Reasons to get school disease exclusion information from your school, not anti-vaccinationists

This post is a reproduction from an older post of mine at the Skeptic Bros site (remember those awesome Placebo Bands which helped raise awareness of the fraud which was the Power Balance magic rubber bangles? Yep. Those awesome guys).

The reason I have copied my old post to my own blog, here, is that the anonymous, courageous Australian Vaccination Network Facebook page administrators have simply refused to tell the truth about school exclusion policies, in the advent of an outbreak.

I’ll copy the old post, below; but here are the most recent claims from the AVN admin, B52:

“Illegal”…there’s that word again

B52 likes the word “illegal”. She/he also likes the word “criminal”. Someone should maybe explain it one day.

B52 also likes to pump the hubris in explaining how everyone else is wrong; but she/he is way, way right:

Maybe the “B” in B52 stands for “Bubbles”? Who knows.

You see, B52 has this link from the NHMRC (see, they will cite reputable sources when it suits them: they will just reject them if someone provides these reputable sources to them). Note the heading: “Recommended…” This word is also one which confuses the AVN and their followers. Recommendations are just that. Policies, such as those implemented by education departments, and public health authorities, are a different thing: they are policies to be enacted. They are not recommendations.

Good to see some good resources finally being promoted by the AVN

So, back to my old post. Here it is. It explains school exclusion policies, in the advent of an outbreak of infectious disease, and who needs to go home, and stay there until the outbreak is declared over (hint: they might not have had their immunisations). Enjoy…

Original post from February 2011:

Reasons to get school disease exclusion information from your school, not the AVN.

Well, it’s probably more like *reason*. Usually, when discussing information provided by the Australian Vaccination Network, the discussion boils down to one point: they are wrong.

There are so many reasons for the AVN being so adept at being wrong. Mostly it comes down to dishonesty. They like to lie. Not all the time, mind you. But, when their other major skill, incompetence, is shown to them (a lot) the AVN don’t tend to correct their mistakes. They reiterate their mistakes, knowing that they are wrong. A lot of the time it is simply a case of the unrestrained hubris of their sometimes President, Meryl Dorey, and the culture of arrogance and ignorance she has nurtured since the AVN was a little seed enveloped in a nugget of dung. Anyway, to the point…

Yesterday, Meryl Dorey posted this response to a commenter who was wondering about waivers in schools and registering as a Contentious Objector to vaccines:

Hang on a minute, I thought. We’ve seen this one before:

“This is just so that if there is an outbreak of either measles or whooping cough – the only 2 diseases for which there is an exclusion policy, you child can be excluded for 14 days after the last case”.

I remember Dorey attempting to pull this one at another time, so I got on my trawling goggles and found an email from December, from the NSW Department of Education:

“Good day Reasonable,

When enrolling a child in a government primary school, parents/caregivers will be asked to provide an Immunisation History Statement. A child without an Immunisation History Statement will not be prevented from enrolling. Under the NSW Public Health Act 1991, however, children without proof of immunisation may be asked by public health officials to stay at home during an outbreak of any vaccine preventable disease. Information to support schools in managing outbreaks of infectious diseases can be found on the department’s website at I trust this information is of assistance. Yours sincerely”

Hmm. Helpful, accurate information, straight from the source. “children without proof of immunisation may be asked by public health officials to stay at home during an outbreak of any vaccine preventable disease”. So, Dorey is demonstrably wrong.

“BUT!” I hear you cry. Dorey was talking about Victoria, not NSW, right? Well, yes, but she is still wrong. Today I received a wonderful and prompt reply from the Victorian Department of Education:

“Hi Reasonable,

Our response is similar to the one you received from NSW in that the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development works in conjunction with, and is advised by the Victorian Department of Health on this issue.”

This link was provided by the wonderful staff member, and it states:

“The person in charge of a primary school or children’s services centre, when directed to do so by the Secretary, must ensure that a child enrolled at the primary school or children’s services centre who is not immunised against a vaccine preventable disease (VPD) specified by the Secretary in that direction, does not attend the school or centre until the Secretary directs that such attendance can be resumed. (Note VPDs are marked in the table with an asterisk (*).”

The Table lists Measles, Pertussis, Meningococcal infection, Mumps and Poliomyelitis as classified VPDs, but there are others on the table that should be included. I will gladly suggest this to the Department in my reply of thanks.

So, the upshot is, Dorey has been wrong about this before. She still repeats this claim in an effort to downplay the significance of lost school time and possible adverse health due to being unvaccinated during an outbreak. If you want accurate information about school exclusion policies during an outbreak of vaccine preventable disease, then, ask your school. Or, do what I did; ask the department. But, whatever you do: don’t ask a deceitful anti-vaccinationist.

As to Dorey’s other remark at the end of the screenshot, that “you have every right to ask for laboratory confirmation” of an outbreak? Well, sure. You have every right to ask. Just don’t be surprised if the Principal laughs in your face and tells you that other people’s pathology tests are none of your mouthbreathing business.

What is it with Meryl Dorey, the unqualified, untrained cult ideologue who thinks that she has a right to other people’s private health information? Will she never learn?

That’s the end of the original post from February 2011.

So, what has changed since the time of the original? Nothing. Not a thing. This is the hallmark of pseudoscience: the beliefs of these people do not change in the face of any evidence. Their beliefs only grow stronger and their actions more pernicious. The AVN is an anti-skeptic. They are anti-evidence. They are denialists of the most extreme kind.

I’ll leave you with a comment from the courageous, anonymous B52, from the AVN Facebook thread which was the reason for the republication of my old blog post.

Indeed. Why be anyone’s whipping boy, when you can flog yourself into ridicule, whilst attacking others for their ineptitude, anonymously and courageously? We wouldn’t want anyone holding B52 responsible for his/her own claims, right?

Oh, to have the courage of one’s convictions…

About reasonable hank

I'm reasonable, mostly.
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0 Responses to Reasons to get school disease exclusion information from your school, not anti-vaccinationists

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