The (Former) Australian Vaccination Network Starts The New Year With A Duhhhhh…

Because they can’t get a new name.

I thought “Misinformation For All” wasn’t taken.

All of my other suggestions are unprintable. Use your imagination.

Check out The Australian - “Anti-vaccine group struggling for new ID” by Rick Morton:

THE Australian Vaccination Network, which promotes the “benefits” of measles and believes vaccines cause autism, has lost its first battle to find a new name.

The failed attempt came just days before legislation in NSW that bans parents from enrolling children in childcare centres if they can’t provide immunisation records, or a legitimate exemption, took effect.

One interesting development:

The Australian has identified a failed attempt by the organisation to “reserve” the name Australian Vaccination – Sceptics Network with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission.

In the wake of the failed attempt, other members of the public rushed to register the name as well as Australian Vaccination Skeptics.

Network president Greg Beattie said he “did not care” whether the attempt at a new name provoked more attempts to expose the group as unscientific. “We have reserved the name but we haven’t registered it,” he said.

Apparently they consider themselves fair in their “skepticism” of vaccinations, which is not how scientific skeptics see the term “skeptic”, but it’s understandable how the commonly understood use of the term might lead them in that direction.

Will this mean the end of the former AVN? I somehow doubt it. While people may be reserving names (to prevent them snapping them up? I hope it’s not going to break the bank – apparently it’s $30 to reserve a name for a year), the determination of possibly thousands of people who are “skeptical” (in the other way) are still going to be banding together to pass on their doubts about vaccination. Is it futile?

I am a little heartened by media reports that have popped up in my local paper: Chickenpox vaccine campaign:

WA health officials will launch a campaign in the new year to convince parents to vaccinate their toddlers against chickenpox, amid concerns many believe the viral infection is relatively harmless.

It is part of a move by disease experts to try to improve WA’s overall childhood vaccination rate of 91 per cent in two-year-olds, the lowest in Australia.

And in international news:

And you thought vaccination against cervical cancer is what only women need to deliberate upon? Wrong.

Debunking earlier researches, a new study has found that women are more than twice as likely as men to pass on the human papilloma virus (HPV) – the primary cause for the development of cervical cancer… “While we’ve thought about vaccination in women for a long time, vaccination in men is also important,” Alan Nyitray, assistant professor at University of Texas’ School of Public Health, was quoted as saying.

“Vaccination in both sexes is a good idea,” he added.

And from the Northern Star? Happy New Year! Unvaccinated kids can’t be enrolled from today. I should imagine, however, that kids who cannot be legitimately vaccinated due to other health reasons will be okay though – building the herd immunity is important for them too.

In the meantime, I imagine there’ll be an ongoing brainstorm for a new AVN name, until they finally settle for one. Then a new campaign against whatever their new name will begin again. Hopefully before more business names are reserved.

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About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • Richard Hall

    Regarding your article from the Northern Star, it saddens me that that parents are still able to get a conscientious objector exemption. I feel they should be penalised for their willingness to put the general population at risk, and shouldn’t be allowed to risk kids whose parents are doing or can’t do the right thing. However, it’s still useful legislation if it prompts people who have just forgotten and/or don’t feel strongly about it.

    • K Sturgess

      I think that for those who can’t vaccinate, it’s an option? I don’t know if it counts if your doctor recommends that you opt out due to health issues like compromised immune system.