Newsletter 141 Open Letter, Australian Journalists, Re Lobby Groups and Vaccination
In Australia, pro-vaccine lobby group activists are being allowed to denigrate academic research and academic institutions in the mainstream media, if the research does not support their own personal beliefs. These stories are being published without any supportive evidence and journalists are not making these lobby group activists accountable or investigating the academic research on vaccines. Here is a letter I have sent to several journalists who have written false or misleading stories about my PhD research on vaccination policies. This letter was also sent to many UOW academics requesting the evidence for the newspaper articles that have disparaged my PhD thesis. The University did not provide any evidence for the claims and it stands by the assessment of my thesis. Therefore the public is being misinformed by lobby group activists and this information can harm human health:
Open Letter to Australian Journalists
14 December 2016
On the 20 January 2016 John Cunningham, a medical practitioner and lobby group activist, who has no connection to the University of Wollongong (UOW), was given a voice in the mainstream media to disparage, without evidence, the assessment of my university PhD thesis (see letter below) – a thesis that the UOW is standing by and which provides evidence that the government’s vaccination program provides more risks than benefits to human health. The real question is why has a pro-vaccine lobby group activist who is not associated with the University of Wollongong been allowed to disparage academic research (as well as my supervisor and the University of Wollongong) in the mainstream media without accountability?
There was no evidence provided for the disparaging comments John Cunningham made and he is a known leader/administrator of the pro-vaccine lobby groups – SAVN, Friends of Science in Medicine and the Australian Skeptics Inc – that provide biased information to the public about vaccines. (It is known that 93% of 'patient advocacy' lobby groups in the US are funded by drug and medical giants).
It seems that there are doctors that are being allowed to provide false and misleading health information in the media, as well as disparaging academic research, and there are no journalists who will investigate this topic. Further, UOW Professor Heather Yeatman’s comment on vaccines on the UOW website (supported by 60 other academics) is providing false and misleading claims about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. This is because the appropriate studies to demonstrate safety and efficacy have never been done. This is called “undone science” and it is described in my PhD thesis published on the UOW website.
The evidence in my PhD thesis has not been addressed by Heather Yeatman in her claims on the UOW website. Hence her claims are an “opinion” that is not evidence-based. Until the evidence in my PhD thesis is addressed in an open and transparent debate, these individuals (who have not addressed all the literature) and the University of Wollongong will be responsible for promoting misinformation to the public that can harm human health. This is a prosecutable offence under the Criminal Code Act and I have previously asked UOW to remove this non-evidence based comment from the website.
I am attaching a document that demonstrates an example of the fear mongering about infectious diseases that journalists are presenting in the mainstream media. This false and misleading information about HPV infections and cervical cancer is damaging human health and it needs to be debated by academics in the media – not lobby group activists or journalists making false claims about university research. I am also providing this assessment of the HPV vaccine by Dr. Suzanne Humphries that provides evidence of its lack of proven safety, efficacy and necessity against cervical cancer – Dr. Suzanne Humphries on Gardasil
I am requesting in the interests of community health that journalists investigate the evidence in my PhD thesis and present these arguments accurately to the public in the mainstream media. Please note that if you, and the academics copied into this email, choose to remain silent (and keep your names on the UOW website), your silence will be observed by the concerned global community. Australians have a right to be involved in an open and transparent debate of this topic and journalists have a duty to provide unbiased information on the medical literature – by academics who have studied the literature.
Judy Wilyman PhD
The Science and Politics of Australia's Vaccination Policies