Meryl Dorey the President of the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) claims that all you need to be an expert on vaccination is a "brain" and 20 years of studying the topic. She thinks this makes her equal to paediatricians, immunologists, epidemiologists and other reputable experts without the benefit of any science or medical qualifications of her own.
Unfortunately, studying vaccination from other disreputable sources that confirm her opinion and cherrypicking (often inaccurately) from peer reviewed journals does not constitute real research.
Therefore it beggars belief that the organisers of the Woodford Folk Festival would choose Meryl Dorey to speak about vaccination as if she is an expert. Criticism came from all corners about this decision on Facebook, blogs, Twitter, mainstream press and the QLD Minister for Health and Chief Medical Officer.
Meryl Dorey claims to have collected reports of thousands of Australian families whose children have been killed or injured by vaccinations but has not seen fit to publish these reports. The AVN claim they are not anti-vaccination but pro-choice and yet they sell these
T-shirts which say "Love them, Protect them, Never Inject Them"
Ms Dorey and the AVN had free rein to spout their nonsense and lies unfettered for many years until they overstepped the mark in 2009 following the tragic death of Dana McCaffery from pertussis (whooping cough) at the age of just 4 weeks. Within days of Dana's death Meryl Dorey was demanding a copy of Dana's medical records from public health authorities - naturally she was refused. Members of the AVN also sent hateful and hurtful emails to the McCafferys. Meryl Dorey wanted to know if Dana McCaffery had been properly diagnosed with pertussis but also claims that all of her family have had pertussis and that it was a short 2 week mild illness - that is not pertussis. WARNING: DISTURBING FOOTAGE. This is pertussis Thankfully, this child survived unlike Dana.
The very distressing conduct of the AVN against the McCaffery family motivated a number of people to action and form the Facebook group called Stop the AVN (SAVN). It was individual members of this group who made a complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commission fo NSW resulting in this Public Warning against the AVN and to the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing that resulted in the revocation of their charity status
Following the much publicised criticism of the Woodford organisers for promoting Meryl Dorey as a vaccination expert and giving her an unfettered voice, the organisers have cancelled Ms Dorey's talk and replaced it with a forum. Immunologist Prof Andreas Suhbier will speak the truth about how vaccinations save lives, while Meryl Dorey will spew forth her usual misinformation, half baked conspiracy theories and outright bullshit.
The members of SAVN have again been called to action regarding Meryl Dorey's appearance at Woodford as a self appointed expert. If you are reading this at Woodford Folk Festival - look up in the sky - its a plane - with a towbanner saying VACCINATION SAVES LIVES. This is the work of 34 citizen activists from SAVN who pooled together the $2,800 cost of the plane and towbanner. These activists include students, pensioners, health professionals and other committed lay people. It should also be noted that $2,800 represents only 1% of AVN's audited revenue for 2010. Where did that money go?
VACCINATION SAVES LIVES