Australian Doctor Group Refutes Claims by Anti-Vaxx Opponents Despite Published Statements Opposing Legislation Before It Was Passed

vax-rape4Aussie GPs rebuts statements made by anti-vaccine opponents

Doctor’s group Down Under contradicts anti-vaxx skeptics over No Jab No Pay

No Jab No Pay legislation was in the spotlight today as the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners took pains to refute statements made by the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network, who are opposed to the Federal Government’s heavy-handed and cruel program.

A statement released today by the Australian Vaccine-skeptics Network claimed that the legislation–which prohibits vaccination opponents from receiving government assistance if they refuse to relent to government wishes and have their children vaccinated–was opposed by leading medical groups, and should therefore be reconsidered.

The statement read, in part:

“From representatives of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) to the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register; to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners as well as a host of vaccine service providers, the voices amongst the mainstream medical community were nearly unanimous in their opposition to this legislation.”

But confusion was the order of the day as at least two of those groups released statements of their own countering the AVN statement, and claiming their support for No Jab No Pay.

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance or NCIRS was one such group that denied the AVN claims.

“The NCIRS, together with state and territory government health departments and many others involved in the National Immunisation Program are currently supporting implementation of the Australian Government’s new policy for immunisation requirements for family assistance payment eligibility,” a spokeswoman for the group said.

The AVN declined to comment on the apparent contradiction.

The AVN has been engaged in pursuing legal action against the government’s No Jab, No Pay program, and has expressed hope that the various legal options open to them are promising. Another statement from the group read:

“The Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network (AVN) announced this week that they have received a preliminary oral advice from their barrister indicating that at least one avenue has been found to challenge the Federal Government’s No Jab, No Pay legislation, enacted in January of this year.”

The president of the AVN, Tasha David claims that a hearing before the Senate received over 3,000 submissions opposing the legislation.

It remains to be seen what will come of the snafu with the various groups disavowing the AVNs claims about them.

But despite the mixup, one thing remains clear: the AVN is not alone in opposing No Jab No Pay.

http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/anti-vaxxers-set-to-challenge-no-jab-no-pay-in-hig/2979274/

One thought on “Australian Doctor Group Refutes Claims by Anti-Vaxx Opponents Despite Published Statements Opposing Legislation Before It Was Passed

  1. The AVN never declined to speak with the Northern Star about this issue and in fact, I myself contacted the Northern Star by phone to let them know that I would be sending them a corrected press release. The text of that release is pasted below:

    Correction to media release:
    Australian Vaccination-
    skeptics Network Inc
    (AVN) pursues High Court Action
    to overturn No Jab, No Pay legislation.

    Yesterday, the Australian Vaccination-
    skeptics Network (AVN) announced that it was pursuing a High Court Action against the Australian Government’s No Jab, No Pay Legislation.

    In that release, we incorrectly stated that the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) had entered a submission to the Senate Inquiry into No Jab, No Pay opposing the legislation. In fact, it was the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), an organisation representing 22,000 physicians and paediatricians across Australia and New Zealand that had written a submission in opposition to the legislation. Their submission is attached to this document (http://tinyurl.com/grybvjk), but we did want to point out their opening statement:

    The RACP is a strong advocate of vaccination, vaccination programs, and other initiatives to promote high compliance rates of immunisation for vaccine-preventable diseases. However, the RACP does not support routinely denying children or their family’s access to social benefits. Denying access to these payments has the potential to entrench a child’s disadvantage.

    Linking taxation benefits to compulsory vaccinations is an ineffective mechanism for increasing vaccination uptake. Of the small proportion of parents who fail to vaccinate their children, few are conscientious objectors. The majority fail to vaccinate their children due to other reasons, primarily difficulty of health care access.

    Those who object to vaccinations based on conscientious or safety concerns are unlikely to subject their children to a perceived health risk in order to maintain access to benefits. Such a policy can have the unintended consequence of strengthening the opinions of the small population subset that hold negative views around the goals and safety of vaccination programs. It will also disproportionately affect poorer members of the community, who are more vulnerable to any adjustment to benefit conditions, rather than wealthy conscientious objectors.

    The RACP believes that immunisation initiatives should not be linked to counter-incentives in the form of government benefits or taxation. However we are in favour of strategies announced in the 2014-15 Federal Budget such as developing tools and communication materials to assist immunisation providers, such as general practitioners, to have conversations with vaccine-hesitant parents.

    In addition to the confusion between the RACP and the RACGP, the AVN has been informed by Prof Julie Leask that when she filed her submission and later testified before the Senate Hearing on No Jab, No Pay, she was not testifying as a representative of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance. The confusion came about because both Prof Leask and her co-author, Dr Kerry Wiley, PhD listed their affiliation with the NCIRS on their written submission. For clarification, here is an extract from Dr Leask’s bio:

    Julie Leask is an Associate Professor at The University of Sydney, School of Public Health. She holds a NHMRC Career Development Fellowship and is Sub-Dean (Early Career Researchers) in the Sydney Medical School. She is a visiting Senior Research Fellow at the National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance (NCIRS) where she established the Social Science Unit. She is also a Chief Investigator on the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Immunisation in Under-Studied and Special-Risk Populations.

    For the benefit of those in the media, here is the summary from that submission (http://tinyurl.com/zn5q4kt):

    Summary:
    While vaccination is well supported by research, the proposed amendment is not grounded in evidence from the behavioural sciences and brings a series of unintended deleterious consequences. This submission urges government take a more rational and considered approach to increasing vaccination rates consisting of comprehensive, multifactorial approaches that amount to firm but fair policy and continue to hold vaccine refusers to account. In addition, shutting out the unvaccinated from childcare by removing its affordability will not shut out the risk from vaccine-preventable diseases. All Australians have a responsibility to protect the vulnerable. This submission makes recommendations in relation to the bill including options for amendments and monitoring of impacts and other considerations.

    The AVN apologises wholeheartedly for these errors in our previous media release. A corrected version appears below.

    For Immediate Release – 29 March, 2016

    The Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network (AVN) announced this week that they have received a preliminary oral advice from their barrister indicating that at least one avenue has been found to challenge the Federal Government’s No Jab, No Pay legislation, enacted in January of this year.

    The barrister further stated that he feels this avenue has reasonable prospects of surviving an application for strikeout or summary dismissal, meaning that those in the community who believe No Jab, No Pay to be both unconstitutional and discriminatory, should have their day in the highest court in the land to press their case for the law to be overturned.

    This action, supported by members of the AVN and thousands in the broader community, is seeking sponsorship for what could very well be a long and expensive battle. A web page has been set up where those who support the basic human right to decide what will and will not be put into their bodies or their children’s bodies, can provide their support for this case. The URL for this page is https://avn.org.au/sponsor-avn/

    “The Federal Senate Hearing on the No Jab, No Pay legislation, held in October 2015, had over 3,000 submissions opposing the legislation and a mere handful supporting it. From Prof Julie Leask who receives a salary from the National Centres for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) and funds from the Department of Health, to the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register; to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) as well as a host of vaccine service providers, the voices amongst the mainstream medical community were nearly unanimous in their opposition to this legislation.” says Tasha David, AVN President. “Despite this, the legislation passed and the ill-effects are being felt throughout the community.” Ms David concluded.

    The AVN has been collecting impact statements from amongst the Australian population. A selection of these reports can be found at this link – http://tinyurl.com/jeceaox.

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