Another Anti-vaccination flop, and an “In Memoriam”

I know, the fourth pro-vaxx post in a row. I’ll try to do something different for the post after this one.

Firstly, Louise Kuo Habakus doesn’t know when she’s beaten. After organising that laughable picket of Microsoft a few weeks ago, she attempted to get a Bill passed in New Jersey. The Bill would have made it easier for parents in the State to argue Conscientious Objection against getting their children vaccinated. The Bill was introduced before the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee. Unfortunately for Habakus and other supporters of the Bill, Herb Conaway, the chairman of the Committee, is a qualified physician. He called the Bill “a recipe for disaster” (true) and refused to hold a vote on the Bill.

The second part of this post is very hard to write. Two years ago to the day, a baby named Dana Elizabeth McCaffery died of Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough. She was just 32 days old.

The McCafferys were living in an area with a very low vaccination rate and Dana was too young to be vaccinated. Normally, babies are protected by herd immunity. If enough people are vaccinated against a disease, the disease is unable to find an unimmunised host, and dies out before it can spread. The Northern Rivers Area had a high number of people refusing vaccines, and the vaccination rate had dipped to below the level necessary to sustain herd immunity.

Dana caught Pertussis at 11 days old. When a test revealed the condition she was hospitalised. When she got worse she was airlifted to Mater Children’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit in Brisbane. Two days later, she had a fatal reaction to the toxin released by the bacterium, and died.

Dana’s parents, Toni and David McCaffery, have become advocates for vaccination. Sickeningly (excuse the inadvertent pun), an antivaccination organisation misleadingly named the Australian Vaccination Network started harrassing the McCafferys. Meryl Dorey, the founder and head of the AVN, attempted to gain access to Dana’s medical records the day before her funeral. After nine months of harassment, the McCafferys made a formal complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC), which together with a complaint from Ken McLeod, culminated in a ruling that the AVN “provides information that is misleading for the average reader by inaccurately representing information, selectively reporting information, and giving non-peer reviewed and anecdotal material the same authority as peer-reviewed literature. The HCCC found in all cases, the AVN and Ms Dorey were doing so to maintain an anti-vaccination position.”

The AVN is in further trouble. The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR), the Bureau responsible for monitoring non-profits and fundraising, found that the AVN was not following correct accounting procedures, and has stripped the AVN of its authority to fundraise.

In memory of Dana Elizabeth McCaffery (2009-02-05 to 2009-03-09).



About autismjungle

I am a Software Test Analyst. Shortly before I turned 21 I was officially diagnosed, although I had long suspected I was autistic. Welcome to my blog
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