Home > Comments and Articles > Vaccination Information Service
From: Bronwyn Hancock
Subject: Vaccination - hello, prevention from what?
Date sent: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 00:10:21 +1000
Organization: Taycare Pty Ltd
To whom it may concern,
I have come across your "Anti-Vaccination Liars" Web page. Please please tell me what the documentation is that you have seen that results in your incredible unmovable faith in vaccination. It must have been pretty powerful evidence for their effectiveness, and I am surprised that I have not come across it in my thorough research of pro-vaccination material. Neither has my colleague, who has studied almost 100000 pages of medical research on this subject. On the contrary - studying the evidence, which exposes their ineffectiveness and harmfulness, totally changed her from being very pro to very anti. Many others have said the same thing.
The following is a summary of my assessment to date on this. Perhaps you can point out what you obviously have already established as glaring flaws in what I present: [A Microsoft Word document was attached to this message]
Myself and others who communicate this information also wonder what it is that you think we may be gaining out of allegedly conciously "lying" on this subject. When a parent decides not to vaccinate it simply results in a financial transaction (the sale of a dose of a vaccine) NOT being made. There is no arrangement made to send the money to us instead!! (IF ONLY!!!)
Shaken Baby Syndrome disgust (12/7/2003)
One day the makers of ipecac and other emetics will have to do something about the competition from the anti-vaccination liars. Why should anyone pay for some medicine when all they have to do to induce vomiting is to read something written by these people. Someone wrote to an anti-vaccination mailing list this week asking for help in setting up a scheme to discredit witnesses who appear for the prosecution in court cases where people are charged with shaking babies to death. She was a bit worried that there might be some real child-killers amongst her collection of supporters. Here are two paragraphs from responses by Bronwyn Hancock, an Australian vaccination opponent:
In relation to your concern over the possibility of including parents who are guilty, it is important to be aware that evidence so far indicates that NO-ONE is guilty of shaken baby syndrome. Not only is there is no evidence to date that shaking a baby will cause those injuries, but researchers have tried to reproduce the so-called "indicative" injuries in monkeys by shaking them WITHOUT SUCCESS. So don't be taken in by ANY of their propoganda.
Babies seem to be designed to be able to take lots of movements - perhaps this is in part nature's design because they cannot protect themselves from them. How many times have babies fallen off tables, cried for a little while and then been right as rain as if nothing had ever happened? Babies would also bob up and down a lot getting carried by running mothers.
This last comment is particularly interesting, as the most recent Shaken Baby Syndrome case in Australia ended in acquittal because the defence said that the blood in the eyes and the two subdural hematomas were the result of the child tripping over the day before he died. So a fall can cause the damage, or vaccines can cause the damage, but shaking can't. Actually, that paragraph supports what I have been saying for some time, which is that the injuries seen in these murdered babies are far too severe to have been caused by normal handling. That is why these deaths are suspicious, and why the killers usually end up in prison.
I have a video made by and featuring Bronwyn Hancock, and it is one of the most revolting things I have ever seen in my life. It consists of a parade of liars, with each seeming to want to outdo the others in hypocrisy, venality and deceit. Hancock's use of the word "propoganda" (sic) might cause some to suggest that her video would not look out of place if listed among the works of Leni Riefenstahl, although Riefenstahl would certainly not have wanted her name associated with anything like this. Her objections would not have been only on technical grounds (her ability as a director was obviously infinitely greater than whoever threw this piece of anti-vaccination garbage together), but because her reputation had already suffered enough damage from the apparent support she gave to evil in Triumph of the Will.
Barking mad anti-vaccination liar (26/7/2003)
A week or two ago I mentioned Australian anti-vaccination liar Bronwyn Hancock and her comments about the impossibility of shaking a baby to death. A few days ago she issued an announcement that something she had written had been published on Joseph Mercola's quackery web site. I read it and it was the usual collection of lies about how there was no evidence of the safety or effectiveness of any vaccines, just evidence of their danger. I wrote to her with a polite question about whether she found children's funerals amusing, and her reply contained the following paragraph:
And please tell ME, because it is very important I know this before I inadvertently mislead anyone else, what research have you studied which has demonstrated that shaking babies CAN cause retinal haemorrhaging and subdural haematomas? Despite a thorough study of medical research on this subject we have found NONE - indeed medical researchers have on the contrary unsuccessfully tried to get that result from shaking monkeys, but we are always open to new discoveries. After all, perhaps those researchers who failed with this had not done the careful study that some parents apparently have done (earning themselves a Bachelors degree in Baby Shaking perhaps?) to develop the special skill of how to shake a baby in the particular way required in order to get those injuries.
So there you have it. Conclusive proof of madness. How would this woman like the tests of shaking babies to be carried out? Would she volunteer her own child to be one of the shaken ones? Does she think that child restraints in cars are useless and save no lives because no tests have ever been done by throwing children at dashboards and windscreens at 100kph to see what harm came to them? Of course, like many lies, there is a kernel of truth in what she suggests. All shaking does not result in fatal or crippling injuries, so parents do not have to be worried that they will harm their children just by the normal rough and tumble of life. But this is even more evidence that the damage seen in critically shaken babies is not accidental and is caused by very violent behaviour. Also, until I receive some evidence in the form of a valid citation I am going to treat the claim that tests with monkeys have shown that it is impossible to produce SBS symptoms by shaking as a lie. I can't find anything in PubMed about this (although I may have been using the wrong search criteria), so until shown otherwise I am prepared to rely on the assumption that someone who lies quite often is quite often telling lies.
And someone who should be in. Prison, that is. (26/1/2004)
There is a listing in my local telephone book which says "Vaccination Information Service". When people ring this number under the misapprehension that there will be someone there who can provide useful information they get to talk to Bronwyn Hancock, possibly the most egregious of Australia's anti-vaccination liars. This is the woman who told me that it is impossible to harm a baby by shaking it. I will repeat that. She says that it is impossible to harm a baby by shaking it. She has challenged me to provide scientific evidence that shaking can hurt a child. She is obviously mad.
Her latest trick is to assist people who want information about vaccinations for overseas travel. Her advice is, of course, that no vaccinations are really required and it is just some bureaucratic nonsense and a matter of paperwork. She will introduce you to a doctor who will provide the documentation you need to get into those pesky countries which insist on visitors being vaccinated against such harmless diseases as yellow fever. The disregard for other people's lives shown by the anti-vaccination liars never ceases to amaze me.
Kook fight! (22/8/2009)
Nothing elicits a feeling of Schadenfreude quite like watching a couple of people who disagree with you fight it out between themselves. It is even better when they do it in court and have to pay lawyers to do the kook fighting for them. Icing goes on the cake when the judge or magistrate calls them fools (without using those words, of course) and tells them to go away, sort it out themselves and stop wasting the court's time. A cherry and some of those little silver balls go on top when they don't take this advice and come back for more.
In 2004 the Australian Vaccination Network ran off to court to whine about Australia's other anti-vaccination liar outfit, the Vaccination Information Service. Here is the second last paragraph of the magistrate's decision:
You can read the whole amusing story here.
More anti-vaccination deception (9/1/2010)
More misinformation about vaccines has appeared in my local paper in the form of a letter from Bronwyn Hancock of the Vaccination Information Service. Here is the text of the letter so that the search engines can find it.
I have been following the discussion on vaccination between Jamie Benaud and Dr Viera Scheibner (latest: Benaud, BMG 9.l .09) and l believe that Jamie would benefit from much greater awareness of medical politics.
Most of us have assumed that there is true scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness and safety of vaccines. However when we study relevant scientific literature what matters is the data. not authors' conclusions, which can be heavily politically influenced.
Accordingly, SIDS data provided even by those alleging a protective effect of vaccines (eg. Mitchell et al, Arch Dis Child 1995) reveals a clustering of deaths around the same critical days that Dr Scheibner observed in low-volume (stress -induced) breathing after vaccination.
Polio is described as a "20th century disease" because the first recorded epidemic was not until 1887. This was soon after mass smallpox vaccination began. It is vaccines and other intramuscular injections that provoke polio. often called "provocation poliomyelitis" in medical research. Polio deaths in Australia fell from 346 in l95l to 30 in l955. In July 1956 polio vaccination began and deaths increased again that year to 57. However polio was subsequently renamed "viral meningitis", "cerebral palsy", etc (by the CDC's own admission). Thus medical politics "wiped out'' polio.
Whilst more vaccines are given now, government figures show vaccination coverage in 1990 was similar to today. However when a new vaccine is added to the schedule, temporarily few children are "fully vaccinated", artificially giving the false impression of low coverage. 'This too has been used for political ends.
Vaccination Information Service,
Here is my letter to the editor of the paper:
I see that Dr Viera Scheibner has called in reinforcements from elsewhere in the Australian anti-vaccination community (BMG Dec 22). As I have been dealing with these people for some time I have become familiar with their tactics, so I was not surprised to see Bronwyn Hancock commit the usual abuse of citations in scientific literature.
As an example, Ms Hancock offers the citation "Mitchell et al, Arch Dis Child 1995" as some sort of support for her position that SIDS is related to vaccination. The paper in question was headed "Are nappy sterilisers associated with SIDS? New Zealand Cot Death Study Group" and the abstract in its entirety says "Chemicals used to clean nappies have been suggested as a cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Parents of 393 cases and 1592 controls were questioned about nappy cleaning procedures. Soaking in sterilisers followed by rinsing in water had a relative risk of 0.91 compared with other cleaning procedures. Nappy cleaning methods are not related to SIDS". Ms Hancock assumed that nobody would check, and I leave it up to the readers to decide if the study had any relevance to vaccines.
Elsewhere, Ms Hancock says "polio was subsequently renamed 'viral meningitis', 'cerebral palsy', etc (by the CDC's own admission). Thus medical politics 'wiped out' polio". I challenge Ms Hancock to produce evidence that the CDC ever said such a ridiculous thing. It is an insult to people with cerebral palsy to make the idiotic statement that it is simply a renaming of polio for political reasons, just as it is an insult to the intelligence and integrity of doctors who know that polio and CP are different conditions.
Ms Hancock also peddles the lie that vaccines cause the signs of Shaken Baby Syndrome, and has in fact told me that it is impossible to harm a baby by shaking it. Not difficult - impossible!
These are the sort of matters which need to be considered when evaluating anything Ms Hancock has to say about vaccines. We have had at least one well-publicised death of a child from vaccine-preventable disease in NSW this year. If Dr Scheibner and Ms Hancock get their way there will be many more.
I also wrote to Ms Hancock requesting clarification.
In a letter to the Blue Mountains Gazette published on December 22 you said: "polio was subsequently renamed "viral meningitis", "cerebral palsy", etc (by the CDC's own admission)".
Could you please tell me where I can see the actual statement from the CDC. I would prefer to see it in some official communication from the CDC rather than be pointed to someone else simply citing or quoting the CDC.
Anti-vaccination deception confirmed (16/1/2010)
Last week I wrote about a letter in my local paper from anti-vaccination campaigner Bronwyn Hancock. She made certain claims in the letter and I wrote to her for clarification.
In a letter to the Blue Mountains Gazette published on December 22 you said: "polio was subsequently renamed 'viral meningitis', 'cerebral palsy', etc (by the CDC's own admission)".
Could you please tell me where I can see the actual statement from the CDC. I would prefer to see it in some official communication from the CDC rather than be pointed to someone else simply citing or quoting the CDC.
Here is her reply:
I am able to give you a quick answer to your question by passing on to you this excerpt from a (26/8/88) letter from the CDC (EIS officer, Division of Immunization):
"Since 1958 all States used a case record consisting of a preliminary and a 60-day follow-up form. These changes permitted Centers for Disease Control to analyse only those reported paralytic poliomyelitis cases that can be classified as 'best available paralytic poliomyelitis case count' (BAPPCC). These cases must be clinically and epidemiologically compatible with paralytic poliomyelitis and have a neurological deficit 60 days after onset of initial symptoms, unless death has occurred or follow-up status is unknown. The BAPPCC excludes paralytic poliomyelitis cases with no residual paralysis at 60 days after onset of initial symptoms, as well as cases of aseptic meningitis (due to poliovirus or other enteroviruses)."
... and adding this link to a medical journal article (J Infect Dis 1982) that says the same thing: http://www.jstor.org/pss/30117580
Now, remember the specific questions I asked. You will note that over fifty years ago the CDC stated that paralysis had to last longer than 60 days for a definite diagnosis of paralytic poliomyelitis, with other cases being treated differently when collating polio statistics. There is nothing in there that says that the numbers were minimised by renaming polio to anything. It was simply a way of increasing the validity of statistics by removing outliers and infections that might not be paralytic polio even though the initial symptoms might have been similar.
The article in the Journal of Infectious Diseases does say the same, that is, that the CDC only included quite specific cases in the statistics of paralytic poliomyelitis, and they did this from 1958 onwards which hardly constitutes a later change to make the vaccine look better. On the right is the part of the article I like most, though.
There were more than 10,000 cases of paralytic polio reported annually in the US before the vaccine became available. Then there was a dramatic drop. A drop which can only be attributed to the vaccination program. A drop where the numbers were all derived in the same manner.
So let's summarise. An anti-vaccination campaigner claims that the CDC and a major medical journal both say that the apparent reduction in cases of paralytic poliomyelitis following the introduction of the first vaccines was an artificial situation created by renaming polio to "viral meningitis" and "cerebral palsy". A quote from the CDC is provided in support of the claim, but the quote shows that nothing of the sort happened. A journal paper is also offered and again it shows that no such renaming went on. Delightfully, the paper not only refutes the claim of renaming but provides statistics showing the enormous benefit that the vaccine brought, reducing cases of paralytic polio by 99.98%.
It is a constant tactic of anti-vaccination liars to misquote and misrepresent scientific research and the words of scientists, hoping that people will either believe them without checking or will be unable to check. This case, however, shows that sometimes they don't even pretend to offer evidence and just assume that any old set of words will do.
A gift for an anti-vaccinator (16/1/2010)
I know that Christmas is over, but every time is the right time to buy your favourite anti-vaccination liar a present and I think I have found the ideal gift. It's a shaken baby syndrome simulator, a doll that you can shake to see how harmless shaking is. Remember that Bronwyn Hancock has told me that it is impossible to harm a baby by shaking it and Meryl Dorey coined the sound bite "Shaken Maybe Syndrome". There are endless hours of fun ahead for the anti-vaccinator as they try to light up the pleasure centres of the baby's brain by gently waving the doll around.
As an added advantage, when called into court as an expert witness to defend some low life bastard who has beaten a child to death (whether or not he has been declared a hero by chiropractors), it will be a simple matter to demonstrate that no matter how hard you shake the doll the lights never come on. Just remember to take the batteries out and the defendant walks free.
You can see a brochure about this excellent gift here.
Anti-vaccination conversation continues (6/2/2010)
The public conversation between me and anti-vaccination campaigner Bronwyn Hancock in my local paper, the Blue Mountains Gazette, keeps rolling on. Ms Hancock has responded to the letter I mentioned in January.
More embarrassingly than Richard Neville, Peter Bowditch (BMG 6 1 10) failed to even find the right study to which I had referred (BMG 23 11 09) by Mitchell et al on SIDS and vaccination, and erroneously referring to an obviously irrelevant study.
The significance also oddly escaped him of the CDC In 1958, a few years after the vaccine's introduction, no longer counting as polio "cases of nonparalytic poliomyelitis (aseptic meningitis due to poliovirus)" (J Infect Dis 1982), reclassifying nonparalytic (i.e. almost al1) cases as "aseptic meningitis". The CDC manual reveals significant narrowing of the definition of paralytic polio also.
Orthodox medical research documenting vaccine damage has saved many innocent carers from convictions of factitious "shaken baby'' syndrome and also indicate that the little baby that Peter refers to, was very likely the victim of hepatitis B vaccination at birth and the lack of transplacentally-transmitted immunity (in babies born to mothers vaccinated as children), the latter making young babies susceptible to whooping cough.
That and the effect of the antibiotics administered caused the 1996-1997 deaths inappropriately blamed on whooping cough. Furthermore, those young infants contracted it from their fully vaccinated siblings and/or mothers themselves suffering pertussis at the crucial time (MJA 1998).
Bronwyn Hancock, BSc
Vaccination Information Service
Here is my reply:
Bronwyn Hancock's response to my letter (BMG 27/1/09) raises some interesting points. I will address the paragraphs in order.
In her first paragraph Ms Hancock suggests that I should be embarrassed by locating the wrong scientific paper. I am not embarrassed and I simply point out that this is a common error when the paper is not cited correctly. In any case, Richard Neville in his letter (BMG 6/1/09) quoted the correct paper which, far from supporting Ms Hancock's claim that it showed a relationship between vaccination and SIDS, actually said "Immunisation does not increase the risk of SIDS and may even lower the risk".
In her second paragraph she again claims that the name of polio was changed to hide the fact that the vaccine was ineffective. The facts are that in 1958 the definition of "paralytic polio" was clarified so that statistics of the disease only included cases where paralysis persisted beyond 60 days. There was no reclassification of polio as aseptic meningitis - that is a different disease altogether. The clarification meant that infections which cause paralysis lasting for less than 60 days (which include both poliomyelitis and aseptic meningitis) would not be counted as "paralytic poliomyelitis". Note the word "paralytic". The journal article that Ms Hancock cites states this quite clearly, so she either misunderstands it or misrepresents it. By the way, the paper reports a 99.98% reduction in cases of poliomyelitis following the introduction of the vaccine, so so much for the vaccine being ineffective.
The third paragraph is yet another attack on Dana McCaffery and her parents in order to denigrate vaccination. Dana did not die as a result of a HepB injection, she died of whooping cough, contracted because she was exposed to the infection by living in an area with very low vaccination rates. The low vaccination rate is a direct result of the actions of anti-vaccination campaigners like Ms Hancock, some of whom also attempted to exploit Dana's death for propaganda purposes. By her use of the word "factitious" Ms Hancock again presents the idea that babies cannot be harmed by shaking, an idea which highlights the irresponsibility of the anti-vaccine movement. There is no "orthodox medical research" supporting either this absurdity or the possibility that Dana McCaffery was harmed by a vaccine.
The fourth paragraph makes no sense, and again contains an almost meaningless citation of medical literature. I can only assume (but I might be wrong) that she is referring to "Infant pertussis deaths in New South Wales 1996-1997", Williams et al, Med J Aust. 1998 Mar 16;168(6):281-3. If she is using that paper to support her claim that "the effect of the antibiotics administered caused the 1996-1997 deaths inappropriately blamed on whooping cough" she must have missed where the authors said "This excessive infant mortality from a preventable disease demonstrates the need for better pertussis immunity in the community and for erythromycin treatment of all suspected cases and family contacts, especially infants". Or put another way, another paper supporting vaccination is being cited as though it said something different. As Ms Hancock has a science degree I am surprised at her apparent inability to both correctly cite the literature and to comprehend the content of the papers she cites.
The reason I'm a bit late getting this week's update out is that I had to wait for the Sunday night showing of the program 60 Minutes on my local television. I had been engaged in conversation with some of the people involved in making the show and I knew it was not going to be very favourable to anti-vaccination liars. Until I watched it I didn't know how unfavourable it was going to be, but I have to say I heartily enjoyed it. Two of my favourite people, David and Toni McCaffrey, were on it, but the real jewel was two other people I have had dealings with in the past - Viera Scheibner and Bronwyn Hancock. Watch for Dr Scheibner's melt-down and the way she turns on poor Ms Hancock. I almost felt sorry for the target. Almost, but then I remembered that Bronwyn Hancock has said that it is impossible to harm a child by shaking it so all cases of SBS are vaccine damage.
Enjoy! And see if you can work out why the word "parsnips" became an integral part of the Twitter discussion which followed the show.