News

Vaccination group investigation

THE Bangalow-based Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) and its founder, Meryl Dorey, are the subjects of an investigation by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission.

The AVN is accused of ‘engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct with the intent of persuading parents not to vaccinate their children,’ by Ken McLeod, a member of a group known as Stop the AVN.

When Mr McLeod first filed his 20-page complaint in July it was unclear whether the AVN or Mrs Dorey would fall under the commission’s jurisdiction and complaints process, as neither were registered health-care providers.

However, the complaint was referred to the Health Commissioner, who decided an investigation should proceed.

Mr McLeod’s complaint lists instances in which he claims the AVN has provided false and misleading information about whooping cough, bacterial meningitis, the Gardasil vaccine and the safety of the measles, mumps andrubella vaccine, MMR.

And while the commission may take several more months to complete itsinvestigation, the ABC last month released a statement to say that information supplied by Mrs Dorey which was broadcast on ABC Mid-North Coast local radio in September was found to be misleading.

The presenter of the morning program, on which Mrs Dorey and Lismore obstetrician Dr Chris Ingall were guests, referred to statistics supplied by Mrs Dorey.

The investigation found the use of these statistics, about whooping cough, was misleading as they were ‘drawn from different data sets and related to different groups of children’.

The statistics were also presented as vaccination rates for 1991, when they were, in fact, for 2001, the ABC said.

The broadcaster received two complaints about the statistics used during the segment.

The use of the data was found to be in breach of the ABC’s editorial requirements for accuracy and context in factual content.

Professor Peter McIntyre, from the National Centre for Immunisation and Surveillance, said better reporting and diagnosis of whooping cough had lead to an increase in the number of cases reported each year.

Prof McIntyre said it was wrong to suggest the prevalence of whooping cough had increased and that vaccination did not work.

He said the five per cent of children who were not vaccinated accounted for 30 per cent of all reported cases of whooping cough.

“They have around seven to eight times the chance of contracting whooping cough than vaccinated children,” Prof McIntyre said.

Mrs Dorey said the network sourced its information directly from the Australian Government and peer reviewed medical journals, and that it was the ABC which got it wrong.

“I believe they have misunderstood what was on the graphs,” she said.

Mrs Dorey is currently having her information verified by the editor of a peer-reviewed medical journal in the United States and would be filing her own complaint with the ABC should her interpretation of the data be verified.



This week's markets list

The Lismore Car Boot Markets. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

Where to get your local fresh produce and coffee from

Firies warn: Be careful to avoid 'serious snags' this long weekend

gympie high naplan. WARM UP: Elsa James (Education Support) and Head of Year 7 Gay Collins (right) man the barbecue.

FOLLOW these simple tips and have a fire-proof long weekend

15 Northern Rivers schools to benefit from state funding boost

Local schools will benefit from a $340 million funding boost to quality teaching.

New $340m Literacy and Numeracy Strategy will benefit students

Local Partners

Girls actors give emotional tributes to hit show

Actor Allison Williams

Actors farewell smash hit HBO show Girls after six seasons

Janet Jackson's pregnancy is 'best thing'

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson can't wait to become a mum

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Ten things to do this week

CLASSIC: A finals heat from the 1985 Byron bay Malibu Club Classic
Photo Contributed

Surf, music, comedy and plenty of cabaret

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E7: Manifest review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

Buyers forking out millions

Owners benefiting from undersupplied Northern Rivers market

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

New $33 million development planned for Ballina Shire

The site of a proposed seniors living development at Skennars Head.

Plans include 211 homes, clubhouse and recreational facilities