Anti-Vaccination Australia Putting Infant Lives at Risk. (As usual.)

**Edited to add: this is NOT an April Fools Day joke. Even though I wish it was.**

Another day, another dangerous, wildly misinformed bunch of nonsense in the notorious Facebook group, Anti-Vaccination Australia. The confidence and ease with which these people risk the lives of their own, and other peoples’ children is truly appalling. 

Whooping cough is a deadly disease that has brought about the deaths of several Australian babies in the past few years. In the wake of Riley Hughes passing (which could have been prevented had his mum been given a whooping cough vaccination in her third trimester of pregnancy), state and territory governments across Australia funded third trimester whooping cough boosters for pregnant women. While it is too late for those babies lost to pertussis, this measure has, without a doubt, saved lives in this country. 

Cormit Avital was fortunate enough to be offered the whooping cough booster for her baby’s protection while she was pregnant. Unfortunately for her baby daughter Ava, Cormit refused the vaccine. Ava contracted whooping cough and spent a month in intensive care fighting for her life. 

Riley, Ava and all the other babies who have suffered and died from this terrible disease are testament to the importance of  the  maternal pertussis booster. 

Back to Anti-Vaccination Australia; Jessie is pregnant with twins, and at her ante-natal visit her doctor had the audacity to offer her this life saving measure for her babies:

“she proceeded to tell me my babies can get very very sick without it and that its better i get it done i still said no”

Doctor tried to push for me to get whopping cough vax today tried telling me that the vax is completely safe for pregnant women mind u im only 3 weeks off having my babies and previously said no at 28 weeks and she recommends i have it i said no thanks then she tried telling me that the vax does not havethe virus in it and that worst thatll happen is my arm may hurt and i may feel abit flat i still said no then she asked about when my twins are born am i going to get it for them when i said no she proceeded to tell me my babies can get very very sick without it and that its better i get it done i still said no”

Nikkli came along to comiserate. Her midwives are doing the same, so she is compromising her ante-natal care by not attending for check-ups:

“there are opinionated idiots every where 😅”

“At my antenatal app at 28 weeks I had the most pushy midwife ever. Said I needed to have it and I said I’d have to think about it, so she wrote in my pregnancy book that my next appointment I want to have it rah rah.
So I actually missed my antenatal app at 32 weeks and didn’t go back till 35 weeks. The midwife I had this visit asked me why I didn’t make my last appointment, I said because I didn’t want to have the vaccination and she said “that’s fine!” Without any hesitation. I felt so much better. Not everyone will push it on you, but there are opinionated idiots every where 😅”

Farah too. HAT-TRICK!

“got him off my back”

“This happened to me too at my visit today. The doctor told me i need to get my whooping cough vax and i said ‘no i told the other doctor i dont want it’ he said ‘ok’ then a few minutes later asked me ‘why I didnt want it’ i said ‘last time i had a bad reaction and i already had it 5 6 years ago with my first and i dont want to go through that again’ got him off my back but he did write on my card for it to be done next time!! 😠 why do i have to face this shit everytime i go to my antenatal visits”

Why, indeed. 

Of course the other helpful and knowledgeable members joined in to further support the declining of a life saving measure for the unborn babies: 

Natasha: “Well done!”

Allison: “Good for you mumma!! They are pushy, aren’t they! She was counting on that little bit extra in her pay. Ah well! Sucks to be her!!”

Lorna: “What a nightmare, being asked repeatedly every visit.”

Pene: “Omg lol….this makes me laugh….good on u for saying no continuously. …i have done the same in the past….”

Liane: Stay strong! “Well done 😊 pushy annoying doctors just wanting to line their pockets, bastards!”

Then there was more encouragement to leave the babies unprotected from Tamlyn: “Well done! Stand your ground

and Tristan: “dont just say NO. say ‘”I listen to doctors at the CDC like Dr William Thompson” who proved that vaccines are linked to autism. in other words, saying NO just makes the doctor think you are a “crazy person from the internet”. telling him facts makes him realize you are awake and intelligent and ..may even force him to check out Dr William Thompson and the movie VAXXED”. 

“dont just say NO. say ‘”I listen to doctors at the CDC like Dr William Thompson” “

There is more in the conversation, including advice for Jessie on birthing twins naturally and how to circumvent the hospital policy of performing a C-section for the safe delivery of twins, because, you know, these people know so much more than trained medical professional like obstetricians. 

Will these people enthusiastically giving advice and encouraging these three mothers in their decisions to put their babies lives at risk shoulder any responsibility if there is a tragic outcome here? I think we all know the answer to that. 

No they will not.

They showed this recently by turning on one of their own when a deliberately unvaccinated child from the Northern N.S.W Coast  was airlifted to a Brisbane ICU with tetanus. They dismissed the story as “manufactured,” accused the parents of being “actors,” of not tending to the child’s wound properly, along with accusing the hospital of causing the tetanus in the hospital setting. That is exactly what they did to Cormit Avital as well. They are all “love and light” until their beliefs are challenged, or until they are confronted with the consequences of those beliefs. 

Four babies are soon to be born without the benefit of protection from whooping cough. I do hope that luck is on their side. 

The Abhorrent Cruelty of Anti-Vaxxers

I don’t think it is news to anyone that most anti-vaxxers are hateful, loathsome people. I’ve been swimming in their various cesspits for more than a few years now, but I saw something today that took my breath away. It … Continue reading

Anti-Vaccine Campaigners Take Heed: Australia Will Not Tolerate You.

It’s been a bad week for anti-vaxxers.

After the upcoming Australian tour of American osteopath and anti-vaccine campaigner Sherri Tenpenny was leaked by opponents, Australians were outraged. We don’t tolerate anti-vaccine campaigners too well down here; see the destruction of the Australian Vaccination – Skeptics Network (AV-SN) for evidence of that. The good folk at Stop the Australian (anti) Vaccination Network (SAVN) have worked tirelessly for years to put a stop to the misinformation and financial shenanigans of the AV-SN and by all appearances their work is done. I am assured that they are ready to continue their good work should the zombie that is the AV-SN rear its ugly head again, but even Meryl Dorey admits that membership (or, financial support from supportive parties, once a large proportion of the AV-SN’s income), is no longer their focus. Could it be that Ms Dorey knows that the AV-SN is so on the nose that even she accepts that their support base has been all but wiped out by the exposure that SAVN wrought down on them?

Anyway, I digress. Sherri Tenpenny is an American osteopathic physician who was raised unvaccinated by her anti-vaccine parents and missed the whole third grade of her schooling due to vaccine preventable and other illnesses. It’s a shame she didn’t learn about science, evidence and the peer review process in her training, but then again, anti-vaccinationism is more like a religion than a position a person arrives at via science and evidence. It is a position anti-vaxxers hold on to ferociously despite the mountains of good evidence that proves them wrong. They don’t care about evidence, they only care about their position. Ms Tenpenny definitely fits this mold and holds some truly bizarre beliefs about vaccines. Reasonable Hank provides some insight into Ms Tenpenny and the tour here

Ms Tenpenny keeps good company.
Ms Tenpenny keeps good company.

Once news of her visit down here was leaked, SAVN and the pro-vaccine community swung into action. Letters have been written to ministers requesting her visa be disallowed and to venues asking they reconsider hosting the anti-vaccine events. Then the media got wind of the campaign and it was all down hill from there for Tenpenny and the organiser, Stephanie Messenger. Ms Messenger holds equally bizarre beliefs about vaccination and is the author of several idiotic children’s books including “Melanie’s Marvelous Measles”. Reasonable Hank collated all the media coverage here and you might find the Diluted Thinking investigation of the businesses / charities linked to the tour interesting as well. At the time of writing the media coverage count sits at 32 news items, none of it has been positive for the anti-vaccine campaigners. 

At this stage, six event bookings at five venues have been canceled by venue management, two venues have not commented, and Rydges Hotels are citing “freedom of speech” as their reason to honor their booking. This wont end well for Rydges, you can contact them here to share your thoughts on their stance. It has been confirmed that the venues were misled about the nature of the events, with the bookings being made by a “charity” of Stephanie Messenger’s called “Get Rid of SIDS Project Inc”. This “charity” is set up to “promote the prevention or the control of diseases in human beings”. I can find little information about the activities of this “charity” except that they sell cot mattress covers telling parents they prevent SIDS. That’s a whole other issue, and considering that Ms Messenger asserts on her website that “SIDS in Australia mostly happens at 2, 4 and 6 months – some will definitely be vaccination deaths!”, I hate to think what this “charity’s” activities actually involve. 

Ms Tenpenny, Ms Messenger and the rest of the anti-vaccine community have learned something they should have already known, and they have learned it the hard way. Australia will not take their nonsense lying down. Australians will tackle them and their dangerous misinformation head on. We don’t like people lying to parents for profit or endangering children. Anti-vaccine campaigners will never have it easy in this country. Take heed.

Now, who better than grumpy cat to have the final word for this post?

No welcome mat for anti-vax campaigners in Australia.
No welcome mat for anti-vax campaigners in Australia.

Updated to add: Ms Tenpenny’s tour of Australia was canceled, due to the backlash against her and the venues planning to host her. Australia stood tall and said “No you don’t, not here.” I couldn’t be more proud of the way the community swung into action on this. Well done to all involved, particularly SAVN  for taking the lead, and having set a previous example of how to deal with anti-vaccine campaigners by their excellent work dismantling the Australian Vaccination – Skeptics Network.