Vaccine lobby group at risk

RUMOURS the Bangalow-based Australian Vaccination Network is about to close down may be premature, according to its president, Meryl Dorey.

Although Ms Dorey sent out a six-page newsletter this week saying she would be forced to resign within weeks and close the AVN due to a lack of finances, the door will stay open if enough funds are donated.

In her newsletter Ms Dorey states: “... if a benefactor or series of benefactors come forward to establish a fund that would guarantee the AVN’s existence for at least the next two or three years, or if donations were to be come in during the next week that would give us the same financial stability, then I would be willing to continue my role for the foreseeable future.”

In March last year four-week-old Dana McCaffery, of Lennox Head, contracted whooping cough and died.

Dana’s parents have campaignedever since in favour of vaccinatingchildren.

Former bureaucrat Ken McLeod was saddened by the death and incensed when he saw Ms Dorey on TV commenting on the case and defending the rights of parents who chose not to vaccinate their children against diseases such as measles and whooping cough.

Mr McLeod said he spent a lot of time analysing statements made by MsDorey on television, in print, inbrochures and emails.

“I checked the science of these statements and the scientific truth was the opposite of what she was claiming,” Mr McLeod said.

Mr McLeod made an official complaint about Ms Dorey to the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission on July 14 last year, on the basis she was assuming the role of a health educator and advisor, but was in breach of the codes of practice of health providers by demonstrably disseminating wrong information.

On August 3 the HCCC announced they would undertake a full investigation into the conduct of Ms Dorey and the Australian Vaccination Network.

Mr McLeod is waiting to receive the final report of the investigation, which may be available soon.

HCCC executive officer, Kim Swan, confirmed the matter was still before the commission.

Meanwhile, Ms Dorey has been quoted in Sydney media, commenting on a controversial medical paper linking the measles vaccine with autism.

A disciplinarian panel found the doctor who wrote the report, Dr Andrew Wakefield, was acting unethically while conducting his research.

Despite the furore he is a hero to some parents of children with autism, who portray him as a victim of a witch-hunt.

The paper, published in medical journal The Lancet, led to a collapse inimmunisation levels worldwide.

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