MULLUMBIMBY has the lowest vaccination rate in Australia. Only one in two children has been vaccinated there.
It was at the epicentre of the 2009-12 whooping cough epidemic that claimed the lives of two babies in the area, but now many of the town’s inhabitants have a problem with the new No Jab No Pay laws that strip benefits from those who refuse to vaccinate their children.
At a meeting last Sunday called “Mandatory Vaccinations” the 300 or so attendees did not come to hear “the medical and scientific facts about vaccines” as billed (this was not offered anyway); they came for validation: to indulge their conspiracy theories and to pat each other on the back for the area’s 50 per cent vaccination rate, the lowest in the country.
This, they think, is because they are “more conscious” than the rest of us “sheeple”, smarter than 99.9 per cent of the world’s scientific and medical communities and attuned to a worldwide plot to depopulate the human race.
From the moment the meeting was opened with Mullumbimby introduced as “the black sheep capital of the country’” to wild applause, you knew all had guzzled from the chai-infused Kool-Aid.
Inside, I was transported into a patchouli-scented, steamy alternative universe where all rationale was suspended and replaced by terrifying plots by big government, big pharma, big media and even big airline, all colluding to pin kids down and stick them full of cancer-causing nasties.
The “expert panel” had none; instead, the usual suspects fronted up. Meryl Dorey, the former president of the disgraced Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network, and the new president Tasha David were on hand to “prove” that Australia was “a testing ground for the rest of the world”.
A paralegal, not a lawyer, suggested everyone write a letter of complaint asking for a review about the new No Jab No Pay laws and “this would collapse the system”.
Then naturopath Brett Smith, who introduced himself as “a Sydney quack”, suggested people tell their doctors that their children are sensitive to gelatine or yeast because that may be “a medical contraindication” which is now the only exemption allowed to claim family tax benefits without vaccinating.
“If you show your child is hypersensitive to gelatine, your child should get a medical exemption,” he said.
Then Kathy Scarborough from Vaccine Information South Australia got up and told everyone “we have children diagnosed with diabetes, asthma and autism” and this was all due to vaccines.
There is not one shred of legitimate science that backs up any of those claims.
The fraudulent Wakefield paper from 1997 linking autism and vaccination has now been debunked by hundreds of studies that were done in its wake to investigate, but here, junk science ruled the day.
Next up a woman stood up and said her child was recently vaccine injured as a result of No Jab No Pay. She had taken her three-year-old to the doctor in December with bronchitis and had decided to put her on a vaccination catch-up schedule.
Through tears she said five days later her child had “bumps and rashes and threw up her almond milk”.
The child was diagnosed with HSP, which is an immune response to a virus or a bacterium.
This, she said was due to the vaccines, even though the medical literature documents that in two-thirds of cases, a respiratory infection had preceded it.
But it was not the bronchitis, of course, it was the dreaded vaccines. She then told everyone it was clearing up (which HSP does naturally) because she was giving her toddler cannabis oil in a tincture.
Natural or not, cannabis is a drug, but this was met with applause for her genius.
Then Dr Rima Laibow joined the meeting via Skype from Chile.
This American GP told everyone that vaccines were nothing but “a marketing tool to make pharmaceutical companies rich”, “to create you as a customer” and that “it is clear science that injecting pus and poison prevents no disease and cures no disease”.
Again these hysterical claims were met with applause.
What hurts the Mullumbimby lot the most is that No Jab No Play/Pay is starting to work.
Conscientious objector numbers reduced by 25 per cent in one year and even the rates of vaccination in Mullumbimby, though still ridiculously low, have risen more than 10 per cent.
Maybe lunacy has had its day.