The NSW Health Care Complains Commission (HCCC) describes the information provided by the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) as “inaccurate and misleading”. However Meryl Dorey from the AVN claims that “all their information is accurate and fully referenced from medical literature”. Obviously someone is telling porkies, and it isn’t the HCCC.
There simply isn’t enough space on my server’s hard drive to detail all the inaccuracies and lies promulgated by the AVN, so I’ll just concentrate on the most obvious ones. Because if the AVN can’t get basic information correct, what hope do they have when the subject becomes more complicated?
The Immunisation Schedule
Surely for Australia’s self-appointed “vaccine safety watchdog”, this would be the most rudimentary knowledge. So can the AVN manage to give correct information on this basic topic? Let’s take a look. Here is what they claim is on the schedule:
Let’s check the real Australian Vaccination Schedule. Ignoring the fact that many of these vaccines are combined and that the AVN have included vaccines given after not by 12 months, their description of the schedule is far from accurate. The Chicken Pox (Varicella) vaccine is given at 18 months, not 12. There is one dose of Meningococcal (at 12 months), not three doses. Finally, there is no influenza vaccine on the schedule at all.
These may seem like minor errors, but let’s not forget that the AVN have claimed on their website that they provide “all the information you need” on vaccination. If they can’t get the schedule right, what hope is there for more complex information?
Another of the most basic vaccination subjects would be ingredients. After all, if they don’t know what’s in vaccines, how could the AVN be expected to offer advice on the purpose and effect of those ingredients? Let’s look at the statement on their Diphtheria page:
The “mercury” they are referring to is Thiomersal, a preservative used in some vaccines since the 1930s which contains about 1 molecule of mercury per dose. So does “every diphtheria vaccine used in Australia” contain it? No. In fact, it’s not in any currently used diphtheria vaccines, let alone all of them. The first thiomersal-free diphtheria vaccine was licensed for use in Australia in 1997, more than a decade before the AVN wrote this article, and every childhood vaccine used in Australia is thiomersal-free.
Again, one must ask: If the AVN cannot get such basic advice correct, what is the chance that the rest of their information is accurate?
- Measles is one of the leading causes of death for children around the world.
- In the year 2000 only 72% of children worldwide had received the first dose (of two) by their first birthday
- In the year 2000 an estimated 733,000 people died of measles worldwide
- In the year 2008 about 83% of children worldwide had received the first dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday
- In the year 2008 an estimated 164,000 people died of measles worldwide, a net gain of over 550,000 lives from 2000
- As high as 10% of measles cases result in death among populations with high levels of malnutrition and a lack of adequate health care.
- More than 10,000,000 people are affected by measles every year
- 1-2 out of every 1,000 children that get measles will die
- Measles can make a pregnant woman have a miscarriage or give birth prematurely
- There are people who claim measles is not a big deal and “natural immunity” via actually getting the disease is to be preferred to vaccinations. Really? When was the last time the measles vaccine caused 733,000 deaths?
In an effort to stem the spread of misinformation about vaccines, the Australian New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission has issued this Public Warning about the Australian Vaccine Network (AVN). Here are some excerpts to keep in mind:
The Commission’s investigation established that the AVN website:
- provides information that is solely anti-vaccination
- contains information that is incorrect and misleading
- quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous.
Furthermore the Commission suggests the following:
On this basis, the Commission recommended to the AVN that it should include a statement in a prominent position on its website to the following effect:
- The AVN’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.
- The information provided by the AVN should not be read as medical advice.
- The decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider.
Reasonable suggestions. The AVN keeps perpetrating the same, debunked, myths about vaccines, the same way the Age of Autism and similar organizations do in the USA. Please, make sure to check with your pediatrician, or 2 or 3, but make sure not to fall for the pretty rhetoric of non-experts. The “mommy instinct” may come in handy in many situations when raising your child, but it cannot decide on scientific matters. Vaccines save lives, but don’t take my word for it; just check out my Vaccine Preventable Suffering tag and you’ll see for yourself.
Age at death – 17 days
Cause of death – Pertussis (whooping cough)
Vaccination status – Most likely unvaccinated due to young age
Synopsis – Dylan’s mother got sick with cold like symptoms while she was pregnant. As her disease worsened, it induced early labor. Dylan was born two weeks premature, but otherwise in good health. Mariah, Dylan’s mother, had pertussis which went undiagnosed by her doctors. Her other son also started exhibiting the same symptoms. Unfortunately, the disease then infected Dylan. Seventeen days after her baby Dylan was born, he grew so lethargic that she couldn’t wake him for a feeding. He died 12 hours later in an ambulance while being transferred from one hospital to another. My heartfelt condolences go out to the Bianchi family; I am very saddened for your loss.
This is a special editon of Vaccine Preventable Suffering, as I do not have detailed info on each victim, no pictures, no backdrop story. All that is known so far is that the pertussis epidemic in California has claimed it’s 6th victim. Officials haven’t disclosed the age of the 6th victim, all we know is that we’re talking about yet another infant. California declared a pertussis epidemic back in June, when 910 cases of infection had been confirmed and 5 infants, all under 3 months, had perished to whooping cough. As of this latest report, nearly 1,500 cases of infections have been reported statewide.
Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious disease which can be very dangerous for babies under 6 months of age, who haven’t had a chance to get their full round of vaccines yet. It is extremely important, that if you are a parent, sibling or anyone who will be taking care off, or in constant contact with the babies, get a booster Tdap shot. You might just save your childs/sibblings life.
I first read Aleshya’s, and her son’s Peyton, story at Dana McCaffery’s Facebook page. What happened to Peyton and Aleshya, highlights the importance not only of vaccinating children and adults, but also the importance of adult booster shots, disseminating the right information to parents, but even more importantly that doctors themselves need to be more aware and vigilant about this disease. Words cannot describe how important her questions and her plea for awareness and action are. I contacted Aleshya and asked for permission to share their, fortunately, happy-ending story here at Vaccine Central. She gracefully agreed and without further ado, here is what happened in Aleshya’s own words (emphasis and links were added by me).
Hi, My name is Aleshya . My son, Peyton, is a Pertussis survivor. At only 6 weeks-old he developed the disease Pertussis, also known as whooping-cough. This disease caused my son to suffer through severe coughing attacks, followed by the struggle to catch his breath, which caused him to turn purple due to low oxygen levels. During each attack, I listened to my son make these awful high-pitch noises, a sound that is typical of pertussis. As a new mother, the first sounds I expected to hear from my son were small coos and giggles, not the sound of him gasping for air. I worried with every cough: will he catch his breath? The only thing I could do is coach him through it, with a calm tone “please breathe Peyton, please breathe”, while watching him turn purple.
We are not sure how Peyton got the whooping-cough, but it could have been prevented had our family been made aware that adults, as well as children, need booster shots. Just one simple DTaP (Tdap for adults) shot could have possibly prevented Peyton, and our family, from going through this horrible experience.
Not only were we uneducated about pertussis, but it took three trips to the ER for the doctors to finally admit Peyton into the ICU at our local hospital. During one of trips to the ER, the doctor told us Peyton’s condition was caused by constipation so we were sent home. After receiving many wrong diagnoses, they finally ran a pertussis test on my son. The test took about 5 days to culture. My husband and I were told for five days, by many different doctors, that there was no way our son had pertussis, even though Peyton’s pediatrician suspected it. They were sure it was the flu. The pertussis test came back positive.
I was told that, because the hospital staff did not take proper precautions with Peyton’s “possible” pertussis, every one in every department that he came in contact with was required to take antibiotics, after the pertussis was confirmed.
Peyton was discharged from the hospital after 7 days on October 25th, 2009. At that time, he was only 2 weeks into his pertussis infection, which can last for several weeks, or even months. Each day he got a little bit better; his attacks were not as frequent as they were in the beginning, but still just as severe. More and more cases of pertussis appear each day, a disease that we once just about wiped out is now coming back. As a new mother, I thought all I have to do is keep him safe from the flu…….boy was I wrong. Not in my wildest dreams, did I think that my healthy son would have to battle with such a (in most infant cases) fatal disease, at only six weeks old.
Why isn’t there more awareness out there about pertussis? Why aren’t we encouraged more to follow up on our booster shots to prevent another pertussis outbreak, to protect more babies like Peyton, to save children’s lives? To all new parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles, please from the bottom of my heart, get your booster shots. It is that important, and since there is little awareness, help spread the word about pertussis. You may never know it, but it could save a baby’s life.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – There is little need to worry about serious side effects if your toddler is getting vaccinated against whooping cough, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
“Our findings provide reassuring evidence that the vaccine is not associated with acute seizure events and is safe for routine immunization in early childhood,” they write in the journal Pediatrics.
An earlier version of the vaccine — which also protects against diphtheria and tetanus — had stoked concern, because it tripled the risk of fever-related seizures in infants. While most such seizures are harmless, they are frightening to watch for parents and could cause babies to choke on food.
The new study is the largest so far to look at seizure risk with the current vaccine, known as DTaP, which has been recommended in the U.S. since 1997. It includes data from more than 430,000 infants who were vaccinated between 1997 and 2006.
The researchers followed the toddlers until just before they turned two; most were given four vaccine shots, starting at two months of age. About 5,200 of the babies had seizures at some point, but only 112 occurred within four days of the shot.
The seizure rate during these four days was 1,208 per 100,000 infants followed over a year, compared to a baseline rate of 1,083. Statistically speaking, that difference could easily have been due to chance.
And when accounting for other factors linked to seizures, such as age and the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR), infants actually had fewer seizures in the days after their shot than at other times. Again, however, that difference could have been due to chance.