Category Archives: Informed consent

Petition against HPV vaccines – please consider signing this petition!

hThe Institute for the Protection of Natural Health (Institut pour la Protection de la Santé Naturelle), based in Brussels, in conjunction with French oncologist and surgeon Professor Henri Joyeux, has launched a French petition against the HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix.

This petition has currently raised 359,840 signatures. Originally, the goal was to reach 500,000 signatures then submit the petition to government authorities in France.  However, interest in this petition has expanded to other countries where medical professionals, scientists and medical consumers are also seriously questioning universal HPV vaccination programs.

Due to so many requests from people outside France who wish to sign the petition, Professor Joyeux and the Institute for the Protection of Natural Health have agreed to open their petition to every country in the world.

If you are concerned that HPV vaccines are of questionable value, please access and sign the petition via this link:  http://petition.ipsn.eu/papillomavirus/?utm_source=VIDEO&utm_medium=Newsletter-gratuite&utm_campaign=201409-29-HPV_VdT

The petition is in French, but an English translation is available, see below.

You need only fill in four boxes: Your first name, last name, postal code (or country if you do not live in France) and your email address.

More information is available on the SaneVax website, including details of concerns raised by Professor Joyeux:  http://sanevax.org/french-petition-hpv-vaccines/

Also refer to my previous post HPV vaccine promotion and government interference for more background on the questionable implementation of HPV vaccination in Australia

Please consider signing the French petition against HPV vaccines, we need to challenge questionable HPV vaccination on an international basis.

_____________________________________________

English translation of the French petition against HPV vaccines: 

Sign the petition by clicking on this link

Institut Pour La Protection de la Santé Naturelle

The right to alternative treatment

NO to widespread vaccination of children against HPV

Petition

For the attention of The President of the French Republic, The French Minister of Health and Social Affairs, and the French Minister of National Education 

Mr. President, Mme Health and Social Affairs Minister, Mme. National Education Minister,

On the 15th of September 2014, the French High Council for Public Health published a statement recommending that:

  • HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination should be introduced in French schools in an attempt to prevent cervical cancer and other sexually-transmitted diseases;
  • If necessary, the starting age for vaccination of both young girls and young boys would be lowered to 9.

This plan has aroused very deep concern in the French people and the medical profession.

There are a very large number of us who fear that our schools are being used as a front for a widespread HPV vaccination campaign targeting our children, without providing families transparent information on the effectiveness and risks of this vaccine and without allowing them to consider the pros and cons.

May we remind you that the analysis of pharmacovigilance data revealed 26,675 cases of serious adverse effects connected with these vaccines, including 113 cases of multiple sclerosis.

May we also remind you that the only method which has been proven to prevent cervical cancer is the Pap smear.  If precancerous lesions are found, they can then be treated.

The vaccine however does not confer 100% protection, far from it.  All medical sources concur on this point.  It is a very dangerous situation if vaccinated individuals go off thinking that they are fully protected.

We the undersigned therefore demand that the plan for widespread HPV vaccination in French schools be stopped:

  • Until reasonable vaccine effectiveness has been proven;
  • Until we are aware of and can control all the adverse effects of these vaccines;
  • Until we can be assured that such widespread vaccination will not cause a drop in Pap smear screening, the only proven method of preventing cervical cancer.

This is the only way to protect a large number of children from unnecessary accidents and considerable suffering.  You will also be making a step towards maintaining the trust of parents and keeping necessary peace in our schools.

Yours sincerely,

Number of Signatures

 

UPDATE: Interim response from NHMRC re vaccination policy and practice in Australia

Questions for NHMRCAs posted previously on Over-vaccination.net, I am forwarding letters to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) questioning the ethics of vaccination policy and practice in Australia.

As a public record, I am publishing my correspondence with the NHMRC on this webpage: Letters to NHMRC re vaccination and ethics

On 15 April 2014, I forwarded a letter to Professor Warwick Anderson, CEO of the NHMRC, suggesting the ethical spotlight needs to be shone on the way vaccination policy and practice is being implemented in Australia.  I provided examples of the lack of transparency and accountability in the vaccination bureaucracy, including the problem of potential conflicts of interest and lack of disclosure by people involved in vaccination policy.

Previously, I forwarded two letters (19 March 2014 and 12 April 2014) to Professor Ian Olver, Chair of the NHMRC Australian Health Ethics Committee, challenging the Australian Government’s requirement for revaccination of children with a second dose of live Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine, as children are likely to be immune after the first dose of effective live MMR vaccine, given at the appropriate age (i.e. after maternally derived antibodies have waned).

I have received an interim response from the NHMRC dated 20 May 2014

In regards to my queries re the MMR vaccine second dose the NHMRC advises:

AHEC discussed your correspondence at its recent meeting on 7 May 2014.  The issues you have raised in relation to the dose requirements for the MMR vaccination raise matters of both a scientific/technical nature as well as procedural matters relating to the current process.  Before providing you with a considered response, AHEC wishes to seek further information from the relevant government agencies responsible for Australia’s immunisation policy and its implementation.

In an email to Professor Anderson dated 16 April 2014, I again raised the problem of the lack of transparency about members of committees and groups who provide advice to the Australian Federal Government on vaccine products, also noting that the NHMRC Australian Health Ethics Committee webpage provides no information about committee members, not even their affiliations. 

In their letter dated 20 May 2014, the NHMRC responded:

In your email to Professor Anderson you raised that the declared interests of AHEC members are not publically available on the NHMRC website.  Thank you for drawing this to our attention.  The Office is in the process of rectifying this omission and you will be notified once these declarations are available…” 

As two months have now passed since this interim response from the NHMRC, I am following up on progress on these matters.

Boy given Gardasil HPV vaccine against mother’s wishes

An article in the Gold Coast Bulletin reports a 15 year old boy has been given the Gardasil HPV vaccine against his mother’s explicit wishes which were made clear on a consent form.[1]

According to the article, Ms Blakemore’s son “came home from school last Tuesday and said he had been given the vaccination after he was told to sign his own consent form”.[2]

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Ms Blakemore said: “My son doesn’t comprehend that sort of stuff, they don’t actually get the other side of the story so he’s not well informed enough to make those decisions when put on the spot.”  According to the article, “Ms Blakemore said 15-year-olds were too young to make decisions about their body”.  She said: “They can’t vote, they can’t drink and legally they can’t  have sex but yet they’re allowed to sign a form for vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease…If they don’t have consent forms from parents they should be sending a note home to say they weren’t vaccinated, not just go ‘here’s a form, we think you’re old enough to make these decisions’”.[3]

Ms Blakemore said: “From a parent’s point of view, giving us consent forms then going over our heads is just abominable and terrible.”[4]

When her son was vaccinated with the HPV vaccine, Ms Blakemore said: “He questioned the lady doing it as he was only supposed to get one vaccination, and she said ‘Your name’s on the list, so you’re getting the shot’.”  The boy’s mother said when her son came home he was “really upset…He asked if there is an injection that could get rid of it and I said ‘No’”.[5]  (It appears the boy was given another vaccine product at the same time, but this is not identified in the article.) 

According to The Australian Immunisation Handbook, for consent to vaccination to be legally valid, the following elements must be present:

  1. It must be given by a person with legal capacity, and of sufficient intellectual capacity to understand the implications of being vaccinated.
  2. It must be given voluntarily in the absence of undue pressure, coercion or manipulation.
  3. It must cover the specific procedure that is to be performed.
  4. It can only be given after the potential risks and benefits of the relevant vaccine, risks of not having it and any alternative options have been explained to the individual. 

Whether vaccination was legally valid in the case of Ms Blakemore and her son appears questionable, particularly as the Queensland Government’s information sheet on HPV vaccination states: “IMPORTANT! Consent of a parent/legal guardian is needed before any student can be vaccinated.”[7]

Ms Blakemore has complained to Queensland Health, the Gold Coast City Council and the school.[8]  It remains to be seen what steps will be taken to respond to this matter.

The Gold Coast Bulletin article also acknowledged Ms Blakemore “was concerned about lack of research into the vaccine and potential side effects”. [9]

I suggest Ms Blakemore has grounds for her concern as mass populations of children around the world are currently being used as guinea pigs for this experimental vaccine, the long-term effects of which are unknown.

Indeed all citizens should be concerned about the way in which the vaccine industry, i.e. the mutually beneficial alliance of vaccine manufacturers and the medical/scientific establishment, is encroaching upon people’s bodily autonomy in pressing an increasing number of lucrative vaccine products of dubious value.

For further background on the questionable implementation of HPV vaccination, see Over-vaccination.net’s webpage on HPV Vaccination and my letter to The Australian newspaper on this topic: Is universal HPV vaccination necessary?

___________________________________________

References:  (Accessible as at 23 May 2014.)

[1] Megan Weymes. Merrimac State High School student given Gardasil vaccination against mother’s wishes. Gold Coast Bulletin, 22 May 2014: http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/gold-coast/merrimac-state-high-school-student-given-gardasil-vaccination-against-mothers-wishes/story-fnj94idh-1226926116790

[2], [3], [4], [5] Ibid.

[6] 2.1.3 Valid consent. 2.1 Pre-vaccination. The Australian Immunisation Handbook. 10th Edition 2013: http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/handbook10-2-1

[7] Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. Year 8 students. Year 10 male students. Queensland Government. Immunise Australia Program – A joint Australian, State and Territory Government initative: https://publications.qld.gov.au/storage/f/2014-01-21T01%3A13%3A25.907Z/hpv-consent-form.pdf

[8] Megan Weymes. Merrimac State High School student given Gardasil vaccination against mother’s wishes. Gold Coast Bulletin, 22 May 2014: http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/gold-coast/merrimac-state-high-school-student-given-gardasil-vaccination-against-mothers-wishes/story-fnj94idh-1226926116790

[9] Ibid.

France: Aluminium adjuvants and HPV vaccines up for debate

A recent press release from SaneVax reports:

syringeThe use of aluminum adjuvants and HPV vaccines’ benefit versus risk profile will be under intense scrutiny and open scientific debate on May 22, 2014. 

Stakeholders from both sides of the vaccine debate will have an opportunity to present their case to members of the French Parliament, French Senate, health authorities, medical professionals and the public due to massive efforts on the part of E3M, a non-governmental organization of patients with MMF (macrophagic myofasciitis), and OSTA, a Parliamentary Office for Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Choice.

Obviously, the French government cares enough about the health and well-being of their citizens to listen to both sides of the vaccine debate – the very same ‘debate’ that government health officials in other countries claim doesn’t exist…

Read more on the SaneVax website: France: Aluminium adjuvants and HPV vaccines up for debate

The MMR second dose – an email to the President of the Australian Medical Association

Informed Consent 3Children continue to be vaccinated with two doses of the live Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine, without their parents being properly informed about their options by healthcare providers.

In this regard, I have forwarded an email to Dr Steve Hambleton, President of the Australian Medical Association, see below.

_____________________________________________________________

2 May 2014

Dr Hambleton

Please see attached two letters I have recently forwarded to the NHMRC Australian Health Ethics Committee challenging the Australian Government’s requirement for revaccination of children with a second dose of live Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine.  (Letters dated 12 April 2014 and 19 March 2014.)

My letter to Professor Warwick Anderson, CEO of the NHMRC, suggesting the ethical spotlight needs to be shone on the way vaccination policy and practice is being implemented in Australia, is also attached for your information.  (Letter dated 15 April 2014.)

In regards to MMR vaccination, to summarise, according to the GSK PRIORIX Product Information Leaflet, most seronegative individuals are likely to seroconvert after the first dose of effective live Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

I question whether valid consent is being obtained before revaccination with the second dose of live MMR vaccine.  For example, The Australian Immunisation Handbook (10th edition) provides criteria for consent to vaccination to be legally valid, i.e.:

  1. It must be given by a person with legal capacity, and of sufficient intellectual capacity to understand the implications of being vaccinated.
  2. It must be given voluntarily in the absence of undue pressure, coercion or manipulation.
  3. It must cover the specific procedure that is to be performed.
  4. It can only be given after the potential risks and benefits of the relevant vaccine, risks of not having it and any alternative options have been explained to the individual.  

(My emphasis.)

Ironically, while an antibody titre test after live MMR vaccination would provide an opportunity to verify immunisation, parents in Australia are not being informed of this option at this time.

I question why parents aren’t provided with this evidence-based option, instead of being coerced into having two doses of live MMR vaccine for their children, as ‘recommended’ on the National Immunisation Program Schedule.  It is possible that some careful parents might prefer to pay for antibody titre testing, rather than have their child revaccinated with a likely unnecessary second dose of live MMR vaccine.

In the state of New Jersey in the US, there is an “Antibody Titer Law” which gives parents a choice of an antibody titre test BEFORE they consent to a second dose of measles/mumps/rubella vaccine (see pamphlet attached.)  Why aren’t all parents being informed about this option?

Parents of small children might be surprised to discover that vaccination ‘best practice’ for companion animals is now more advanced than that for children, with international vaccination guidelines for dogs re live vaccines recommending antibody titre testing rather than an arbitrary ‘booster’, i.e. “…the principles of ‘evidence-based veterinary medicine’ would dictate that testing for antibody status (for either pups or adult dogs) is a better practice than simply administering a vaccine booster on the basis that this should be ‘safe and cost less’”.

Dr Hambleton, an article in The Daily Telegraph (2 January 2014) notes that you applaud the new laws in New South Wales re vaccination.  I suggest the AMA’s support for News Corp Australia’s extraordinarily crude ‘no jab, no play’ campaign is extremely problematic in that this authoritarian stance is forcing likely already immune children to have an arbitrary second dose of live MMR vaccine, without their parents being properly informed of their options.

I question the ethics of coercing parents to have vaccinations of questionable benefit for their children.  I request your consideration of the matters I have raised, including my letters to the NHMRC, and your urgent response on this matter.

Sincerely

Elizabeth Hart

* Please note this correspondence will be circulated to other parties.

Over-vaccination of dogs with parvovirus and other vaccines remains prevalent practice

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Dogs in Australia and elsewhere continue to be grossly over-vaccinated.  These companion animals and their owners are being exploited by the veterinary industry.

See below my recent email on this matter to Ms Kareena Arthy, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).  

The APVMA is the body responsible for ‘regulating’ veterinary vaccine products in Australia.

_____________________________________________________________

23 April 2014

Ms Arthy

Further to my previous extensive correspondence with the APVMA and others on the subject of over-vaccination of dogs.  (Please refer to hyperlinked list of correspondence below, including correspondence with Dr Allen Bryce, Executive Director of the APVMA’s Veterinary Medicines Program.  My colleague Bea Mies has also undertaken extensive correspondence on this matter.)

The APVMA’s Position Statement – Vaccination Protocols for Dogs and Cats, last amended in September 2010, notes: “The APVMA does not support the retention of label statements that direct or imply a universal need for life-long annual revaccinations with core vaccines.  The APVMA supports the AVA’s vaccination policy and is of the view that product labels should be amended to align with that policy.  The APVMA is working with vaccine registrants with a view to updating labels.” (My emphasis.)

It is now April 2014 and still core vaccine products with an annual revaccination ‘recommendation’ remain on the market.  For example Virbac Australia’s Canigen C4 DHA2PPI Quadrivalent Living Vaccine states: “An annual booster is recommended”.  (Note: The label for Virbac’s Canigen DHA2P Trivalent Living Vaccine is currently not accessible on the PUBCRIS website.)

On what evidence is this ‘recommendation’ for an ‘annual booster’ with core vaccines based?

In August 2013, I forwarded a letter to Professor Ronald Schultz of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Vaccination Guidelines Group, challenging the confusing and misleading use of the term ‘booster’ in relation to canine core modified live virus (MLV) vaccines for parvovirus, distemper virus and adenovirus, suggesting that use of the term ‘booster’ is resulting in extensive over-vaccination of already immune dogs.  My letter can be accessed via this link:  http://users.on.net/~peter.hart/Query_re_MLV_boosters.pdf

In his email response of 22 August 2013, Professor Schultz said: “I agree that the term “booster” is misleading in that many of the already immune dogs probably receive no beneficial “booster effect” from an infectious vaccine because the virus (e.g. CDV, CPV-2, CAV-2)* is immediately neutralized.  Therefore, it cannot infect the cells and replicate! It is only in those dogs that have no viral antibody that the vaccine will booster the immune system, both the cellular and humoral response to the virus.  It is these antibody negative dogs that I recommend revaccinating, not dogs with detectable antibody.  There are, however, components of the vaccines that are almost always boostered such as fetal bovine serum components and other extraneous proteins that are in all vaccines.  Obviously, these are components of the vaccine we don’t want to boost especially in a dog that genetically is predisposed to an adverse reaction (e.g. hypersensitivity).  That is why we are trying to prevent annual revaccination with the Core Vaccines that provide long term immunity in a majority of most dogs, but not all!” (*Note: CDV, CPV-2 and CAV-2 are the canine diseases distemper virus, parvovirus and adenovirus [hepatitis]).

It is my strong suspicion that annual revaccination of dogs with core MLV vaccine products remains prevalent practice in Australia.  See for example the attached article published in Dogs NSW in September 2013: “The Deadly Canine Parvovirus – Is Your Dog At Risk?”.  My response to this article is attached.  Also attached is the response by pro-annual vaccination vet Robert Zammit, and Virbac/ASAVA’s Mark Kelman.

See also this ‘Vaccination Guide’ from Greencross Vets which recommends revaccination every year with core vaccines for distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus (and non-core vaccines parainfluenza and bordetella).

Pet owners and their pets are being grossly exploited by the prevalent practice of over-vaccination due to the non-evidence based revaccination ‘recommendations’ on APVMA approved core MLV vaccine product labels.  I also strongly suspect most pet owners are not being informed of the option of in-clinic and lab-based antibody titre testing to verify a response to core MLV vaccination.

Ms Arthy, on what evidence does the APVMA continue to re-register canine core MLV vaccine products which recommend repeated revaccination of adult dogs?

I request your urgent response on this matter.

Sincerely

Elizabeth Hart

See below hyperlinks to some of my correspondence, submissions and articles on over-vaccination of pets:

Key documents:

Correspondence with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), and others:

Correspondence with the UK Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD):

Correspondence with Virbac Animal Health (Disease WatchDog):

Submissions on the subject of unnecessary vaccination of pets:

Correspondence to Members of Parliament:

Articles and summaries re over-vaccination of pets:

Media reports re over-vaccination of pets:

Questions about vaccination policy and ethics for the NHMRC

Questions for NHMRC

 

On 15 April 2014, I forwarded a letter to Professor Warwick Anderson, CEO of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

One of the functions of the NHMRC is to provide ethical guidance on health and medical research issues.

In my letter to Professor Anderson, I suggest the ethical spotlight needs to be shone on the way vaccination policy and practice is being implemented in Australia, and I provide examples of the lack of transparency and accountability in the vaccination bureaucracy.

In particular, I raise the problem of potential conflicts of interest and lack of disclosure by people involved in vaccination policy, followed by an example of parents being coerced into having a vaccine product  for their children (i.e. the live Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine second dose) without being properly informed about this vaccine, and their options.

See below my letter to Professor Anderson:

_____________________________________________________

15 April 2014

Professor Anderson

RE:  Vaccination policy and practice in Australia

Professor Anderson, one of the functions of the NHMRC is to provide ethical guidance on health and medical research issues.[1] 

I suggest the ethical spotlight needs to be shone on the way vaccination policy and practice is being implemented in Australia, and I request that you urgently address this matter.

In this regard, I provide two examples of the lack of transparency and accountability in the vaccination bureaucracy.

1. Potential conflicts of interest and lack of disclosure

Various committees and groups provide advice to the Australian Federal Government on vaccine products which can result in the addition of new vaccine products to the national vaccination schedule.

These groups wield enormous power.  The members of these groups are part of a process that results in effectively mandating medical interventions (i.e. vaccinations) for healthy people.  The decisions these people make affect not only children and adults in Australia, but can also impact internationally as the ripple effect of their decisions spreads around the world.[2]

The powerful influence of these groups raises serious political and ethical questions about their impact on the bodily integrity of citizens, particularly ‘pre-citizens’, i.e. children.

As the decisions of these committees can result in massive sales of vaccine products for pharmaceutical companies, it is vital that the process of adding vaccine products to the national vaccination schedule is open and transparent, and that any potential ‘conflicts of interest’ of the members of these groups are accessible for public perusal.

For example, a register detailing the history of any relationships with the vaccine industry, e.g. research grants, consultancies, honorariums, committee memberships, plus any shareholdings in vaccine companies, royalties received, directorships etc, must be publicly accessible.  If a member indicates they have no potential conflicts of interest, this must be clearly recorded.

At this time, publicly accessible information on potential conflicts of interest for members of vaccination committees and groups is severely lacking in Australia.  I suggest this lack of transparency contravenes The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, in particular sections 4.9 “Disclose research support accurately” and 7. “Conflicts of interest”.[3]

For example, since December 2012[4], I have been asking Professor Suzanne Cory, President of the Australian Academy of Science, for public access to disclosure statements for members of the Working Group and Oversight Committee for “The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers” publication, which was funded by the Australian Federal Government’s Department of Health and Ageing.  Despite promises that this matter is being addressed, as at 14 April 2014, disclosure information is still not provided on the Academy’s The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers webpage.

Similarly, on 26 November 2011 I asked then Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon for details of membership of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), including their professional affiliations, and including any links with the pharmaceutical industry.  While names of members of ATAGI and their affiliations are now published on the Immunise Australia website[5], there is still no disclosure information about potential conflicts of interest.[6]  I also raised this subject with Professor Terry Nolan, Chair of ATAGI, but he failed to address the matter.[7]

There is also a lack of transparency about other committees involved with vaccine products.  For instance the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)’s webpage for the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Vaccines (ACSOV) provides a list of members and affiliations, but there is little clarity re potential conflicts of interest of these people.[8]  In fact, it is very surprising to discover that this advisory committee on the safety of vaccines is chaired by Dr Nicole Gilroy, who is also a member of ATAGI.[9]  Is it appropriate to have a person involved with the appraisal of vaccine products for the national schedule also to be in a position to evaluate post-marketing safety issues?  I suggest that this is inappropriate and that there is a potential for conflict of interest here.

Another example of lack of transparency is the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) webpage[10], which lists members of the PBAC and their affiliations, but again provides lilttle clarity re potential conflicts of interest of these people.

Then there is the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AVIC), which recommends influenza viruses to be used in the composition of influenza vaccines.  There are currently no details of membership of this committee provided on the AVIC webpage on the TGA website, let alone disclosure of potential conflicts of interest.[11]  I have requested that the TGA provide publicly accessible information about this committee on the TGA website.  I am awaiting developments on this request.

These examples indicate there is a serious problem with a lack of disclosure of conflicts of interest that needs to be addressed.  Inter-relationships between these groups should also be investigated.

2. Government ‘requirements’ for vaccination to access family tax benefits – e.g. the Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine second dose

Recently I have forwarded two letters to Professor Ian Olver, Chair of the NHMRC Australian Health Ethics Committee, challenging the Australian Government’s requirement for revaccination of children with a second dose of live MMR vaccine, as children are likely to be immune after the first dose of effective live MMR vaccine, given at the appropriate age (i.e. after maternally derived antibodies have waned).  (I have previously raised this matter with then Federal Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek (see letter dated 28 June 2012), and also the Chair of ATAGI, Professor Terry Nolan (see email dated 11 March 2013).  My entirely unsatisfactory experience in this correspondence is described on my website.)

Copies of my letters to the NHMRC AHEC are attached and are also accessible via the following hyperlinks:  Letter dated 12 April 2014 and Letter dated 19 March 2014.

Please note that my letter dated 12 April 2014 includes reference to Dr Jeannette Young, who is a member of the Council of NHMRC by dint of her role as Queensland’s Chief Medical Officer[12].  My letter criticises a letter forwarded by Dr Young to 13,117 parents in Queensland which stated: “Two doses of measles containing vaccine are needed to provide a high level of protection.”  An article in The Courier-Mail on 15 April 2014, “Federal Health Department plan to send out vaccination reminder letters”, also refers to Dr Young’s letter to parents. I suggest it is misleading to tell parents that “two doses of measles containing vaccine are needed to provide a high level of protection”.  As I have argued in my letters to the NHMRC AHEC, it is likely that one dose of effective GSK PRIORIX live MMR vaccine will provide protection for previously seronegative subjects, and this can be verified by antibody titre testing.

Professor Anderson, vaccination/immunisation is an important ethical and political issue.  We are on a slippery slope when potentially conflicted government vaccination bureaucracies dictate questionable medical interventions for citizens (including ‘pre-citizens’, i.e. children). 

It has been my experience that it is very difficult to question vaccination policy and practice in Australia, particularly due to the hostile climate created by the media.  For example, in an extraordinarily crude campaign, News Corp Australia media is being used as a blunt instrument to bully parents into meek compliance with all vaccination ‘requirements’ stipulated by the government’s vaccination bureaucracy.[13]  Scientists Sir Gus Nossal[14] and Professor Ian Frazer[15] have played a part in this campaign.  Crikey’s Bernard Keane also suggests should we ban anti-vaccination talk?[16]  Journalists in this country appear to be ill-equipped to critically analyse complex vaccination/immunisation issues, and instead are responsible for fostering a discourse which is polarised and not conducive to thoughtful discussion.[17]

Professor Anderson, Jillian Barr, Director of the NHMRC Health and Research Ethics Section, has advised me my submissions about the live MMR vaccine second dose will be considered by the NHMRC AHEC at its next meeting in early May 2014.  I request that you also seriously consider the matters I have raised in this letter about disclosure of conflicts of interest, and evidence-based vaccination policy and practice. 

Sincerely

Elizabeth Hart                    

*Please note this letter will be circulated to other parties, and has also been published on my website.

cc:        Members of the NHMRC Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC)

  • Professor Ian Olver,Chair
  • Dr Gary Allen
  • Professor Vicki Anderson
  • Professor Samar Aoun
  • Professor Susan Dodds
  • Associate Professor Ian Kerridge
  • Dr Tammy Kimpton
  • Rabbi Aviva Kipen
  • Reverend Kevin McGovern
  • Professor John McGrath AM
  • Dr Eleanor Milligan
  • Professor Robin Mortimer
  • Ms Kay Oke
  • Professor Margaret Otlowski
  • Professor Debra Rickwood
  • Professor Wendy Rogers
  • Professor Loane Skene

and Professor Brian Martin, Social Sciences, University of Wollongong

Attachments:

  • Letter re the MMR vaccine second dose to NHMRC AHEC dated 19 March 2014
  • Letter re the MMR vaccine second dose to NHMRC AHEC dated 12 April 2014 

References:  (All links accessible as at 15 April 2014. It may be necessary to copy and paste long links in a web browser.) (Note – reference list updated and amended from original letter.)

____________________________________________________

[1] “NHMRC plays a pivotal role in providing independent advice on the complementary functions of funding health and medical research, providing ethical guidance on health and medical research issues, and providing health advice.”  NHMRC CEO Warwick Anderson AM: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about/nhmrc-senior-staff/nhmrc-ceo-warwick-anderson-am

[2] For example Australia has been a leader in implementing HPV vaccination for boys and girls.  HPV vaccination is now being implemented around the world.  See my webpage questioning HPV vaccination for further background: https://over-vaccination.net/questionable-vaccines/hpv-vax/

[3] Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.  Jointly issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council and Universities Australia. 2007: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/r39

[4] My webpage on the Australian Academy of Science provides background on my experience in seeking disclosure statements for members of the Working Group and Oversight Committee for The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers publication: https://over-vaccination.net/the-experts/australian-academy-of-science/

[5] Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI): http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/advisory-bodies

[6] I also raised this matter with then Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek in an email dated 23 January 2012.

[7] In an email query regarding the second MMR vaccine dose addressed to Professor Terry Nolan, Chair of ATAGI, I also raised questions about ‘declarations of interest’ for ATAGI members: http://users.on.net/~peter.hart/Email_to_Prof_Terry_Nolan_ATAGI_MMR_11_March_2013.pdf

[8] Advisory Committee on the Safety of Vaccines (ACSOV): http://www.tga.gov.au/about/committees-acsov.htm#.U0y3_PmSz-t

[9] Dr Nicole Gilroy is listed as a voting member of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI): http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/advisory-bodies

[10] Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC): http://www.pbs.gov.au/info/industry/listing/participants/pbac

[11] Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AVIC): http://www.tga.gov.au/about/committees-aivc.htm#.U0y76fmSz-t

[12] Council of NHMRC: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about/council-nhmrc

[13] See for example these recent articles published in News Corp Australia media written by journalists who obviously lack knowledge about the complexity of individual vaccine products:

[14] Scientists call for end of handouts to parents who don’t vaccinate children.  The Telegraph, 6 April 2014: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/scientists-call-for-end-of-handouts-to-parents-who-dont-vaccinate-children/story-fni0cx12-1226874673399  (Also reported on The Australian website.)

[15] Common childhood infections such as whooping cough are not gone but some parents still reject vaccination. The Courier-Mail, 11 April 2014: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/common-childhood-infections-such-as-whooping-cough-are-not-gone-but-some-parents-still-reject-vaccination/story-fnihsr9v-1226880265364

[16] A hard case of harmful speech: should we ban anti-vaccination talk? Crikey, 9 April 2014: http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/04/09/a-hard-case-of-harmful-speech-should-we-ban-anti-vaccination-talk/

[17] Professor Brian Martin provides an eloquent summary in his article “On the suppression of vaccination dissent” where he argues: “Suppression of dissent, through its chilling effect, can skew public debates, by discouraging participation.  In Australia, critics of vaccination have become aware that if they become visible, they are potentially subject to denigration and complaints.  Because of the level of personal abuse by pro-vaccinationists, many of those who might take a middle-of-the-road perspective, perhaps being slightly critical of some aspects of vaccine policy, are discouraged from expressing their views.  The result is a highly polarized public discourse that is not conducive to the sort of careful deliberation desirable for addressing complex issues.”  (My emphasis.)  On the suppression of vaccination dissent. Science & Engineering Ethics. March 2014, doi 10.1007/s11948-014-9530-3  http://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/14see.html