I’ve been holding off on doing this short post as I was giving the gutter-snarks of the anti-vaccination pressure group, the Australian Vaccination Network, the benefit of the doubt. I knew I was wrong to do so. And, yes, I was wrong.
On May 26 I wrote this post: “I never have and never will harass or hurt a grieving parent” – Meryl Dorey. The post details the repugnant behaviour of Meryl Dorey and her horrid little band of followers, and the vilification they practice against families who have lost a child to vaccine preventable disease.
The post contained information which I had been sitting on for over two and a half years, relating to the harassment of a father who had lost his child to Chicken Pox. This father had taken to the media to warn other parents about the consequences of not immunising, whether by design or by the misfortune of just not knowing a vaccine was available. From my post:
After the Sunrise interview Chris Kokegei received a phone call from his Sunrise contact. They had received a phone call from a woman who claimed that she was also the parent of an injured child, and that she would very much like to talk to Chris. Chris gave the okay for Sunrise to pass on his mobile phone number to the mystery caller, not expecting anything untoward.
The woman rang. She had an American accent and she introduced herself (Chris cannot precisely recall the name given), saying that she was from the Australian Vaccination Network. He had no idea who she was, or what the AVN was about. The woman immediately conveyed her concerns to Chris that he was advocating something which was dangerous and ineffective (the Varicella vaccine), and questioned him as to whether he should be doing this. His advocacy was going to harm more children, he was told. When Chris told her she does not have the evidence to back up her claims, the woman told him to go to the AVN website to find all of the information. The woman also told Chris that his son must have been weak, to have succumbed to such a harmless disease. These things are a matter of survival of the fittest, he was told.
Chris was in shock. He stated that he didn’t want to hear any more of her stories, and not to contact him again, and he hung up. He was very upset, confused, and agitated that someone would call him with this sort of callous misinformation, considering he had just appeared on television appealing to parents to ensure they protected their children so that they, too, would not have to suffer the tragedy his family had suffered. He conveyed, very clearly, to the woman that he had no interest in speaking to her again.
The woman rang again, two days later. Chris hung up the phone a second time.
Shocking stuff. Remember, in 2010 an official AVN Facebook admin stated of this child’s death, “It’s not April Fools today, it’s spring!” The callousness of these people is set in concrete.
I will add here that the above account has not changed one bit in the time that I have known about it.
I now want to point out a comment from an anonymous coward which has now remained on the AVN Facebook page for eleven days. The comment has five ‘likes’, including one from the detritus which comments below it:
Who on earth would tell that Man that his child was weak and it was nature’s way from this group. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! liar! Where’s the proof!
All one needs to do is read my earlier post to see that the anti-vaccination movement is more than capable of making this phone call, and they have acted in this way before. It is all documented. To call this father a “liar” confirms what sort of people we are dealing with.
Here is another extract from my earlier post. I think it is highly appropriate that these individuals be judged on their actions:
As most of you would already be aware, the McCaffery Family has been the target of vilification from the Australian Vaccination Network, and its supporters, ever since their baby Dana died from Pertussis (whooping cough), in March 2009. It started with Meryl Dorey, the then President of the anti-vaccination organisation, asserting that Dana did not die from Pertussis. The word “supposedly” has never had a more sinister connotation. The vilification and abuse continued, with AVN admins, members, go-to academics, and supporters all chiming in to ensure the grief was compounded. On February 14 2010, Dorey posted lies about the McCafferys and the circumstances surrounding Dana’s death. The post even appeared on the execrable whale.to site, known for its Holocaust denialism, among other raging conspiracies.
On the day before Dana’s funeral, in March 2009, Meryl Dorey rang the Director of Public Health at the then North Coast Area Health Service, contending that Dana did not die from Pertussis. She even had the temerity to claim that the Director had lied to the McCafferys about the content of that phone conversation, and that it was in fact the Director who was the real person harassing the McCafferys.
Stop the hate. Stop the AVN.