Monday, March 25, 2013

Deadline for the Australian Vaccine Network (AVN)

The inappropriately named "Australian Vaccine Network" or AVN for short was ordered by the NSW Fair Trading Commission to change its name to reflect its staunch anti-vaccine position rather than continue to mislead parents by 21 March 2013.
The future of the Australian Vaccination Network is in doubt, following the government rejection of five suggested new names for the group because they don't reflect its anti-vaccination stance.

The AVN has until March 21 to change its name or it faces deregistration, after NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts issued a formal order that its name misleads the public.

The organisation does not present a balanced case for vaccination and has no medical evidence to back its anti-vaccination stance, he says.
The current AVN president, Greg Beattie proffered equally misleading name change suggestions that were rejected.
AVN president Greg Beattie told News Limited it was vital the words Australia and Vaccination remained in the group's name because they defined what the organisation was about.

He said the group had sent a letter to the Fair Trading Department to ask whether they would accept one of five suggested name changes.
These include Australian Vaccination Information Network and Australian Vaccination Choice.

"We can't just change our name under the Association's Incorporation Act, we must go through a process of consulting with our members and we need a 75 per cent majority vote," Mr Beattie said.
Mr. Beattie is able to keep "Australia" and "Vaccination" in their name and in fact can just add an "A" to the acronym to make it reflect what it really is, "Australian Anti-Vaccination Network".  This would be beneficial to them as typing in "AVN" will fetch you a porn site.

The AVN (the anti-vaxx one) has filed an appeal with the Administrative Decisions Tribunal and granted a stay until a hearing which has been set in June.
The AVN is fighting a December ruling by Fair Trading that it must change its name, and the warning was put in place on the condition that the group will not have to change its name until its challenge is heard in June.
However a condition has been set that the AVN must place a prominent warning on their website, blog and Facebook page by 26 March 2013 that directs consumers to the current order and misleading name.
Tribunal president, Judge O'Connor, responded to a bid by the AVN to stay proceedings on Friday by placing a number of conditions on the organisation.
A prominent consumer warning must be published on its websites and Facebook page by March 26.

It will state: "NSW Fair Trading has directed the AVN to change its name because it regards the name to be misleading.

"The AVN is challenging this direction and the challenge is currently before the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal."
We'll see what the AVN will do and keep you posted.

Update: Since it is 26 March 2013 in New South Wales, Australia, the AVN website and Facebook pages have been updated with the requisite warning.  Let's hope it serves to caution unsuspecting parents looking for factual vaccine information and irritate the AVN on a daily basis.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Don't panic at CDC's new autism numbers

The CDC has released the new autism numbers (Reuters, full report pdf) and the new prevalence is 1 in 50, or as Seth Mnookin tweeted earlier "1 child per school bus". My first thought, just like Matt Carey's over at LBRB, was that the removal of thimerosal seems not to have stopped the "autism epidemic". This seems to have escaped Dr "vested interest" Bob who is asking why nobody (but him, of course) is alarmed (especially not the CDC).

Meanwhile, the fabulous Emily Willingham, PhD explains the reasons behind the apparent increase. Read her post. Understand. Don't panic. As Emily says:
...if you look at the numbers and the report itself, you’ll see that overall, the numbers of people born with autism aren’t necessarily increasing dramatically. It’s just that we’re getting better and better at counting them. The next step is getting better at accepting autistic people, seeing their potential, and ensuring the supports and resources they need to fulfill that potential.
^ That.

Monday, March 18, 2013

COVRAC Guest blog: Influenza vaccination during pregnancy

We are very grateful to COVRAC, the author of today's guest post, who can be found over at his Facebook page "Chillin' Out, Vaxin', Relaxin' All Cool.
Seasonal influenza disease is dangerous to both a pregnant mother and the fetus. This is generally not in dispute, even by the most staunch antivaxers. But get about three Facebook comments into a discussion over flu shots for pregnant women (perhaps one that goes something like this, and invariably your self-proclaimed educated opponent with tell you in no uncertain terms that influenza vaccine has never been studied in pregnancy.
Well, then. Let's go over the numerous studies of influenza vaccines in pregnant women that have, it is claimed, never been done.

These studies have allegedly never been done on seasonal influenza vaccine in pregnant women. If they had been done, they would clearly demonstrate it to be safe.

These were apparently never done on the H1N1 vaccine. It would also have been clearly demonstrated to be safe (if they had been done).

This study which obviously was never done showed far less premature births in mothers vaccinated during pregnancy.;jsessionid=8B7B450C63F7196BE157DB7629B57432.ambra02

This other totally undone study looked specifically at miscarriages in women vaccinated in the first trimester, and did not find an increased risk.

This one, which might look like a study showing decreased fetal deaths in the H1N1-vaccinated, is really just a bunch of fancy words meaning "404 page not found."

This study in the Canadia Medical Association Journal found that pregnancies during influenza season resulted in higher birth weight and less premature birth if the mother was vaccinated against influenza. But you can sooo tell it is CG and not real.

These figments of your imagination show how influenza vaccination of pregnant mothers protects newborns from influenza.

And finally, this indigestion-induced hallucination here from the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology is a list of studies on the safety of influenza vaccine dating back to 1964. As Scrooge would say, "You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato."

Back to reality: These studies have, in fact, been done. An antivaxer will fall back to quoting a vaccine package insert, but it's evident that such a document does not reflect the entirety of the world's research on a given vaccine. Influenza vaccination in pregnancy has been studied in abundance. A flu shot is safe during pregnancy (without a known medical contraindication), does not cause miscarriage, and protects the health of pregnant women and their babies.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sherri Tenpenny is not a scientific researcher and she does not know how to set up a study

 A couple of days ago, this meme started making the rounds through the internet:

Strange - I have a friend who had the same experience with measles and pertussis (I think it was even third grade that he missed), but he is pro-vaccine as a result. Tenpenny on the other hand is convinced that if a study looked at the "tens of thousands" of unvaccinated children and compared, say, days missed from school, it would find that unvaccinated children miss less school, and that would be a sign that "the unvaccinated kis are healthier" (1:49). Then again, she did miss third grade, because she "was sick, and it was good" (1:55). Or maybe she just is "not a scientific researcher" and does "not know how to set all these things up" (2:01). Listen for yourself: