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Vaccination saves lives

By Chrys Stevenson - posted Thursday, 29 December 2011

I'm a down to earth kind of girl; not much given to looking heaven-ward for good advice. In fact, I'm the girl-least-likely to suggest you should gaze into the stratosphere in search of the answers to life's more vexing questions.

But, if you happen to be in the vicinity of the Woodford Folk Festival this afternoon and there's any chance you might be swayed by the rapid-fire, baffle-them-with-bullshit stylings of anti-vaccination virago, Meryl Dorey, I have a suggestion.

Stop for a moment and cast your eyes aloft ; for there, my friends, you will find the truth revealed:


Vaccination Saves Lives

You'll have to be quick. Heavenly apparitions are, by nature, fleeting; even the Virgin Mary doesn't hang around at Medjugorje all day. But, this afternoon, during the two hours surrounding Ms Dorey's anti-vaccination diatribe, you'll hear a distant hum and then, miraculously – almost as if it was planned – a small aircraft will emerge from the clouds, towing a rather large banner that reads:

Vaccination Saves Lives

Some readers, sensitive to the subtle nuances of revelatory prose, may detect a hint of biting sarcasm in my tone. You're right. My contempt for a woman who makes her living scaring parents out of vaccinating their children is hard to contain.

Let's get some perspective here. Sure, Woodford is a festival that celebrates alternative ideas. You want to use a magic crystal instead of regular deodorant? Knock yourself out! But Dorey's alternative views are not benign. They endanger the lives of our most vulnerable citizens; infants, children, the elderly and people with medical conditions which compromise their immunity to disease. What's more Ms Dorey's dangerous doctrine is demonstrably false.

Increasingly, we live in a culture of fear and distrust. Don't trust the government; don't trust 'Big Pharma'; don't trust 'so-called' experts; don't trust the media – they're all out to get you. Ms Dorey exploits those fears to drive home the message emblazoned on the t-shirts she sells from her on-line store: Love them, protect them, never inject them.


So, why should parents trust Meryl Dorey over qualified health care professionals and specialists? Is her advice on vaccination really more reliable than theirs? Certainly, she thinks so. According to Dorey:

… any parent who's read a book and a few articles about vaccination will know more about the subject than the average paediatrician. And not only will they know more than a paediatrician, they will know more than most immunologists…

I imagine noted Australian immunologist, Professor Ian Frazer, B.SC, M.B.B.S, M.D, is wondering why he bothered devoting his life to the study of medicine and immunology when, according to Ms Dorey, a weekend's reading could have brought him up to speed!

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About the Author

Chrys Stevenson is a writer and historian. A founding member of Atheist Nexus and the Sunshine Coast Atheists, Chrys is also a member of the Australian Skeptics. Chrys writes the atheist/sceptical blog Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear and contributed a chapter on the history of atheism in Australia to the recently released The Australian Book of Atheism edited by Warren Bonett.

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