The Mia Freedman website ‘Mamamia’ regularly presents articles on vaccination written by subscribers or supporters of the Skeptics lobby groups. Many of the individuals who comment on vaccination on this website do not have qualifications in science, public health, vaccination science or policy development. Authors who have written articles on vaccination on this website include Rachael Dunlop, Peter Bowditch, Mia Freedman, Chrys Stevenson and Rick Morton. See comments in the Subscribers of the Skeptics sub-menu to see the misinformation that is being provided by these authors. Public concerns about the number of vaccines on the childhood schedule are not being acknowledged by journalists or the Australian Government.
Rick Morton has written 2 articles for News Ltd papers that have provided unsupported and misleading information to the public about vaccines and my research. His articles have used comments from social media websites to inform the public on health issues. In September 2012 he wrote a story in the Australian newspaper titled ‘Uni supports anti-vaccine student’. Rick Morton did not speak to me for this article and the information he provided was inaccurate. My reply to the misinformation he provided is here. At the time Morton wrote this article he had only been employed at the Australian newspaper for 3 months. Prior to this he was the editor of the Mamamia blog run by Mia Freedman.
On the 28 January 2014 Rick Morton published a second story about my published research that again contained unsupported and misleading information about the presentation I gave on the HPV vaccine at the Cancer Science and Therapy Congress in San Fancisco (October 2013). Here is the correct information that Morton had access to but did not provide in his story in the Australian newspaper in January 2014.
In 2013, Australia’s Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, “rubbished fear campaigns about the risk of immunisation” instead of providing evidence for its safety by answering the questions that the public are asking. By ignoring these concerns the government is selecting the science that is being used in government policy. This doesn’t make the schedule of vaccines safe and effective. A consensus in science should not be obtained by removing one perspective from the risk analysis. Minister Plibersek has also signed a vaccination pledge (to increase community vaccination rates) on Mia Freedman’s website that is associated with the Skeptics organisation – a lobby group that is peddling misinformation.
The Australian government appoints Ministers of Health who do not have qualifications in health and it has a duty of care to ensure that all science on the cause of autism is included in vaccination policy-decisions. Ministers should not be making pledges for public health policy on lobby group websites. There are many scientific articles that indicate vaccines are a valid cause of autism, for example, these articles 1 , 2, 3, 4 and 5, yet the government has not addressed these articles in the discussion of vaccination policy on the Immunise Australia Program (IAP) website.
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- JUDY WILYMAN