by Christina England
October 14, 2010
Today saw the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) get yet another kick in the teeth. The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) have decided to revoke their charitable authority. This means that as from Wednesday 20th October 2010, the AVN will no longer be able to accept any donations from any person who is not a member of their organisation.
The AVN is run by Meryl Dorey and supplies parents and interested parties with information about childhood vaccination. From what I can see, it is a vital source of valuable information that the parents of today are hungry for.
The AVN states the following:
“The AVN urges you to investigate before you vaccinate
We believe it is a parent’s right to choose what’s best for their child…some would say that this is one of the most basic rules of any civilised society. Yet governments all over the world have abridged or denied the right to free choice when it comes to vaccinations, vaccines and immunisations. The Australian Vaccination Network is working to help parents take back that right to free and informed choice by allowing them to see the less publicised side of this important issue before making a decision.”
Studying their website it does not appear threatening in any way. The AVN use terms such as ‘the AVN urges’ and ‘we believe’, so what is the problem?
The problem as I see it is this, the AVN offers parents educational information that the government and the pharmaceutical companies would rather they did not have. Basically, the AVN tells parents the truth.
The background to yesterday’s decision by the OLGR to revoke the AVN’s charitable license begins not with the OLGR but from complaints that were sent to the Health Care Complaints Commission, back in 2009.
The AVN says:
“In 2009, the Health Care Complaints Commission received complaints against the AVN and initiated an investigation. As a result of this investigation, the HCCC recommended that the following statement be put on the AVN’s website.
1. The Australian Vaccination Network’s purpose is to provide information against vaccination in order to balance what it believes is the substantial amount of pro-vaccination information available elsewhere.
2. The information provided should not be read as medical advice; and
3. The decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider.”
The AVN already had a disclaimer on its website and declined to post the HCCC’s statement. As a result, the HCCC issued a public warning, saying that the AVN website “contains information that is inaccurate and misleading” and that the absence of the HCCC’s recommended statement on the AVN website could affect decisions about whether to vaccinate and “therefore poses a risk to public health and safety.”
The AVN refused to be bullied by the HCCC and stood by their laurels. They felt that the HCCC had no right to recommend, what can only be described as a public health warning, onto their website.
Quite right to, in my opinion, after all they were not doing anything illegal were they?
Suddenly out of the blue an organisation called Stop the Australian Vaccination Network appeared as if by magic. This is what the AVN say:
“An organisation called Stop the Australian Vaccination Network (SAVN) which has been set up to silence the AVN and to take away our legal right to share medically-based, fully-referenced data on the risks and ineffectiveness of vaccines, has taken out a series of complaints against the AVN via the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) and other State and Federal bodies. They believe that we in Australia do not have the legal right to communicate with each other either online or in person (eg at seminars or via the media). The HCCC has been corresponding with the AVN regarding this issue for over 12 months and have recently released a statement warning parents about our information due to our refusal to state that we are anti-vaccine – a position we have never taken nor will we ever take that stance.”