In a tribunal on Friday, a mother told a hearing how the “misleading” name of a controversial anti-vaccination lobby group convinced her not to immunise her daughter.
That’s right. We’re talking about the Australian Vaccination Network.
Because the AVN – who peddle misleading and dangerous, anti-vaccination rhetoric to new parents – are still putting families at risk.
According to News.com.au, the mother told the hearing that she was, quote, “scammed by these (AVN) losers”. She said that after reading the AVN website, she had been scared into not vaccinating her baby daughter.
The mother continued, “It was only due to the insistence of my mother that I looked further into the issue and found that not only did [immunisation] not cause autism, I had been lied to by this organisation … I put my much-loved and much-wanted daughter’s life at risk because I believed this organisation was giving me legitimate medical information.”
AVN president Greg Beattie responded that he didn’t think AVN’s name was misleading “at all”.
In the wake of the hearing, the Australian Vaccination Network has been ordered to run a temporary disclaimer on its website and Facebook page. A consumer warning, alerting parents and other readers to the fact that the information on the website is not sanctioned by the Government, or any official health departments.
The decision is part of an ongoing legal dispute, with the AVN fighting a December ruling that they should have to change their name – or be deregistered. The formal order was issued by NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts, but the organisation has appealed to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.
The new disclaimer has been put in place, with the understanding that the anti-vaccination lobby group will not have to change their name until their challenge in a tribunal hearing in June.
The president of the tribunal, Judge O’Connor, requested that the AVN place the following text on both their website and Facebook page, by March 26.
“NSW Fair Trading has directed the AVN to change its name because it regards the name to be misleading. The AVN is challenging this direction and the challenge is currently before the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal.”
In case you’ve only just started following this case on Mamamia, the reason there is so much brouhaha about what the AVN chooses to call itself, is because the group has been attacked by scientists, doctors, and concerned parents for discouraging the vaccination of children.