THE AUSTRALIAN SKEPTICS’ Bent Spoon Award has this year gone to Australian Vaccination Network president Meryl Dorey, of Bangalow.
Mrs Dorey was awarded the spoon at the annual Australian Skeptics National Convention at the University of Queensland on Saturday.
“Winning the award from the Skeptics means we are on the right track,” Mrs Dorey said yesterday.
The Skeptics said she earned the award through her ‘scaremongering and misinformation’ about childhood vaccination.
Mrs Dorey and the network were responsible for low vaccination rates in Northern NSW and the subsequent loss of herd immunity, the level required to reduce outbreaks of vaccine preventable disease, the Skeptics have claimed.
And while Mrs Dorey was not invited to the awards ceremony, the parent’s of the Lennox Head baby, Dana McCaffery, who died from whooping cough last year, at four-weeks-old, were.
Toni and David McCaffery were honoured with the Skeptics’ inaugural Thornett Award.
The award, named after well known sceptic Fred Thornett who died this year, was for the ‘promotion of reason’.
“We implore people when they want information they access reputable sources,” Mrs McCaffery said.
In giving the McCaffery family the award, Skeptics chief executive Tim Mendham said the organisation had been moved by the family’s efforts to raise awareness about vaccination.
“The decision was unanimous,” Mr Mendham said.
Earlier this year, a member of the Skeptics, Tim McLeod, filed a complaint against Mrs Dorey and the network with the Health Care Complaints Commission. However, it is unclear whether the commission will investigate the complaint because Mrs Dorey and the network are not health care providers.
Yesterday the commission said the matter was confidential.