Intended for healthcare professionals

Editor's Choice

A tale of two vaccines

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4152 (Published 04 October 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4152

Questioning coercive vaccination policy

Fiona Godlee and Noel Thomas refer to the "spectre of Andrew Wakefield".

Certainly the spectre of Andrew Wakefield has provided a useful distraction for those intent on expanding vaccination schedules, and destroying the right to informed consent before the medical intervention of vaccination, as has happened in Australia with the enactment of the coercive No Jab, No Pay law.

The Australian Federal Government's No Jab, No Pay law demands parents have their children vaccinated to access financial benefits[1], and denies them the right to freely consider the risks and benefits of each of these interventions, in direct contravention of The Australian Immunisation Handbook, which states the criteria for consent to be legally valid, i.e. including that "It must be given voluntarily in the absence of undue pressure, coercion or manipulation", and that "It can only be given after the potential risks and benefits of the relevant vaccine, the risks of not having it, and any alternative options have been explained to the person".[2]

There is an obvious conflict between the Australian Federal Government's No Jab, No Pay law, and the right to legally valid consent which has not as yet been resolved, and which is ignored by politicians and doctors in Australia. It is shocking that doctors have stood by and allowed this to happen. How does this sit with the 'informed consent' issues raised by Wendy Stephen?

In Australia, children have to have all the vaccinations on the early childhood vaccination schedule to access financial benefits[1], a schedule which has continued to increase since the enactment of the No Jab, No Pay law in January 2016, with yet another diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis shot added at 18 months (now up to six doses for children), plus the combination meningococcal ACWY vaccine product being recently added for 12 month old babies: https://beta.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throu...

It is really alarming to the see the number of combination vaccine products on the schedule now, and with compliance being coerced via the No Jab, No Pay law.

Was Andrew Wakefield's greatest crime in advocating for single vaccines[3], thereby casting a shadow over the remarkable advent of combination vaccines we see now? No wonder there was a campaign to discredit Wakefield...

The sheer number of vaccines being given to children is camouflaged by multiple vaccines being given in a single shot, e.g. the aluminium-adjuvanted diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), hepatitis B, polio, and Hib shot given to 2, 4 and 6 month old babies in Australia, and the second dose of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine combined with varicella/chickenpox, on top of all the other combination and single vaccines, and revaccinations, children are coerced to have now.

Back in 2002, Tom Jefferson, the 'diligent reviewer' mentioned in Fiona Godlee's article, raised concerns about future vaccination programmes giving children "five, six even seven vaccines all at once". Jefferson said "For people like me, it is becoming more and more difficult to tease out what problems may be due to an individual vaccine...It is almost becoming impossible to do this. We have to think very carefully about how we will monitor these vaccines. We have a responsibility to these children - they are our future. It is no use having a situation where someone suggests a possible harm and everyone runs around frantically trying to find bits of evidence. What is required is good-quality information that has been systematically collated and assessed".[4]

Has anybody without vested interests thought "very carefully about how we will monitor these vaccines"? Has anybody thought very carefully about the startling number of vaccines and combination products and revaccinations given to children now, and the as yet unknown cumulative effect of all these interventions throughout life?

References:
1. "To meet immunisation requirements and be eligible for their full rate of Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A, children need to be immunised in accordance with the National Immunisation Program early childhood vaccination schedule, on an approved catch-up schedule or have an approved exemption." Immunisation and Health Check requirements for Family Tax Benefit. No Jab, No Pay - Immunisation Requirements: https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/benefi...
2. The Australian Immunisation Handbook - Preparing for Vaccination - Valid consent: https://immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au/vaccination-procedures/prepar...
3. F. Edward Yazbak. The MMR and Single Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccines: The REAL Facts, 11 January 2005. Rapid Response on The BMJ article Dispatches. MMR: What They Didn't Tell You: https://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/30/mmr-and-single-measles-mum...
4. Vaccines expert warns studies are useless. The Telegraph, 27 October 2002: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1411417/Vaccines-expert-warns-st...

Competing interests: No competing interests

09 October 2018
Elizabeth Hart
Independent
Adelaide, Australia