If you haven’t heard of the Australian Vaccination Network (aka the anti-vaxxers) and assume that opposition to vaccines must be confined to a handful of loons living in tree houses, you need to know what sort of people belong to the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) and what lengths they’ll go to, to distress, frighten and misinform parents.
Until about three years ago whenever any media outlet ran a story about vaccination they would go to founder & President, Meryl Dorey for a comment on behalf of the AVN.
The comments she gave to the media were never positive and rarely factual, relying on bogus science (or no science at all), fear-mongering about the side effects and dangers of vaccinations, and conspiracy theories about the power and influence of pharmaceutical manufacturers.
What changed the situation was the death of a baby from whooping cough. Her name was Dana McCaffrey and you can read her tragic story and see and interview with her parents here. At only 3 weeks of age, baby Dana was too young to be vaccinated and her innocent parents were unaware that they lived in the region with the lowest level of vaccination in the state.
After their baby died, they questioned why health authorities had not warned them about this. “Did I miss a pamphlet in that bag of information they give you in hospital?” Dana’s mother Toni McCaffrey anguished. She hadn’t. No warning had been given.