The Vax and Anti-vax Battleground

-by Dee McLachlan

This morning the front page of the Herald Sun was plastered with “TROLLS SHAMED.” It cleverly lumped anti-vax people in one basket as militant and vitriolic.

“VICTORIAN Health Minister Jill Hennessy…  has shone a light on the practices of militant “anti-vaxxer” trolls by releasing a swath of their abusive messages, which include calls for her execution and prayers that she fall ill with cancer.”

It may be true that the minister received many foul and even threatening messages. Social media has provided a platform for bullies and venomous attacks.

(Not to mention the daily chore of the disinformation artists.)

I decided to research some of the comments on the minister’s Facebook posts.

For example, on the 19th of August, Hennessy shared a Daniel Andrews‘svideo on Facebook, writing:

“Vaccinations save lives. We need to challenge anti science, anti-vax propaganda. It’s dangerous.”

322 comments followed, with a debate of conflicting ideas, like this:

Anna Helen …Have you seen the interviews by Chris Savage, former Police Officer in QLD where he is confident in stating that all these SIDs and SBS cases he was called out to, to investigate, all had the same symptoms. …He needs to be careful too, as many Whistleblower Alternative Health Specialists who have Exposed the Fraudulent and Criminal nature of these Vaccines, have suddenly been found dead.

Linda WoodrowIn the 13 years covered in the last report, there have been no deaths in Australia from vaccinations. None. There is a national reporting system for “adverse events”, that means every death following a vaccination is investigated, even if it seems totally unrelated. Out of all those investigations, none were found to be caused by vaccinations. And no, there is no cover-up or conspiracy. 

I’ll direct Linda to the US Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The data declared states that over that 27 year time period, 15,040 petitions have been adjudicated, with 4,954 of those determined to be compensable. $3.4 billion has been paid as vaccine injury compensation.

Lower down the comments becomes personal:

Lynne Batik I see the anti-vaxx nutters have descended, with conspiracy theory sites, myths and things that have been long-debunked. 

Catherine Paull The safety and welfare of the entire community always takes precedence over the lunacy of a few.

Jude Orme Nicoll Anti science? Science shows that vaccines don’t work and they burden the body with toxins. Anti vax propaganda. Hahaha. That’s a joke. Vaccine is the propaganda playing on fear and fear alone. RESEARCH the facts Jill. If you research then you would never play with those needles like its a game. It’s no game.

Peter Martin  Anti vaxxers are a menace to society, uneducated buffoons who threaten the vulnerable. 

Ashleigh Byrne …whats dangerous is vaccinating the masses without proper genetic testing and the studies to show vaccine are safe for all genetics, my child has genetic mutations which prevent him from detoxing heavy metals like aluminum,mercury etc which is found in vaccines.This is well documented scientifically…  until the studies are done then I cant put my child at risk, take out the heavy metals and I’ll happily vaccinate my child. 

In the Herald Sun this morning, Hennessy is quoted as saying:

“People should be under no illusions: the anti-vaccination movement is not a group of peace-loving hippies, as some might assume. They are an organised group that peddle misinformation that is dangerous, and their advocacy techniques are unhelpful, abusive and downright rude,”

I remind Minister Hennessy  that bullying tactics were blatantly used  to get the Casltlemaine film festival to drop the film “VAXXED”.

The Herald Sun then published an image of the hateful tweets. One from “ausfreedom21” or as the Sydney Morning Herald reports, from @ausfreedom21 says:

“Jill Hennessy: vaccine liar, criminal, traitor, idiot, slag, dumbf—, poliphile, people like you should be executed you rag!…

Couldn’t Find asufreedom21

But I searched in vain on both Twitter and Facebook for @ausfreedom21. The results come up as “no results.”

I found it strange that all the hateful messages quoted by the Herald Sun were just first names: Karl, Joanna, Taleen, Wawasonqo, Allison, Sophia, Linda, Donna, Samantha, Patricia, Julie — then ausfreedom21.

These don’t appear to be Facebook names or Twitter handles.

It makes me wonder if Ms Hennessy has been set up with some fake messages to promote this story.

But to continue with the comments on her Facebook post:

Alec Duncan Anti-vaxxers are a tiny minority of deluded fools. Most Australians believe vaccination should be mandatory.

But much of the debate was dominated by a few people with countless comments (like Robyn and Elizabeth below):

Robyn Mather Catherine May, there is no such thing as a ‘wrong’ opinion. Stop being so closed minded and open yourself to both sides of the debate. [From Altona, 322 friends, suspicious of vaccinations]

Elizabeth Leigh Trescher Angela Coral whatever your stupid name is stop posting your dumb baseless opinion and cite some f*cking evidence. Your words are as empty as your head. [supporter of vaccinations]

I suspect there is more mandatory legislation in the wings after this media blitz today.

Paul’s Disturbing Comment 

I’ll conclude with a comment Paul wrote on Gumshoe the other day:

“…my partner was an Intellectual Disability Nurse back in the 80s when such nurses were trained over three years. Doesn’t happen anymore as the specialty has been killed off, but back then an examinable and seemingly unremarkable part of the body of knowledge was that around 10% of the Intellectual disability/retardation in Australia was attributed to vaccine injury. No controversy about it then, just a given, even seen as an acceptable risk. This is buried knowledge nowadays.”

Buried from Jill Hennessy to be sure. To Be sure.


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