Well, it’s that time of year again. Around New Year, every year, the Woodford Folk Festival swings into action. I’ll be frank; it’s not my cup of tea. The smell of pot makes my intestines rage against me, and drum circles elicit thoughts of Dante.
But, there is a lot of good music, great food, happy people, and a vibe of pleasure. It’s the vibe of the thing.
There is one sinister aspect of the festival which raises its recalcitrant head, though. The organisers keep inviting Meryl Dorey to pontificate about vaccines. Here is the blurb from Dorey’s appearance in 2009. I wish it was a joke. Unfortunately, this is how Woodford billed Dorey:
This is how the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission bills Dorey:
The Commission’s investigation established that the AVN website:
- provides information that is solely anti-vaccination
- contains information that is incorrect and misleading
- quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous.
On this basis, the Commission recommended to the AVN that it should include a statement in a prominent position on its website to the following effect:
- The AVN’s purpose is to provide information against vaccination, in order to balance what it believes is the substantial amount of pro-vaccination information available elsewhere.
- The information provided by the AVN should not be read as medical advice.
- The decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider.
The Commission recognises that it is important for there to be debate on the issue of vaccination. However, the AVN provides information that is inaccurate and misleading.
The AVN’s failure to include a notice on its website of the nature recommended by the Commission may result in members of the public making improperly informed decisions about whether or not to vaccinate, and therefore poses a risk to public health and safety. [Commission's bold]
Dorey missed out on going to the festival last year. We thought they had seen sense. Short memories being what they are, Dorey has been invited back again this year. She is going to discuss vaccines and autism, the canard so thoroughly debunked only the most extreme anti-vaccination zealots still push it. Here is the Dorey blurb on the Woodford site:
It should be noted quickly, here, that the HCCC also found that Dorey’s collection of adverse events was found be anecdotal and unable to be substantiated (just like any evidence produced by Dorey):
The AVN states it has developed an adverse reactions database from information provided by the public through the website, with over 800 “serious adverse vaccine reactions” which it states were not reported to doctors.
The AVN provides supporting information about the criteria used to define an “adverse reaction”. This information is anecdotal only. As an organisation that is providing health education the AVN should make this clear in order not to mislead the reader.
Here is the agenda for the Dorey presentation:
The fallacy of the “autism epidemic” is covered nicely here by Dr Steve Novella. There just doesn’t seem to be one. You can bet your family crystals that Dorey will also be pushing a recent paper, shredded here by Orac. She has posted it several times, yet, just doesn’t get it.
So, what do we do about this intransigence from the organisers of the Woodford Folk Festival?
Here is the list of sponsors and supporters:
Here are some online contact addresses for these sponsors and supporters (others will be able to find better addresses, I’m sure):
Channel Ten Corporate did the right thing in Perth, recently. They pulled their sponsorship of the Conscious Living Expo when they were alerted to the fact that they were sponsoring an event which gave free rein to a “risk to public health and safety”, naming Meryl Dorey, pointedly.
If only all corporate and governmental entities would take the same ethical stance.