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Woodford Folk Festival

“Vaccination Saves Lives” Campaign

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Vaccination advocates urge Woodfordians, “Look to the heavens for

inspiration during Dorey speech”

Following two weeks of intense public pressure, the Woodford Folk Festival has cancelled a solo
presentation by Meryl Dorey of the Australian [anti] Vaccination Network. In its place will be a panel
discussion between Ms Dorey and Professor Andreas Suhrbier, head of the immunovirology
laboratory at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. The discussion will be moderated by Dr
John Parker, a veteran of Doctors without Borders.

This is an important concession on behalf of the organisers, but does not go far enough. Ms Dorey
should never have been booked to appear at the Festival. Certainly, once organisers realized a public
health warning had been issued against Ms Dorey’s organisation by the NSW Health Care Complaints
Commission, and that the AVN had its fundraising authority revoked by the NSW Office of Liquor,
Gaming and Racing for 23 breaches of the act, Ms Dorey’s invitation should have been withdrawn.

While unhappy that Ms Dorey will still be speaking at Woodford, the Stop the
AVN Facebook group, a loose-knit consortium of concerned citizens, scientists,
doctors and nurses, decided to use a little humour in order to have ‘the last

The group has hired an aircraft to fly over the Woodford Folk Festival site
during the two hours surrounding Ms Dorey’s appearance.

Between 1.45 and 3.45pm (Brisbane Time) on Thursday, 29 December, the

plane will tow a banner with the message: VACCINATION SAVES LIVES.

Volunteers will be on the ground to hand out flyers after Ms Dorey’s appearance in the Blue Lotus
tent at 2.15pm. The flyer addresses some of the myths about vaccination and counters them with

Despite her claims to the contrary, Ms Dorey is not an expert, nor does she hold any qualification, in
medicine, science, statistics or immunology.
There is no debate about the safety or efficacy of vaccines within the mainstream medical and
scientific communities – that is, among experts in the field.

The allegation that vaccines are not safe or effective is discredited by scientific evidence and relates
to a wider set of new age conspiracy theories involving concerns about ‘one world government’, the
Illuminati, chemtrails and AIDS denialism. This is the kind of ideology which informs Ms Dorey’s
creative reinterpretation of the scientific data.

Ms Dorey plays down this aspect of her beliefs in her public appearances, explaining to her Yahoo
group on 29 July, 2009:

“While we are already seen as rabid, idiotic fringe-dwellers by so many in the mainstream, it
does our argument no good at all to bring in conspiracy theories which, though we may
subscribe to them, are unprovable.” (Emphasis added.)

While almost every medication has the potential to create adverse reactions in certain individuals,
the risk of a reaction more serious than a little localised pain and swelling and a slight fever after a
vaccination is exceedingly small. The medical and scientific overwhelmingly agree that the benefits
of vaccination far outweigh any small risk.

Available for interviews:

The “Stop the AVN” group –

National –
Peter Bowditch - 0419 219 659
Ken McLeod - 0466 261 666

Queensland (Sunshine Coast) – rys tevenson - 0403 752 278 or 07 5445 7270


What will the banner say?


How long is the banner?

Unknown. The maximum number of characters that can be towed is around 30, our message
(including spaces) is 23.

When is the flight going to be at Woodford?

From 1.45pm to 3.45pm (Brisbane Time) on Thursday, 29 December - half an hour on either side of
the vaccination forum (Blue Lotus speakers’ tent – 2.15pm).

How high will the flight be in the vicinity of Woodford?

Around 500ft above ground level. For Sydneysiders this is the height light aircraft fly past Bondi
beach. Elsewhere if you live near a small airfield, this is the height aircraft will make their final turn to
line up with the runway when coming in to land.

How close will the aircraft come to the festival?

The aircraft will remain within sight of the festival at all times, although this could be several
kilometres away. It will make nearer passes every few minutes.

Will the aircraft disrupt the festival?

No, and that is not our intention. The company says it has towed banners at the Woodford festival in
the past. We have been assured that engine noise at ground level will be moderate and probably
hard to hear over the festival itself. We hope if anything it will provide a spectacle to festival goers,
and pass on a message we hope they'll consider.

What kind of aircraft is it?

A Bellanca Citabria

Is there any reason the flight may not go ahead?

The flight will not go ahead in bad weather (low cloud and/or thunderstorms). We will confirm with
the operators once an aviation area forecast is available on Thursday morning.

What did the flight cost?

$2,800, or less than 1% of the Australian Vaccination Network's audited revenue for 2010/11(!)

How many people contributed?

34 Stop the Australian Vaccination Network (SAVN) members including students and pensioners
contributed amounts from $15 to $300

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