10 June 2011 in Australia, the news program ’60 Minutes’ aired a segment entitled, “Getting the point” by reporter Ellen Fanning. The show intended to cover the vaccine issue. The letter sent by Judy Wilyman to the show’s producers is below.
To the 60 minute team,
I would like to publicise some of the myths that you presented in your program – Getting the Point (10.6.11). This program did not provide a balanced presentation of the vaccination issue. It also did not allow for discussion or debate of the issues presented. It relied on the program directors selecting the script for the program and selecting the comments they wanted from the interviewees.
There was also no blog for this program posted on the website which does not allow viewers to provide feedback and discussion. You will also note that there is no forum for the public to discuss the topic of immunization in a two-way flow of information. This amounts to propaganda not a presentation of scientific evidence.
Myths presented in this program:
- Vaccines are a victim of their own success. Untrue: Infectious diseases became a low risk in Australia in 1950 before most vaccines were used. This was due to improvements in sanitation, hygiene, nutrition and family sizes (1) (2).
- There is a bottomless pit of misinformation on the internet. Untrue: a large percentage of websites are now promoting the risks of vaccines as stated in medical journals. Visit: The International Medical Council on Vaccination http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/
- Research the history books to observe the benefits of vaccines. Untrue: History books inform us that many outbreaks of infectious diseases have been caused by vaccines.
- Not vaccinating a child is playing Russian Roulette with your child’s life. Untrue: Morbidity (chronic illness and disability) is as much an indicator of children’s health as mortality (death). Mainstream science states chemicals have toxic effects on human health and vaccines inject many chemicals into the bloodstream of developing infants. This correlates with the significant increase in chronic illness in this generation of children. The opposite is true – vaccinating children is playing Russian roulette with children’s lives due to individual genetics.
- Mainstream science says there is no risk from the mercury (in vaccines). Untrue: The dangers of mercury have been known for a long time and it has been removed from all other medical products.
- Individuals who question vaccines believe in conspiracy theories. Untrue. This is a naïve comment as industry makes large profits from vaccines and industry representatives are on government policy advisory boards. It is an institutional bias or stacked deck – not a conspiracy theory.
- Individuals speaking against vaccines are not medical doctors. Individuals do not need medical qualifications to assess the risk from an environmental health problem. It is the government that has chosen a medical solution to an environmental health problem. Consumers are stakeholders in this issue and entitled to be informed and participate in decisions regarding their health.
- Andrew Wakefield was discredited for falsifying his results. Untrue. Ethical arguments were used to discredit Wakefield because the government has not done the science he is attempting to do. He is one of the few scientists that has attempted to investigate the effects of combining the children’s schedule of vaccines (13 vaccines) in infant monkey’s to determine the effects. Governments are currently experimenting on children without systematically monitoring the effects of vaccines in children (3).
- Professor Peter McIntyre (Co –Director of the government NCIRS) states “If we were concerned about something causing harm we would be the first to put up our hands to stop it”. Untrue: The NCIRS has not funded an investigation into the correlation between the increased use of vaccines and the increase in chronic illness in children because they state it is “a coincidence”.
- Anecdotal evidence of two babies who have died of whooping cough was used in this program to support the case for vaccines. This type of evidence should not be used to promote vaccines and if it is used for this purpose, the programmers have a duty to balance the story with two babies who have been damaged by vaccines (as many were by the flu vaccine in 2010).
- Serious adverse events from vaccines are rare. Untrue: The health department cannot make this claim because they have never actively and systematically monitored the effects of vaccines in children over a long time period Eg. months – 10 years (3) (4).
I am copying this information to many of my contacts and the Human Rights Department because it is time the public, as consumers of vaccines, were involved in the debate on this issue. This issue results from the risks of an environmental health problem and as such it does not require consumers to have medical knowledge to assess the known risks from the medical literature.
I expect that you will be able to provide discussion on these comments or provide a proper public forum for a two way flow of information on these issues. The government is not answering the questions parents are asking but they are continuing to claim ‘vaccines are safe and effective’ without the scientific evidence.
Judy Wilyman MSc
1. Commonwealth Department of Health, 1945 – 1986, Official Yearbook of the Commonwealth of Australia, (Com.Year) No. 37 – 72.
2. Obomsawin R, 2009, Immunisation Graphs: Natural Infectious Disease Declines; Immunisation effectiveness; and Immunisation Dangers. Published on the Gaia website www.gaia.health.com/articles101/000123-InfectiousDiseaseVaccines
3. Stokes B, Government of Western Australia, Department of Health, August 2010, Ministerial Review into the Public Health Response into the Adverse Events to the seasonal Influenza Vaccine, www.health.wa.gov.au
4. Collignon P, Doshi P, Jefferson T, 2010, Adverse events following influenza vaccination in Australia – should we be surprised? BMJ Rapid Responses Published 7 May 2010