Prepare some tissues and some rotten tomatoes…

And then go watch this Australian TV feature:

The need for tissues should be self-evident as you watch the events that led to the death of previously healthy 4-week-old Dana McCaffrey; the rotten tomatoes are for Meryl Dorey, the president of the Australian Vaccination Network, an anti-vaccine organization who asserts the disease that killed Dana is “nothing more than a bad cough” and is best treated by homeopathics.

I wonder if Dorey would consider the recent swine flu cases in Mexico and elsewhere to be ‘merely a bad cold’, and if a pandemic really does break out, exhort people not to take the vaccine for it – to remind you, it was a 1976 vaccine for swine flu that was associated with cases of Guillian-Barre Syndrome (excess risk attributable to the vaccine: just under 1:100,000)?

EDITED TO ADD April 28: Mystery solved! In lieu of vaccines or Tamiflu, she’d probably recommend regular enemas. (Via Orac).

UPDATED May 27th: Part II – the aftermath.


12 Responses

  1. Yeah, I saw this on another website and am sorely tempted to send it to my mommy mailing list. The anit-vaxer sounds like she’s American.

  2. I saw this at LB/RB (I think). Dana’s father appeared in the comments thread with some choice words for anti-vaccinationists.

    Absolutely heartbreaking.

    From now on, when someone asks me why, if my kids are fully vaccinated, I’m so worried about other parents not vaccinating I think I’ll just link to that video.

    • BTW, I have the link up to the right. If you want to copy it to your blog, that’s fine with me. Just copy and paste the following code

      <a href=””><img src=””></a>

      into a text widget on your blog.

    • Thanks, Esther!

  3. Meryl Dorey should be locked up as a menace to public health. That’s the problem with the anti-vax thinking. Not only is it stupid. It’s contagiously stupid.

  4. Not sure of the blog etiquette, but I thought this comment from the Pharyngula post on this was rather sobering. If it’s not cool for me to do this, by all means remove it, Esther.


    I read a lot of pseudo-science things on Pharyngula that upset me. This one really strikes a nerve.

    I am recovering from pertussis (whooping cough).

    It almost killed me. I wished I were dead at times. It is not a cough. It is a nervous system paroxysm that makes your rack in pain, vomit, break ribs and dislocate shoulders. It severely damages your trachea. You pass out in an instant, falling to the floor to crash your head into whatever is in the way.

    You do not sleep for weeks. There is no treatment once you have reach paroxysm stage. None. No antibiotics, not cough suppressants, nothing.

    Recovery can last years. It is also known as the Ten Year Cough.

    To clarify, the infant mortality rate is low now, but at one time it was 50%. A tribute to good health and modern medicine, but once you have it, it is as nightmarish as century ago.

    The only defense is vaccination. Anyone who does not vaccinate their children is worse that an idiot, they are a crime against humanity.

    Their is an adult vaccine now, as the childhood vaccine does not protect into adulthood. I am proof of that. Go get your booster.

  5. I wonder what these folks think about TB? That it is a conspiracy from the government. That is a heart breaking story. I think eventually kids will HAVE to be vaccinated for public health reasons. Or perhaps we can quaranteen all the Jenny Mccarthy advocates on an island and not allow them out. Didn’t they do that to lepers at one time?

  6. Esther, did you see this sh*tstorm at Consumer Reports? They had the nerve to say that cosleepers and slings are potentially unsafe. Teh horror!

  7. Good lord. So sad. I hope they do wind up with a pertussis vaccine that can be given at birth. We need it.

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