Dr Gannon, AMA President, Declines Invitation to Answer Questions About Vaccination

Souce: https://avn.org.au/2017/10/michael_ganon_part_2/

On the 6th of October at 11:45 AM, the AVN sent a letter to 4 public health officials who had been critical of our up-coming VaxXed tour of Queensland.  These 4 individuals had suggested that the VaxXed screenings should be banned or boycotted and that no venue should allow us to show this documentary or members of the public be permitted to watch it.

The four were:

Mr Cameron Dick, Health Minister for QLD
Dr Michael Gannon, President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA)
Dr Bill Boyd, President of the QLD AMA
And Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Medical Officer of QLD

Cameron Dick, Michael Gannon, Jeannette Young, Bill Boyd

Cameron Dick, Michael Gannon, Jeannette Young, Bill Boyd

Less than an hour later, at 12:24 PM, I received a long and detailed response from someone named Simon Tatz who was replying on behalf of Dr Gannon.

I have pasted Mr Tatz’s response below and have replied to the relevant sections in blue italics.

Due to the length of both the original email from Mr Tatz and the AVN’s response, we will be posting this information over the next 2-3 days in total. We welcome your input and would like to suggest that if you feel so inclined, you may wish to write to these individuals yourself by clicking the links to their names.

They especially need to hear from those whose families have been injured or killed by vaccines. For some reason, they appear to believe you don’t exist.

To date, we have not received any response from the other three public servants who were invited to attend and sit on the Q & A panels. We will, of course, keep you updated on any responses received.

For those who would like to attend any of these up-coming events, here is the link where you can obtain further information.

Dear Ms Dorey

I refer to your invitation to the AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, to attend a screening of VaxXed. Dr Gannon has asked me to respond on his behalf.

Dr Gannon will most definitely not be attending.

In relation to the so-called film you mentioned, Dr Gannon previously pointed out in the media that Andrew Wakefield is a discredited charlatan.

There has been a lot of conjecture about Dr Wakefield and whether he has been discredited. What Dr Gannon may not be aware of is the fact that the lead clinical gastroenterologist in the 1998 Lancet Study, Dr John Walker-Smith, was exonerated by the High Court in the UK. The judge in that case, Justice Mitting:

“…called for changes in the way General Medical Council fitness to practise panel hearings are conducted in the future saying: “It would be a misfortune if this were to happen again. …The judge said the GMC panel failed to address whether Prof Walker-Smith had been doing research or simply investigating symptoms to help treat children. There had been “inadequate and superficial reasoning and, in a number of instances, a wrong conclusion”, he said.”[1]

Mr Walker-Smith and Dr Wakefield were accused together. The difference was, Mr Walker-Smith was able to get legal representation through his insurance company – Dr Wakefield was not. Mr Walker-Smith’s license to practice medicine was reinstated and his name was cleared. The biggest injustice was that this decision was never extended to Dr Wakefield’s case and he has continued to be attacked unfairly and incorrectly. Dr Wakefield is not a ‘discredited charlatan’. Rather, he is the victim of those whose financial interests were threatened by any questions raised about the safety or the effectiveness of vaccination.

Dr Gannon added that nothing good can come from the public screening of this film, which was being spruiked by Australian anti-vaxxer social networks.

Dr Gannon does the thousands of families across Australia who support the AVN and whose children and other loved ones have suffered as a result of a vaccine injury or a death from vaccination, a great wrong. I’m sure this was never his intention!

These families have been coming to VaxXed screenings around Australia in their thousands and have told the stories of their families because we will both listen to and help them. They have found that in most cases, their doctors will do neither. Instead, they minimise the harm that has occurred to their families or outright deny it.

These are not ignorant or negligent people. They are caring, well-informed Australian adults who have questions about a medical procedure. They look to Dr Gannon as the head of the AMA and someone they respect to provide them with some answers.

Instead, through you, Dr Gannon appears to be saying that these families don’t exist, don’t matter and should not be listened to. I do hope that you have misunderstood the good doctor’s intent and his message?

Dr Gannon’s role is to protect public health and screening this film could potentially damage thousands of children by fostering a scare campaign that has no medical evidence base.

This is an interesting point of view. How did you or Dr Gannon determine that the information provided by the AVN and included in the documentary, VaxXed ‘has no medical evidence base’?

Some of the top scientists from around the world, including immunologists, paediatricians, toxicologists, child psychologists and research scientists contributed to this documentary. I don’t think they would have done so had they not had medical evidence. In addition, Dr William Thompson, commonly known today as the CDC Whistleblower, was one of the 5 authors of the infamous DeStefano study published in 2004. Dr Thompson claims that he and his team were ordered to destroy data and evidence showing a large and statistically significant link between administration of MMR vaccines before the age of 3 and the development of autism in children – especially children of African-American descent.

Dr Gannon’s concern about fraud in scientific studies, as evidenced by his statement about Dr Wakefield above, is laudable though misplaced. Why then won’t he support the proof that another scientist, Dr William Thompson, has provided of outright fraud, leading to millions of children being unnecessarily brain-damaged by vaccinations the CDC told them were safe when they most assuredly were not?

In regard to censorship, Dr Gannon told the ABC:

“I’ve heard his arguments about censorship, and it’s against my natural instincts to ever argue against censorship, and I believe, in most circumstances, of giving adults the opportunity to make informed decisions.  Sadly, what you’ll see when you screen a film like this, you’ll see confirmation bias.  You’ll see people who want to believe that there’s something wrong here, and that will just get in their head.  There are people who – for some strange reason – like believing in conspiracy theories.”

“I think in this film – and again I haven’t seen it, I’ve got better things to do with an hour and a half to be honest – but I think that what is so unfair on this is not only the potential carnage that might befall unvaccinated kids, but again those families around Australia that struggle with the hardship of dealing with children afflicted by autism spectrum disorder, blaming them, setting them up, saying that they did something to injure their child’s brain development.  I think that is so unfair.”

 It is hard, nay, it is impossible to critique something which you have not personally seen. You could not write a book review for something you hadn’t read, review a restaurant you’ve never eaten at nor give an opinion about a film if you haven’t watched it.

Again, we invite you to attend one of these screenings, free of charge. Then, if you are still of the same opinion Dr Gannon, we would welcome your informed criticism of this film. But until you actually see the documentary, I’m afraid it is hard to take what you say on board as being either informed or accurate.

Dr Gannon said that it was an ill-considered decision to screen this film in the first place.  The concept of free speech carries certain responsibilities, and screening a film that is being used to undermine evidence-based immunisation programs and protecting children against harmful and fatal diseases is not a responsible action.

Again, it is apparent that Dr Gannon is not speaking from a position of knowledge about this film. VaxXed is not being used to undermine vaccination – it is being used to hold corrupt medical officials at the CDC to account for the cover-up they have conducted. This crime has led to innocent children being permanently injured. I’m sure that Dr Gannon would never want to see harm come to anyone – child or adult – and feel that he would benefit greatly from basing his opinion of VaxXed on what is actually contained in the movie rather than what he has heard it contains.

As you would be well aware, the AMA has been very outspoken about this misleading so-called documentary. As Dr Gannon told the media:

“Various web blogs and films like Vaxxed have the potential to undermine our national programs of immunisation. The anti-vaxxer campaign can make vaccine hesitant parents believe that their concerns or fears have been confirmed and choose not to vaccinate.  The tragic outcome may be having a child ending up in an intensive care unit, possibly with life-long complications, from a vaccine preventable disease.

The AVN believes that Australian parents are intelligent people who, given accurate information on all aspects of a medical procedure, are very capable of making the correct choice for their family regarding a range of issues from nutrition to education to medical procedures including vaccination. We also believe that, were the medical authorities to consider having a respectful conversation with these same parents rather than trying to browbeat them or censor what they should or should not hear, see or read, the current adversarial relationship between families and doctors would change to one of mutual respect and understanding. 

I am convinced that Dr Gannon wants nothing more than to have such a relationship with the Australian public. All of us – those who believe strongly in the necessity of all vaccines on the current schedule and those who don’t – care deeply about the health of children. I would say that Dr Gannon is every bit as passionate about children’s health as the AVN is and as any parent in Australia is. It saddens me, therefore, to see him being quoted as saying such things about Australian parents and I invite him to please join with these same parents and to listen to and answer their legitimate and genuine questions.

We’re very concerned about false information being fed to people and sadly, what we see in the area of vaccination is confirmation bias of conspiracy theories. The film Vaxxed was made by a doctor who’s been de-registered because he was found to have fraudulently made up scientific material.

As stated earlier, Dr Walker-Smith was completely cleared of all accusations made against him and Dr Wakefield by the GMC. It is perplexing why these misstatements continue to be made in the light of the High Court decision in the UK more than 5 years ago? In essence, Drs Wakefield and Walker-Smith were discredited by an organisation which was itself subsequently discredited by the High Court. In light of this information, do you still stand by your statements regarding Dr Wakefield?

He was working in a wellness clinic in Cuba, now he’s dabbling in short film. That’s not where you get your health information from. You get it from serious scientific bodies like the Health Department and from your local GP.

I am unclear about why Dr Wakefield’s current career path should call into question his medical knowledge? In general, it has been the experience of the AVN that parents who have studied the issue of vaccination by reading medical journal articles and texts and by speaking with a broad range of health professionals can be far more knowledgeable about this topic than the average GP. So a medical specialist like Dr Wakefield, who has spent decades working on this one particular topic, would be expected to have a great deal of useful and scientifically-based knowledge. 

Vaccination represents the public health triumph of the last 50 years: diseases like measles, smallpox, polio, no longer damage and maim members of the community.

The measles vaccine was introduced in Australia in 1969/1970. By the time the vaccine was used here, deaths from measles had declined by over 99%. Smallpox vaccination had not been routinely used for decades in Australia prior to the 1960s so I am unsure why you’ve declared this as a victory for vaccination in the last 50 years. In fact, looking at data from countries where mass smallpox vaccination was routinely used, it is apparent that the largest epidemics with the highest rates of mortality and morbidity were in those communities with the highest levels of smallpox vaccination. Likewise, polio vaccine started in Australia in 1955. By the time the vaccine came in, polio outbreaks were already on the decline. A subsequent redefinition of the disease led to a further precipitous drop in the number of notifications.

[1] http://www.bbc.com/news/health-17283751

AMA Head Refuses to Answer Vaccination Questions-AVN Responds Part 2

On the 6th of October at 11:45 AM, the AVN sent a letter to 4 public health officials who had been critical of our up-coming VaxXed tour of Queensland.  These 4 individuals had suggested that the VaxXed screenings should be banned or boycotted and that no venue should allow us to show this documentary or members of the public be permitted to watch it.

The four were:

Mr Cameron Dick, Health Minister for QLD
Dr Michael Gannon, President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA)
Dr Bill Boyd, President of the QLD AMA
And Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Medical Officer of QLD

Dr Gannon responded via a proxy, Mr Simon Tatz. Part one of our answer to Dr Gannon was published on the blog yesterday at this link. The final part of our response, which is a long one and covers the myth of measles deaths in the developing world and the role that measles vaccines supposedly played in reducing them, will be published here tomorrow.

As of yet, Dr Gannon is the only person who has responded to our invitation. Again, we would like to request that you to write to all 4 individuals and urge them to attend a VaxXed screening and sit on the Q & A panel. If you do or have written, could you please forward your letter to avnenquiries@avn.org.au and also forward any responses you receive to the same email address? We would be grateful if you would.

And now for Part 2 of Dr Gannon’s response.


Autism After Vaccines

This study – the only one published which compares completely unvaccinated children with vaccinated kids, showed huge increases in chronic conditions in the vaccinated – including a 4.2X increased risk of autism.


Sadly, because they’ve been reduced from our sight, people get lazy in forgetting the carnage they can cause. I would encourage people to look at the science. No one who has seen a loved one maimed by polio, no one who has seen a child in an intensive care unit with measles, no one who’s seen someone killed by HIV meningitis questions the wisdom of the national immunisation program. Luckily, for some people, they’ve never seen these diseases, but vaccination, both childhood and adult, represents one of the most important weapons we have in terms of preventing disease.”

It is impossible in today’s Australia to ‘get lazy’ about vaccination. The government, the media and health authorities are very good at making sure nobody will ever forget when vaccines are due. And whilst it is true that 100 years ago and more, many children died of these diseases, these deaths were becoming a thing of the past well before the introduction of vaccines meant to prevent them.

As for seeing a child in intensive care with measles, deaths or serious morbidity from measles were a thing of the past well before the vaccine was introduced. But today, we have intensive care wards filled with children and adults whose conditions are caused by chronic conditions rather than infectious diseases. Many of these conditions are the result of vaccine injuries. Parents whose children have suffered or died from vaccines consider it to be hurtful in the extreme that their children are not considered worthy of the same respect as those few unfortunate families whose children have suffered or died from disease. 

Lastly, I believe you might have been referring to HiB meningitis – not HIV meningitis?

It is important to stress that vaccines are safe. Prior to being included on the Immunisation Schedule in Australia, new vaccines are carefully examined. Routine monitoring of vaccine safety also continues over time.

The TGA [Therapeutic Goods Administration] which is charged with licensing all therapeutic goods, receives no government funding to do this and hasn’t done so since the late 1990s. They operate under a policy called Cost Recovery where they are totally dependent on the manufacturers whose products they are meant to regulate. If they don’t license these products, they will not have the funding to continue operating. They do not ‘carefully examine’ any drugs or vaccines. These examinations are paid for, designed and carried out, for the most part, by the companies applying for licensure. Results which are negative are not published; independent oversight simply does not take place because our health department doesn’t pay for such studies and, as we saw with Vioxx, Relenza and a host of other products, post-licensure reaction reports, after tens of thousands have died and hundreds of thousands have been injured, are the way in which ‘routine monitoring’ is carried out.

Parents should be assured that the health of their children is an extremely important consideration for the scientific and medical experts that are involved in the implementation and delivery of the immunisation program in Australia.

This assurance is welcome, but how can we feel that our children are important if the health authorities will not even sit down and talk to us? If they will not listen to our concerns? If they will not join us in pushing for truly independent studies? If they won’t help us to urge the government to do the fully vaccinated vs fully unvaccinated studies that we have been requesting for so long?

The only way in which you will finally convince parents that vaccines are safe and effective for their children is to do an independent, transparently produced and conducted comparison between the health of the fully vaccinated vs the fully unvaccinated. If the AMA will join with the AVN in pushing for such a study and the results show what you obviously believe they will, then parents will flock to have their children vaccinated.

Routine infant and child immunisation is a proven, cost effective, public health measure that reduces the spread of communicable disease. It provides protection for the individual, as well as the wider community.

These statements are often heard, but never backed up by evidence. According to Australian government data, it is impossible to show that vaccines were involved in any way in the decline in either mortality or morbidity from infectious diseases over the last 100 years. Today’s generation of children is the sickest on record with over 50% of them being treated for at least one chronic condition; 25% being asthmatic; and a large number suffering from behavioural issues and/or learning difficulties. Childhood cancer is skyrocketing as are conditions like epilepsy and anaphylaxis. All these conditions have strong links to the administration of vaccines.

Platitudes about public health ring false when families are dealing with the reality of children who are constantly sick. These same parents witnessed their children’s conditions worsen after every vaccine; after every course of antibiotics. They have heard their doctors tell them that these conditions are ‘normal’ when they know that ‘normal’ does not mean a child who is taking medication every day for illnesses which were nearly unheard of when they themselves were growing up.

In addition, too many families of fully-vaccinated children have seen diseases like measles, whooping cough, chicken pox and more infecting their babies and they question why their doctors told them that this was the result of exposure to an unvaccinated person – not evidence of primary vaccine failure.

Parents are not stupid – and they deserve better reasons than these. They also deserve the truth.

As the peak organisation representing the interests of medical practitioners and a key advocate for measures that seek to protect and promote the health of those living in Australia, the AMA is a vocal supporter of routine childhood immunisation. Routine childhood immunisation was introduced in Australia in the 1930s and 1940s, with the introduction of Diphtheria vaccine, followed by Pertussis and then Polio vaccines. Vaccine innovation continues and the current Australian Immunisation Schedule protects infants and children from a broad range of diseases.  Parents should be assured that the health of their children is an extremely important consideration for the scientific and medical experts that are involved in the implementation and delivery of the immunisation program in Australia.

In many countries, including Australia, immunisation programs have achieved such success that many people are unaware of the serious health complications that can arise, permanently disabling or killing those infected by vaccine preventable diseases. This may be contributing to an apathy among some parents about the need to vaccinate their children. The rates of childhood immunisation in Australia are fairly high. According to the rolling immunisation rates produced by the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register, we have:

  • 93 per cent of children fully immunised at 12 months
  • 90.7 per cent of children fully immunised at 24 months (2 years), and
  • 92.9 per cent of children fully immunised at 60 months (5 years).

Despite these very high levels of complete vaccination, the reported incidence of whooping cough is the highest per capita since mass vaccination started in 1953. Such large increases in vaccination should have, were the vaccine effective, led to declines in reports – not increases.

I also recommend your read the Science of Immunisation booklet, which the AMA and the Australian Academy of Science jointly launched last year. This import publication states that medical conditions with unknown causes have been incorrectly linked to particular vaccines, such as the alleged link between the MMR vaccine and autism. It is important to emphasise the Academy’s wording:

“Many comprehensive studies subsequently ruled out this suggested link by showing conclusively that rates of autism are the same among children who have and have not been vaccinated. Ultimately, the original report was shown to be fraudulent, and was retracted by the medical journal that published it.”

Not only has the AVN read this booklet – representatives of our organisation met with the Chief Medical Officer’s staff and submitted fully-referenced data showing that vaccine effectiveness is overstated whilst its safety issues are downplayed or ignored. This information was ignored completely.

In addition, I believe you are mistaken when you say that many studies have compared autism in the vaccinated vs the unvaccinated and found there was no connection between vaccines and autism. To date, I am only aware of one published study that compared these two groups in relation to autism. The Mawson homeschool study[1] looked at a range of conditions in those who were fully vaccinated vs those who were fully unvaccinated. For autism, it found that the vaccinated were 4.2 times more likely to be autistic than those who were unvaccinated.

[1] http://info.cmsri.org/the-driven-researcher-blog/vaccinated-vs.-unvaccinated-guess-who-is-sicker

Source: https://avn.org.au/2017/10/michael_ganon_part_2/

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