15 December 2012


Because the Australian Vaccination Network is anti-vaccine.

Once upon a time, I was looking for information about travel vaccines, and I came across an organisation called the Australian Vaccination Network. "That sounds like the kind of organisation that could provide me with the information I need to protect myself from horrible deadly diseases!" I thought. 

I was wrong. Like hundreds of other people, the name Australian Vaccination Network fooled me into believing that this organisation was a reputable source of evidence-based information about vaccination. Fooled me. Deceived me. Misled me.

Yesterday a good thing happened. The AVN received an order from NSW Fair Trading to change their name, or face the prospect of being deregistered. The reason behind the order? A complaint had been filed with Fair Trading about the organisation's name being misleading, considering they are, by any stretch of the most feeble imagination, unscientific and anti-vaccine. 
Read about it here.

The AVN's leader, Meryl Dorey, responded with a blog post including her usual whiny cavalcade of conspiracy-laden hogwash. By far the most entertaining part was her suggestion that, not only was the AVN's name not misleading, but that other organisations were worse!

"After all," she huffed, "Greenpeace is not green, nor do they go around looking for peace, therefore, would the Department tell them to change their name too? How about the Cancer Council? Couldn’t someone be misled into thinking that they are FOR cancer?"

Ms Dorey seems to believe that, unless she calls her organisation "A Couple Of Blokes Who Have Nothing At All To Do With Vaccination And Are Giving Away Buckets Of Orgasms", everything is just fine.

Well this is what I say to that:

Does the Cancer Council make a range of large malignant tumours?
And is Greenpeace green? And does it sell calm feelings to consumers?
Is the Black Dog Institute where all the dusky Kelpies go?
Does the Royal Blind Society poke monarchs’ eyes out? No.
Does the Lyme Disease Association laud the deer tick’s merits?
And is Animals Australia run by bureaucratic ferrets?
Is the Red Cross really cross? And do Weight Watchers stare at fat?
Does the Smith Family shun Joneses? Only morons would think that.

An “Australian Vaccination Network”, surely, is expected;
To know something of the way that our community’s protected;
By the action of a vaccine on the body of a child;
And the way a study’s done, and how the data are compiled;
And the difference between “bulldust” and “important information”;
And the laws for trading fairly, and for fund administration;
And the fundamental chemistry related to each shot;
And be honest, fair and helpful. Yet the AVN is not.


  1. Love the poem. Love the Fallacy of Composition in Dorey's post - none of the individual words in the name are a problem, so how can the group of them possibly be a problem?

    Little confused by the phrase "buckets of orgasms". I'm not really sure what it means. I mean, I like each of the words, so by the same logic, I must like the group of them. If the AVN are giving them away, maybe I should attend one of their seminars?

  2. That Meryl Dorey, she blinded me with un-science!

  3. There's a wibbly-wobbly yet important and reliable legal thingo that considers very carefully how any 'reasonable person' would act or react to information.
    No reasonable person would assume that the Cancer Council was pro-cancer.
    Most reasonable people would assume that the Australian Vaccination Network had factual information about vaccines.
    And a massive majority of reasonable people would assume that Meryl Dorey is a mouth-breathing dingbat.