Practising Queensland Health midwife refers patients to the anti-vaccination network

The nursing and midwifery ranks are the last places the public would expect to find an anti-vaccinationist spreading the grubby word. But, we know this is not the case.

Previously I have written about two anti-vaccine nurses, one of whom is a midwife. Registered nurse Kerry Baker was disciplined for her online activities, using her qualifications as a basis to spread, well, lies about immunisation. Joanne Howard is a midwife in Victoria who is also a strong supporter of the callous anti-vaccination pressure group, the Australian Vaccination Network. It isn’t uncommon. In my earlier post I noted:

Of note, in the membership survey recently conducted by the anti-vaccination pressure group, the Australian Vaccination Network, it was found that 9% of the 445 respondents were nurses. I’m serious. Find another job, people.

When we add that to the fact that the Australian College of Midwives were busted deferring to the AVN, in one of their primary textbooks, then, we certainly have a problem. From Jane Hansen, in the Sunday Telegraph:

A CORE nursing textbook used in NSW universities directs midwifery students to the controversial anti-vaccination website, the AVN, as a legitimate source of information.

Chapter 33 of the book Midwifery: Preparation For Practice, deals with the midwife’s role when parents are discussing vaccination.

Students are then directed to the AVN as a “non-government” source of alternative information.

“One non-governmental source is the Australian Vaccination Network (, which provides advice for New Zealand and Australia,” the text says.

So it comes as no surprise, however infuriating, to find that yet another registered nurse/midwife has commented on the Facebook page of the AVN, on a despicable post in which Meryl Dorey advises parents against the Hepatitis B vaccine. Dorey states: “Hep B at birth makes no sense at all. Only risks – no benefits. MD”. Where’s the HCCC up to on that one?

RN/Midwife Kelley Norton added this comment, inferring that the Hepatitis B vaccine is harmful and unnecessary; that this is somehow covered up by the government; adding that she refers patients to seek out the AVN in the first instance:

“I work in a Qld a public hospital & am obliged to offer it to parents for their babies. MOST people say they’ll have whatever is recommended for their baby- thinking that our government wouldn’t recommend something harmful or unnecessary! Little do they realise!!! I always suggest they look at AVN first but most just choose to have their baby vaccinated anyway coz “doesn’t everybody”? Scary!!”

The comment has since been deleted. Too little; too late:

Find another job. Just go.

Find another job. Just go.

If you consider Norton’s behaviour to be unethical, and contrary to the conduct expected from someone who works in one of our hospitals; using best evidence-based practise; who is trusted to work in close proximity to brand new babies, and their brand new parents; then, you can make a complaint to AHPRA.

You can take your pick from the Code of Conduct. This behaviour needs to cease.

Nurse Code of Conduct

About reasonable hank

I'm reasonable, mostly.
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0 Responses to Practising Queensland Health midwife refers patients to the anti-vaccination network

  1. mochuck says:

    Don’t these people ever think about the cost of these programs? Why would the “government” be offering something that is harmful and unnecessary when it costs so much? And why do these policies never change no matter who is in power? The Hep B vaccine at birth was introduced in 2000 as part of the immunisation schedule. So that means that John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and now Tony Abbott are all in on it.

    • dingo199 says:

      How misguided you are, sheeple person! Stop looking at this logically – are you unaware of the vast conspiracy that exists wherebye our reptilian overlords have decreed that all infants be injected with poisonous chemicals and rabid monkey brain tissues in order to engineer widespread disease in the population? The cost is immaterial – the ends justify the means! When all our children sicken and die, then their goal for a new World Order can reach fruition.

      • wzrd1 says:

        Aw, come on, Dingo199, you could have done better.
        You also forgot to tie in the Illuminati, Area 51 (directly), Nigerian investments and cheap generic Viagra to make the story even better.

        Do it right, many a monitor will have coffee or tea sprayed onto it.
        (One mailing list on information security ended up having a thread where we built stories based upon spam caught in our spam filters.)

  2. wzrd1 says:

    Eventually, these nurses continue such self-destruction that their careers end.
    Case in point, several registered nurses in the US, who were also antivaxers lost their positions and now find it impossible to find employment.
    The reason? They refused to be vaccinated, which is a requirement for their place of employment, a major hospital.
    So, they were terminated for not meeting the requirements of the institution, after repeatedly being asked to be vaccinated.
    Worse, they called press conferences, displaying to the entire nation their unprofessional behavior and their dismissal of the risks to patients in their care from infectious, vaccine preventable disease.
    They sought their day in court. It was a very short day.
    As I recall, several lost their nursing license for some extremely unprofessional behavior, as it did reflect quite badly upon the profession and displayed an abject disregard to any form of ethics.

    There are times that the most unkind thing one can do to a fool is to let them speak their mind without interruption.
    They make the case against themselves quite well and incredibly quickly.

  3. Amy says:

    Infuriating. All those years of Uni were clearly wasted on this one. The irresponsible and dangerous comments made by this “nurse” should be grounds for dismissal if she is in fact doing as she claims (and not just blowing her own trumpet for her anti-vax friends)

  4. Sue says:

    For other readers, it’s worth going through the rationale for giving the Hepatitis B vaccine from birth. It’s a very efficient public health measure which, over time, will reduce the burden of one major cause of chronic liver disease in Australia. People who scoff because ”my baby is not sexually active and not a drug user” have not understood the logic of preventative medicine at a population level.

    The most common setting for chronic liver disease from Hep B is in adults who acquired the infection as babies or children, often asymptomatically. Usually this if from ”vertical transmission” – it from the mother during birth. In Australia, this occurs most commonly in migrants from areas of high endemic viral Hepatitis, such as SE Asia. This has nothing to do with being sexually promiscuous or being an IV drug addict.

    When Hep B vaccination first began in Australia, higher-risk groups were targeted – such as health care workers and migrants from endemic areas. Mothers began to be routinely screened before or during pregnancy. This is a good system, but not foolproof, because the screened woman can be tested during a ”window period” between infection and sero-conversion, so may show as a false negative – putting the baby at risk of infection.

    The elimination of a disease from society requires a very high level of population immunity. This is the reason the vaccination began to be offered to ALL newborns – not just to reduce vertical transmission during the window period, but also to capture the majority of the population systematically.

    There is already evidence of benefit in higher-prevalence areas – such as this paper from Taiwan:
    in the NEJM 1997: ”Universal Hepatitis B Vaccination in Taiwan and the Incidence of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Children”

    Quoting from the paper:
    ”The average annual incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in children 6 to 14 years of age declined from 0.70 per 100,000 children between 1981 and 1986 to 0.57 between 1986 and 1990, and to 0.36 between 1990 and 1994 (P<0.01). The corresponding rates of mortality from hepatocellular carcinoma also decreased. The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in children 6 to 9 years of age declined from 0.52 for those born between 1974 and 1984 to 0.13 for those born between 1984 and 1986 (P<0.001).''

    And more recently a Chinese paper in Vaccine 2009 ''Epidemiological serosurvey of Hepatitis B in China—Declining HBV prevalence due to Hepatitis B vaccination''

    So, is there good evidence of harm? If there were, it should be easy to find, with more of a decade of routine newborn vaccination over more than a decade and millions of babies.

    The safety issue has been extensively reviewed in MMWR 2006, accessible here:
    A Comprehensive Immunization Strategy to Eliminate Transmission of Hepatitis B Virus Infection in the United States.

    Recombinant vaccines, which have been in use for decades.

    Here are two more good references:

    These both give many references that confirm both safety and efficacy.

    Any health care professional who want to direct patients to further reading could advise reliable sources like this – not refer them to anti-vaccination websites.

    • Darwy says:

      Exactly, Sue.

      The introduction of the universal Hep B vaccine in the US reduced the incidence of neonatal and adolescent Hep B incidence by 74%.

      AV’ers can’t see the forest for the trees. Hep B screening has been mandatory for over a decade, yet there was still a significant amount of children contracting Hep B during their infancy/adolescence.

      Were they all having sex and sharing dirty needles? Is that what the folks at AVN seem to think?

      Idiots, the lot of them.

  5. Sue says:

    The poster in question might also want to review her registration authority’s advice on the use of social media:
    Social Media Information Sheet – Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

    • Nilbeliever says:

      Sue, the link in your comment doesn’t appear to work, and I can only download that doc as a URL-free pdf via a fresh search for it.

      The best way to get there is probably via

      … and click on the second result on the list (“Social Media Information Sheet – Nursing and Midwifery Board”, tagged “pdf”). It should then download to pdf.

    • Nilbeliever says:

      This part sort of jumps out at the casual reader:

      “3. Before posting a comment or uploading information, nurses and midwives need to strongly consider if they really want that information in the public domain and whether the information is respectful, appropriate or could it be considered offensive.”

      Deleting the post once attention was drawn to it suggests that not enough consideration was given to whether “they really want that information in the public domain” prior to posting…

  6. Concerned parent says:


    I know one nurse who refuses to have the flu vaccine despite being sent letters by the major public hospital that she works for telling her that she is putting her patients at risks and must get vaccinated. I’m not sure why they don’t sack her. Her logic is that SHE is healthy and very fit. Yes she is – so what.

    I know that there are courses out their on vaccination for midwives. This is something that should be compulsory for all midwives. I have met a few who are anit-vax, anti-vit k etc.

    I don’t understand how anyone with any scientific training could be anti-vaccination. It would be interesting to get a breakdown on the backgrounds of the anti-vax nurses/midwives. Are they younger degree trained or older with hands on training.

    • wzrd1 says:

      “I know one nurse who refuses to have the flu vaccine despite being sent letters by the major public hospital that she works for telling her that she is putting her patients at risks and must get vaccinated. I’m not sure why they don’t sack her. Her logic is that SHE is healthy and very fit. Yes she is – so what.”

      I know of eight nurses at a US hospital who tried the same nonsense.
      They were terminated for cause.
      Worse for them, they then held a press conference and tried litigation.
      So, now, nobody will hire them and two lost their licenses for statements and bizarre behavior that suggested that they cannot be trusted with the health of another under their care.

  7. Doug says:

    Examining the “Likes” on Kelly Norton’s FB page, it’s clear she is also an anti-GMO nutter & an anti-fluoridationist. The full canvas jacket.

    • wzrd1 says:

      Well, Doug. I’m anti-GMO corn intended for cattle feed making it into the human food chain. 😉
      I actually was on the receiving end of that once, the corn was diverted into the human produce market. It was so tough that, no matter how much one cooked it, it was inedible.
      There was a big stink, a couple of men ended up in prison.
      Public health risk: 0. Public annoyance at wasting time, effort and money on inedible food that should never have made it into the human food chain: Beyond measure.

      Me? Was only irritated, as I had guests and we were all looking forward to enjoying that corn.

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