth looking at what they were going to talk about to see what sort of information was going to be imparted to the eager parents. (You can see an advertisement for the liefest here.)
The first speaker was Meryl Dorey, President of AVN. Ms Dorey achieved a certain fame a few years ago by telling everyone who would listen that I and my group of friends had left an AVN seminar early, despite knowing full well at the time that she wrote the words that the person who left early was not me and I only had a single companion at the event. Here is what she was going to be talking about this time.
You will notice that she was going to mention the "up to 50 vaccines" that children receive by school age. It's just as well she said "up to", otherwise some people might think that she was being a little deceptive. The table below lists all vaccinations given in the current Australian schedule for all children up to school age. (Note: The schedule has changed slightly since 2006. You can see the latest schedule (2013) here.): You might like to count them, and you will see that the total number is 10 vaccines given in 26 doses. If you take out the three shots which are only recommended for "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in high risk areas" you get back to 8 vaccines and 23 shots (Hepatitis B is given at either 6 or 12 months, but not both). If you generously allow that some shots vaccinate against more than one disease, the total is 35 vaccinations. Not 50. Not even near 50. By the way, I notice that AVN has changed the name of its magazine from Informed Choice to Informed Voice. This is consistent with AVN's agenda to ensure that no parent makes an informed choice about vaccination. It's best not to even mention the phrase.
The next speaker describes himself as an "Anthroposophical Medical Doctor". The only mention of him that I can find is on the web site of a New Zealand purveyor of magic homeopathic nostrums. (I actually found him in Google's cache, because the page has been removed from the site.). I'm not sure what an "Anthroposophical Medical Doctor" is, but according to Wikipedia "One of the most prominent and well-researched anthroposophical treatments is a range of mistletoe extracts used to treat patients with cancer". If this is anything like a true statement then the term "Anthroposophical Medical Doctor" is synonymous with "quack". I am sure that he would have much good advice for parents, especially if he is going to tell them not to "fear childhood illness" and therefore not bother to protect their children against such illnesses. I suppose that in the day or two between being exposed to meningococcal disease and dying from it children can be given lots of love and care, and the same treatment might even be useful for a child with measles or diphtheria. What's there to fear about a little blindness or suffocating?
The third speaker presents a conundrum, as he is a homeopath espousing something called "homeoprophylaxis".
The problem with this is that the principles of homeopathy quite distinctly reject any idea of homeopathy being used to protect anybody from anything. A system of medicine which states that the only things which can be treated are symptoms and that each person is so individual that there can be no standard medication cannot accommodate prophylaxis. Samuel Hahnemann was quite clear on this, and he should know because he invented homeopathy. You might think that Dr Golden had moved on from Hahnemann's teachings and was promoting the new, more scientific homeopathy. Well, you might think that until you found out that Dr Golden was the founder of the Australasian College of Hahnemannian Homoeopathy. Perhaps he thought that the people attending this seminar wouldn't know that, or, if they did, would not detect (or would not care about) the almost incredible irony of him standing up on a stage and preaching something completely contrary to Hahnemann's philosophy.
But we are talking about an anti-vaccination seminar, so why should consistency, common sense or facts be of concern to the promoters and the speakers?
Lie with a question. Answer with a lie. (4/11/2006)
Last August I mentioned that the Australian Vaccination Network had conducted a lie-to-the-parents a seminar and I graciously allowed that a suggestion that children receive "up to 50 vaccines by school age" was not strictly lying as the real number, 10, does literally fall into the category of "up to 50". Of course it also would be literally true for claims of "up to 1000", "up to a million" and "up to a googolplex", but perhaps even the AVN places limits on its own mendacity.
I have just received a media release from the AVN announcing another of these liefests, and this one is addressing four questions. Two of these questions illustrate the deceptive disingenuousness typical of organisations like AVN, where the wording of the question is all that is necessary to start the fear running in the listener and the answer is really just icing on the cake. I do notice, however, that the "up to" has disappeared from in front of the "50". I have sent the following message to the President of the AVN, and I eagerly await a reply.
Dear Ms Dorey,
I have been sent a copy of the media release about your seminar at Byron Bay on November 15. I notice that you will be addressing two questions which could reasonably be assumed to have very short answers, so I am intrigued about how you plan to expand the answers.
Overvaccination - Are 50 vaccines by school age too many?
The obvious answer to this is "Probably, yes". It is however a very strange question. The list below shows all the vaccines currently recommended for children up to school age. (I have omitted the Pneumococcal polysaccharide (23vPPV) and Hepatitis A which are only recommended for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in high risk areas.) The numbers in brackets are the doses of each vaccine in the schedule.
As this list shows, there are eight vaccines addressing twelve diseases, given in a schedule of 24 doses. None of these numbers is 50. I am at a loss to understand why the number 50 is mentioned in your question unless the question is purely rhetorical and simply intended to create a climate of fear and doubt in the minds of parents who are concerned about their children's health and welfare. It might be much wiser in the future to stick to the wording used in previous seminar promotions as it can be argued that saying "up to 50" when the number is really 8 is not strictly dishonest. Of course, it still depends on your definition of "dishonest", and your definition might differ from mine.
Cervical cancer vaccines - are our babies at risk of this sexually transmitted disease?
The only sensible answer to this question is "No", so I wonder why you are asking the question at all. There is no suggestion that the HPV vaccine should be given to "babies", but even if there were it is obvious that prevention of disease should be started as early as possible. Cervical cancer is a major killer of women around the world and I am sure that you would agree that any action which can reduce this toll should be supported. I believe that I have heard you say that you are not opposed to vaccination per se but just want it to be safe, so I assume that you are not opposed to the HPV vaccine on safety grounds as there has not been any opportunity to gather after-market reaction statistics.
Again, I wonder why you are asking this question. I hope that the intention is not to cast doubt on a vaccine by using some weird appeal to morals, as has been done with the Hepatitis B vaccine, as if offering protection against disease somehow encourages undesirable behaviour. Surely, if parents are worried about their adolescent children engaging in sexual activity the correct approach is consultation, discussion and education about morality and appropriate behaviour while simultaneously ensuring that the children have protection against any serious consequences (even up to a death sentence) should they have an occasional lapse of judgment or grace.
I would be happy to discuss this on the AVN mailing list should you ever permit me to subscribe, but without access to that forum I have little choice but to conduct the conversation in public on my web site.
In November last year I wrote to the President of the Australian Vaccination Network with my own question about a question she was proposing as a seminar topic. Her topic question was "Overvaccination - Are 50 vaccines by school age too many?", and I wondered where she got the number 50 from. Over the Christmas break I have been practising my skills in certain arcane arts, and I have discovered the answer to my question through numerology. Here is the derivation of the number 50 when used to count vaccines given before a child reaches school age.
|Number of occasions on which vaccines are administered:||7|
|Number of injections in the complete schedule:||23|
|Number of unique vaccines:||8|
|Number of diseases vaccinated against:||12|
Let's keep those cross-infection rates up (31/3/2007)
In an excellent example of how bureaucrats can do something good occasionally, my local health authorities have issued a policy which states that anyone working in the health industry (except those very few people who have no contact with patients, blood or clinical staff) must have current vaccinations against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella and influenza, and must also be able to demonstrate that they have been screened for tuberculosis. (You can see more about the policy here.) As you can imagine, this has the anti-vaccination liars screaming blue murder, and they are moving the lying and hysteria into top gear. They have been trying (unsuccessfully) to get the nurses' union to treat this as some form of worker oppression and have even tried lying to the federal Minister for Health (who is a committed Catholic) about vaccines which "include tissue from aborted homan (sic) foetuses". (You can see what the Vatican had to say about this lie here.)
One tactic tried by the Australian Vaccination Network was an attempt to place the following advertisement in publications put out by the Australian Medical Association. Acting ethically, the AMA refused to run the advertisement, which has caused the AVN to start screeching about censorship and conspiracy and freedom of speech.
The Australian Vaccination Network has its own magazine rather hypocritically named Informed Voice, and I have decided to test their dedication to freedom of speech. In my capacity as Vice President of Australian Skeptics I have sent the following letter to the advertising sales person at Informed Voice. I may be misjudging them, but I do not expect a prompt reply. Or even any reply at all.
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 22:17:19 +1000
At Australian Skeptics we are looking at ways of promoting our views to a wider audience and reaching people who would not normally read our publications. As part of the process we are considering advertising in magazines and publications with diverse readerships. Someone suggested that a suitable place for us to run advertisements would be Informed Voice.
Unfortunately it seems that we have missed the deadline for booking for the next issue, so we would be looking at the Spring edition coming out in August. On the plus side, the proposed editorial content of that edition would make it highly suitable and relevant for us to run a full-page advertisement telling people of our work against cancer quackery and the useless, untested and unproven "treatments" offered to desperate people (and even treatments like laetrile which have been tested and found not to work).
As several members of the committee have not seen the magazine and might be resistant to advertising in it sight unseen, could you please forward copies of two recent editions to me at PO Box 1166, Parramatta NSW 2124.
Anti-vaxxers at it again (14/7/2007)
The Life Matters program on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's national network ran a series of three programs about vaccination this week. The program talked to some parents about vaccination and had two experts. One was Professor Robert Booy from Westmead Hospital, who could be expected to know something about vaccination, and the other was Meryl Dorey from the Australian Vaccination Network, who could be expected to know nothing about vaccination except that it is an evil practice. The three sets of parents were all from the NewAge, mungbean-munching district of New South Wales (the region with the lowest vaccination rates in the state, which suggests that they were recruited through AVN which is also headquartered in the area) and therefore could hardly be seen as representative of families who live in cities and other populated parts of the state. I posted the following comment to the Life Matters guest book:
It is rather ironic that a program named "Life Matters" should be providing a platform for anyone who is opposed to vaccination, which is probably one of the greatest life-savers ever to come out of medicine. In fact, it is bizarre that there is even any debate about vaccination today. It is hard to imagine how life could matter to anyone who would deny children the opportunity of a life free of the diseases which have killed and maimed (and still kill and maim) millions.
I realise that the anti-vaccination campaigners will deny that they are opposed to vaccination per se and will just say that they want vaccines to be proved safe. When they say this they are lying, because they will not admit to the possibility of a safe vaccine. Just ask them. Ask for an example of a safe vaccine, or what it would take to convince them that any vaccine is worth the "risk".
A thousand children die each day from measles, but one of your guests has described the disease as "benign". Perhaps she should be asked how many dead children it would take to make her think that a disease is serious.
Well, Ms Dorey actually repeated her disgusting an ill-informed comment that measles is benign. She later posted a gloat about the program to the AVN mailing list, and predictably had this to say:
Peter Bowditch (self-proclaimed ratbag) from the Australian so-called skeptics was the first person to put up a post on this subject.
Equally predictably she had to attempt to belittle me. I am a self-proclaimed nothing - anybody reading the front page of the RatbagsDotCom site can see what the word means, and the use of the expression "so-called" just indicates nothing except the inability to make a point. The legal name of the organisation is Australian Skeptics Inc (and I am not "from" there). Possibly even more predictably, she claimed something which is not only false but easily demonstrated to be false. My message was posted at 11:41am, which would seem to be some time later than 10:55am when the first message (supporting vaccination) was posted. Still, there is a war against vaccination to be fought and someone once said that truth is the first casualty of war.
Speaking of lies ... (27/10/2007)
I September I reproduced a rant from an anti-vaccination liar of breathtaking idiocy, and I said that it "requires no other comment". I have had a couple of emails asking for comments, on the quite reasonable basis that what is plain to me might not be so clear to people who have not been observing the fanatics for as long as I have. I have also been asked for a generalised rebuttal of the major lies told by the opponents of vaccination. I have chosen a list of ten lies on the Australian Vaccination Network's web site as the basis for a series of articles I will be writing over the next few weeks. It will be a series because some of the lies and their justifications need research and comprehensive answers. Here are the lies from the AVN site:
The first article will appear here shortly, but in the meantime I have republished an article by Dr Stephen Basser which appeared in the magazine of Australian Skeptics, the Skeptic, in 1997. Sadly, not much has changed over the decade since then. You can read it here.
A nice little earner (23/2/2008)
The web site for the Australian Vaccination Network invites other web site owners to participate in an affiliate scheme where they can be paid a commission for selling AVN memberships, magazine subscriptions and other goodies. I thought about applying, because I can always use some additional cash, but something stopped me filling in the form. A conscience, I believe it is called. (I know that the Google advertisements on this site sometimes promote things that I don't like but I have little control over what Google decides to show here.) The book cover at right is for yet another scam that claims to have the cause and cure for all forms of cancer. The fact that AVN is selling rubbish like this gives the lie to the claim that they aren't opposed to medicine and just want the tiny bit of it associated with vaccination to be safer. As one of their claims is that vaccines cause cancer it would be a very short book if it told what they claim to be the truth: "Cancer: The Cause is vaccination and the Cure is not vaccinating". I expect that there is more in the book than this but I am not about to waste any of my money on finding out. If AVN would like to send me a free review copy I would be grateful as I could put it through my office shredder and recycle it into the cat's litter tray (which would probably encourage the cat to spend more time outdoors).
In March last year I mentioned that the poor dears at AVN were all in a fluster about a government policy that health workers should show a commitment to health by having all their vaccinations up to date. They had tried to get the Australian Medical Association to run an anti-vaccination advertisement in its magazine and were offended at a refusal. (I am still waiting for an answer to my enquiry about advertising in the AVN's rag.) The campaign has warmed up and you can now get postcards to spread around the message of the dreadful attack on personal freedom arising from employers insisting on responsible behaviour from employees. I would be a lot more convinced of the intentions behind the campaign if the AVN was distributing the postcards for free but unfortunately you have to pay for the privilege of spreading AVN's lies. Again, I am prepared to accept a couple of free packets of the postcards if AVN want to send me some for evaluation. I have a table with a short leg and they might be useful as shims. Face down, of course, so I wouldn't have to see the lies.