Sunshine Coast businessperson Cyndi O’Meara – who owns the business called Changing Habits – has been expanding her reach since featuring in this blog, in 2013, for her anti-vaccination activism and wellness evangelism; her Facebook fans alone have increased in number from around 22,000 to over 100,000 in under three years.
There can be no doubt that O’Meara is an anti-vaccination activist. She comes from a family steeped in anti-vaccine, chiropractic vitalism. Her late sister, Lisa Lovett, was a chiropractor who wrote an anti-vaccination book which is still available on O’Meara’s website. Here is a snippet of Lovett’s book to give you an idea of its claims:
Lovett also left a large bequest to the anti-vaccination organisation, the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network. From Meryl Dorey’s 2009 newsletter:
O’Meara has removed various anti-vaccination items from her fora, in what we can only understand to be public relations moves. An episode of the Up For a Chat podcast which featured in my 2013 post has been removed from the website. As a reminder, these are some of the claims made by O’Meara and her anti-vaccine colleagues in that now deleted episode number 23:
But, back to the podcast, which also links to the AVN and the anti-vaccine NVIC. I admit I only listened to the first half-hour. I couldn’t take any more damage. Among the points made by O’Meara were:
- people are mean for questioning her about anti-vaccination misinformation
- some people do still die of Measles – so what
- the plague was sent for a purpose, to weed out the weak – soz lol
- it’s okay for some to die because of the survival of the fittest – soz lol
- it’s a dog-eat-dog world – soz lol
- SIDS, asthma, ADHD are all on the rise because of vaccines – can’t be a coincidence
- have you seen how many people are losing their hair now – can’t be a coincidence
- one of the co-hosts refused Gardasil for her daughter, due to information provided by O’Meara – come on Queenslanders, let the Qld HQCC know about this unregistered health practitioner
- one of O’Meara’s pregnant friends refused immunisation for her baby due to information provided by O’Meara. O’Meara sent the friend to Viera Scheibner, and the friend acted on that information – again, come on Queenslanders, let the Qld HQCC know about this unregistered health practitioner
O’Meara says she is pro-choice. She is all about educating. She went to university. She reads lots of books. She reads lots of articles. She sent someone to Viera Scheibner. She cites the AVN and the NVIC. Her information dissuaded associates from immunising their children. She is okay with that.
Gone from O’Meara’s website FAQs is this section on childhood immunisation. This was still available in July 2015, so it has been deleted since then:
I suggest you go to the following websites and get on their newsletters or subscribe to their magazines.
The Australian one is www.avn.org.au (Australian Vaccination Network), they have a fabulous magazine, which is full of info on naturally bringing up your children, natural birth etc.
The USA one is www.NVIC.com (National Vaccination Information Centre). This was started by a Mum, who’s 2 year old was vaccinated had a severe reaction and is now Autistic and brain damaged. She has many articles that link Autism to Vaccination as well as many other interested topics. If you can get a copy of one of her talks they are most interesting.
Not deleted from O’Meara’s website is this 2009 article written by the AVN, in which Wakefield is cited, as well as an article claiming that thimerosal in vaccines (which is not even present in Australian vaccines) will result in brain damage:
According to Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Executive Director of Thoughtful House and a co-investigator of the project, “What is particularly concerning is that in spite of the recommendation to remove Thiomersal from vaccines a decade ago, millions of people, many of them children and pregnant mothers, are about to get mercury in their shots. Thiomersal is still routinely used in Hepatitis B and numerous other vaccines world-wide.” The implications for Australia’s new national campaign which is targeting pregnant women as its first recipients are frightening.
The Australian Vaccination Network, a national vaccine safety and health lobby group, urges the Federal government and Minister Roxon to err on the side of caution when it comes to administering untested vaccines containing mercury to those who are the most vulnerable.
This 2009 anti-Gardasil article is also still published on O’Meara’s website:
And still published on O’Meara’s website is this 2015 article which claims that vaccines cause autism:
As stated above, O’Meara has antivax pedigree. In August 2014 O’Meara was championed on the AVN Facebook page by Meryl Dorey; and O’Meara let fly with her antivax fear-mongering in a comment below the post:
In September 2015, O’Meara was publicly championing the AVN on their other Facebook page:
O’Meara also made a submission (Number 83) to the No Jab No Pay Senate Inquiry. She later had her name redacted from the updated public version. This is the version which was published, initially:
O’Meara is a member of the rabid antivax group, Anti-Vaccination Australia. In December 2015 she joined in with Erwin Alber to denigrate one of her own friends who is an emergency doctor:
Also in December 2015, in AVA, O’Meara joined in with other conspiracy theorists to claim that Australia is a “testing ground” for new vaccines, before they are brought onto the worldwide market:
Only last month – on April 4 2016, in AVA – O’Meara promoted US anti-vaccination ideologue Anne Dachel, citing a quote from Dachel which defends the demonstrable crook, Andrew Wakefield:
Over on O’Meara’s profile it doesn’t get any better – if, by “doesn’t get any better” we mean, “descends into a callousness beyond what is acceptable for any health service provider”.
On November 30 2015, O’Meara shared this anti-vaccine meme which uses the image of baby Riley Hughes – against the wishes of Riley’s mum and dad – in which the real, documented death of Riley, from whooping cough, is fraudulently compared to the death of another baby, from SIDS, with the false claim being made that vaccines cause SIDS:
On December 10 2015, O’Meara promoted this quote from Barbara Loe Fisher, the grand dame of US anti-vaccinationism:
On January 30 2016, O’Meara promoted the CDC whistleblower manufactroversy as though it is a real thing:
On February 1 2016, O’Meara shared this excruciatingly embarrassing post from the deranged, anti-Semitic, homophobic conspiracy website, The Crazz Files. This image really speaks for itself:
On O’Meara’s Changing Habits Facebook page, things are marginally better. Business is business, after all. In between the reams of recipes, and the sale of Changing Habits chopping boards and Changing Habits cooler bags, O’Meara still likes to endanger public health.
On May 3 2016, O’Meara promoted the consumption of raw milk:
But, that wasn’t the first time O’Meara promoted the consumption of raw milk; she did it on December 29 2015:
And this potentially deadly nutritional advice brings us – finally – to today’s subject.
From Facebook, O’Meara tells us that a Changing Habits online nutrition course is approved by the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (and, therefore, the Chiropractic Board of Australia) with an allocation of 25 FLA hours:
That’s correct: O’Meara promotes an online nutrition course for which she claims the following, on various fora. On her website it is also claimed:
This program has been assessed by Chiropractor’s Association of Australia (National) Ltd, a body recognized by the Chiropractic Board of Australia, and allocated 25 Formal Learning Activity Hours
In her newsletter, the link to the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia and its formal learning hours allocation is repeated:
We have achieved so much in a short amount of time, including international accreditation, as well as approval through the Chiropractic Association of Australia (CAA) as a formal learning activity.
But, even more startling, is the “international accreditation”, cited by O’Meara. On her website’s FAQs, O’Meara makes this revelation [my bold]:
The Online Nutrition Course is accredited through the International Accreditation and Recognition Council (IARC). IARC accreditation means that the course has been specifically assessed against the IARC quality criteria in the areas of course delivery, assessment, content and administration. In general terms, accreditation gives students satisfaction that a framework for excellence in education exists.
However, the Changing Habits Online Nutrition Course is not an Australian VET accredited course. At this stage Changing Habits Education has decided against accrediting the course.
You read that correctly: O’Meara’s online nutrition course, for which the Chiropractic Board of Australia allocates 25 FLA hours, via the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia, is not an Australian VET accredited course.
O’Meara’s course has accreditation from IARC, which is a non-government education management association. That’s it:
Who is the International Accreditation and Recognition Council?
Founded in 1999, the International Accreditation and Recognition Council (IARC) is a not-for-profit education management association run by an elected committee. IARC provides opportunities for quality focussed like-minded institutions and educators to network and collaborate, functioning to outline benchmarks for excellence in education.
The council’s primary purpose is to provide a simple recognition and accreditation system for distinguishing quality, post secondary education. This includes, but is not limited to, vocational, distance, adult and continuing education in the international education industry. As IARC is a global organisation, we operate independently from government.
And how much is this course for your bog-standard punter? Oh boy:
Once again the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia brings the chiropractic profession, and its regulator, into disrepute. Once again we find that the CAA can’t cut that antivax cord with which it was born.
We’ll keep you updated with the next round of stern actions taken by the Chiropractic Board of Australia.
Of all the comments quoted from O’Meara, the one that stands out is her use of the words ‘our beliefs’ because it is like an admission that these are fundamentally ‘faith’-based rather than rational views. Confused, unintelligent or over-anxious mothers (and it seems to be almost entirely mothers who are deciding whether to vaccinate) are being panicked into an anti-vaccination stance by the fear of actively doing something that they think may harm their children as opposed to the apparently safer option of passivity ie non-vaccination. Maybe more independent voices (doctors, professionals) need to be recruited to counter the hysteria since anti-vaxxers are conspiracy theorists, suspicious of ‘evil’ Big Pharma and government alike.
If you really want to see delusion in action – read this post by O’Meara about her sister… it’s rather high in cognitive dissonance…
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“She came from a long line of chiropractors who, like so many of those in the chiropractic profession, believe that the power that made the body can deal the body.”
She made a bequest.
I’m not sure I follow the logic here.
*heal the body…