Anti-Vaccine Charity, No More

By Darcy Cowan 07/11/2012 108

Last year I wrote a series of posts[1] around the Charitable organisation Immunisation Awareness Society and a complaint I had made to the Charities Commission. The Thrust of these posts and the complaint was that the Society does not fulfill the requirements of a charity and should be removed from the register. The effect of this is that they would also be stripped of their tax exempt status.

This indeed was my main goal. There are innumerable groups out there that I don’t agree with but you get that in a wide and varied world. In the case of the IAS though the speech they engage is is effectively publicly subsidised via the tax exemption, this should mean that they are constrained in what they can say. At the very least it should mean that they must present the facts undistorted by ideology.

Yesterday I found out that the Charities Commission agrees with me. In a decision handed down late last month they determined that the IAS does not qualify for charitable status and removed them from the charities register.

So, I guess you could say – I won.

It the words of one of my colleagues it also shows that one person can make a difference. Clichéd but true.

Reading through the Charities Commission decision it seems they focused on two things:

1. The biased nature of the information provided by the IAS and;

2. The political nature of their campaigning for a change in public policy.

This makes sense given the requirements that the Commission need to fulfil to determine whether an organisation meets the requirements to be a charity. Even so I’m a bit disappointed that there was no focus on the factual inaccuracy of and misrepresentation in the materials published by the IAS.

The decision does seem to skirt this line though when stating that  “Overwhelmingly, the information on the website argues that vaccination is ineffective and dangerous” the inference being that is view is incorrect as well as being biased. Even so, none of the language of the report actually states this outright (that I can see).

There was also an additional point touched on that merely providing information does not in and of itself “advance education”. In other words to be an educational charity you actually have to actively educate people, not simply act as a repository of information – otherwise every private citizen with a decent library or informational website could become a charity.

Finally, in my personal 15 minutes of fame, the Commissions decision has been reported in the Dominion Post – complete with a quote from me. Not my most eloquent moment but it’s close enough to the point I wanted to make that I’m fairly happy.

[Edit: Thanks goes to commenter Hemlock for sharing the IAS response to this news]


1.  And here they are in all their tedious glory:

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Filed under: Medicine, Sciblogs, Science, skepticism Tagged: Health and Medicine, IAS complaint, Science and Society, Vaccination, Vaccine

108 Responses to “Anti-Vaccine Charity, No More”

  • Well done Darcy. I’m proud of your achievement. This ruling should go some way to showing confused parents that the IAS is not a reliable source of information to help with a vaccination decision. The IAS clearly do NOT support an informed choice given their blatantly biased point of view.

    I agree it is a pity the Commission didn’t go further and examine how the actual claims are usually misleading. I’m sure this would have disqualified the IAS on other charitable requirements as well.

    Anyway, congratulations in a worthwhile achievement.

  • Both the IAS website and their Facebook page still claim they are a “charitable organisation” (their words). I’d like to think that they were informed of their change in status shortly after the decision in October – if so, they’ve had plenty of time to remove the now-incorrect words, surely?

    I don’t know what’s required of organisations that lose their charitable status, but it might be appropriate that they are obliged to publicly advise their members/followers of their change in status. So far at least, I see nothing on the IAS Facebook or website pages, nor any of the local forums that offer similar material or views.

    • Indeed, I checked the IAS website after I found out (Much after the decision) and was surprised that there wasn’t even a passing mention of how unfair the world is that they have been stripped of their status.
      Looks like they want to keep it low key – which probably works out well for them as otherwise it would bring a lot more attention on what their claims actually are.

  • I’ve nothing against them wanting to keep it low key, it’d almost be expected, but to not inform their readers and followers at all is not being forthcoming and open. If they haven’t informed them, it seems dishonest to me – it’d leave many believing that their status is as it was previously. It’d be akin to the board at a shareholders’ meeting not disclosing changes relevant to the shareholders. Personally, my feeling is that unless IAS fronts up very soon followers should think carefully about how honest the organisation is in the same way that shareholders might of a company that doesn’t disclose changes.

    In any event, they’ve no excuse for not updating the website and Facebook page. (Bear in mind I’m assuming they were informed promptly after the decision was made – in that case they’ve had around two weeks to put these right and to inform readers and followers of the change.)

  • Darcy,

    You mention two ways, writing ‘either way’. As a third (and what I was after), they could have put out a short factual statement saying that they are no longer a charitable organisation. That’s neither making a big stink or sweeping it under the rug.

    I’d have thought a statement like that would just be expected from most organisations – most try to inform their readers/followers of developments in the organisation. Anyway, I guess I’ll just have to leave it as a reflection of the organisation’s character they haven’t. Just my opinion and all.

    “In big headed news:” – Good to see you’re getting attention :-)

  • Brilliantly done, Darcy. One man can make a difference and make the world a (slightly) better place.

  • Ken – is there anything in the NZ ruling you could use to revive the case of Mad Meryl and the AVN?

    • Seems like there should be doesn’t it?

      The decision seems to make a big deal about them being biased – check for AVN.
      Also about political aims – not sure about AVN, could make a case there.

      [Edit – this was to Mythbuster, forgot no threading in these comments :(]

  • Simon Singh! Whoa! Jealous much.
    This has now gone international and that is a very good thing.


  • Has somebody told Orac yet?

    Darcy you are a star right now and deserve to bask in the rosy glow of our admiration. Enjoy it!

  • A mention from Orac would be awesome! Can I have your autograph then? 😉

    Dr Paul Offit next, eh? :-)

  • Mythbuster, I thought about telling him when I heard but then it kind of passed me by.
    Now I’m not sure on best method of contact – can’t find an email on RI, so comment on a post? Pester him professional email (that doesn’t sound good).

  • Darcy, there used to be a contact email address on Respectful Insolence. I wonder where it’s got to? Grant might know.

    I’ve just been reading a very poorly written piece on that ghastly IAS website which includes this shocking lie:

    “Homeopathic vaccinations are an effective and safe alternative to conventional vaccines and worth researching. Homeopathics can also be used to detox the side effects of vaccinations.”

    What can we do about this, while we’re on a roll?

  • Mythbuster, it’s probably still there and I just don’t know where to look.

    excuse my initialised french.

    What to do about it. Well that is the question isn’t it? They may not be a charity anymore but that doesn’t stop the drivel…

  • Mythbuster,

    There’s an incredible amount of nonsense on IAS. In fact, I suspect almost every claim will prove to be inaccurate when looked at closely. (I’ve done this for just a couple of their articles and that’s what I found to be the case. The article you’re thinking off looks to be another example of this – it’s got a string of inaccurate claims.)

    I’ve got the RI email address in my address book. Well, I hope it’s still there. Perhaps I could knock up something against that piece myself, except I’ve things I really ought to be doing and knowing me I’d want to deal with each of the many inaccurate statements it makes – there’s a lot of them.

    Just as an aside: Hilary Butler, the founder of IAS, offered homeopathic remedies for treatment of radiation illness.

    As a footnote, it looks as if the NZ Herald has no accepted my comment. I have to admit I am getting increasingly concerned about how the media websites are knocking out comments.

  • I reckon IAS is counting on some publicity from this ruling, because they’ve very recently added a whole lot of really crazy, foaming at the mouth anti-vax pieces – all written in a very amateur style – and some I suspect have been copied from US sites and ‘New Zealandised’. The interesting thing is that they’re no longer pretending to be balanced or unbiassed. They’re just letting it all hang out. I guess they’ve got nothing to lose!

  • Mythbuster,

    My own reading of things is that started before the decision and more likely (in my opinion) reflects a changing of the guard within the organisation – see the new officers listed on under the (then) charity’s details. They updated the website a while back and more recently started a writing campaign.

    Whatever the case, the articles certainly aren’t an even weighing of evidence and presenting conclusions as you’d want to see from an organisation claiming to offer ‘an informed choice’.

  • Grant, was considering the lack of response from IAS RE changing their status. I’m woudering whether they actually need to. They can still be a charity without being registered I think. So continuing to call themselves a “Charitable organisation” may still be acurate.

    From the Charities Commission website:
    “being registered as a charity is voluntary, and some charities have chosen not to be registered with the Commission.”

    Another reason I view this as more of a symbolic victory, they get to carry on as usual – but not get tax exempt status as well.

  • It still doesn’t excuse them from not informing their readers/followers of their change of status and I still don’t think they should be using the term either.

    Bear in mind, I’m not looking for ‘victory’ here – just that they be held to be fair. They can still accept donations—we all can for that matter—I just doubt they should use the term ‘charitable organisation’.

    For example, IRD defines:

    “Charitable organisations are organisations (whether incorporated or not) that carry out charitable activities or exist exclusively for charitable purposes.”

    (Note to my reading they apply this regardless of if the organisation applies for tax exemptions.) This is pretty much a tautological definition, charitable organisations are those that are charitable.

    My understanding is that IAS does not “carry out charitable activities or exist exclusively for charitable purposes”. Ergo, they fall the test for using the term in my opinion.

    Recruiting donations for an activity doesn’t make you charitable. It’s the nature of the activities that do (or not).

    Promoting or lobbying a position, what the commission ruled drew attention to, is not a ‘charitable activity’ as far as I can see. It’s plain for all to see that this is what the IAS stands for, both from the content of their ‘messages’ and the objectives they list on their ‘About’ page, none of which would be described as ‘charitable’ as far as I can see. Their objectives all about pushing their viewpoint.

    They’re entitled to voice whatever views they have, but voicing views is not being ‘charitable’.

    My own view of this is like businesses who give misleading descriptions of themselves. Organisations should take the same care of duty as businesses in this respect.

    They run an organisation, yes. But they don’t run a charitable organisation as far as I can see.

    This doesn’t preclude them from accepting donations. Anyone can do that. People can donate to my scientific work, for example. (I’d welcome it, too!)

    In my opinion the IAS should strip the references to ’charitable organisation’ – it’s inaccurate and misleading. The commission’s findings highlighted that their objectives are not charitable. If they wish to call for donations they should just make a direct call, as they do elsewhere on their website.

  • I believe it was Tertullian’s idea that “the blood of the martyr is the seed of the [cause.]”

    Enjoy the moment as history shows it won’t make any difference medium or long term other than make the ‘victim’s cause’ more determined.

  • Grant, IAS’s use of the term Charitable Organisation is fully legal.

    This from the IRD website: Charitable organisations are organisations (whether incorporated or not) that carry out charitable activities or exist exclusively for charitable purposes. Since 1 July 2008 a charitable organisation needs to be registered by the Charities Commission to receive tax exemptions.

    Income tax and charitable organisations

    Charitable organisations are liable for income tax if they operate with no written rules, constitution or trust deed or they operate under a set of rules, a constitution or a trust deed that does not meet the requirements for income tax exemption or they use business income for charitable purposes outside New Zealand. Learn about rates of income tax, when to file returns and possible exemptions.

    Registration of charities

    The Charities Commission maintains a register of charitable entities that opened on 1 February 2007. Registration is voluntary, but if a charity wishes to be exempt from income tax and donors of gifts exempt from gift duty it will need to register.

  • Paul,

    I have to admit I find your response odd, as if you haven’t read what I wrote. You offer cut’n’pastes of the same starting points as I used (as you aware of that?) but don’t explain why you seem to think different from the same sources. You’ll note I went pass cut’n’paste to note that both imply that the use of the term ‘charitable’ goes with doing charitable activities, which I don’t see the IAS as doing. Perhaps you’re confusing the idea that you don’t have to be registered to be a charitable organisation, which is a different thing.

    (You also seem to be thinking that somewhere I’ve said what they doing is illegal (as opposed to inaccurate or misleading). I haven’t actually done that. In fact, I believe I wrote clearly that I don’t what the case is. I do see it as misleading given none of their stated objectives are charitable as far as I can see. I did in passing wonder if it might be made an obligation, partly because it seems unclear, and partly because makes the these rulings a bit pointless (not to mention gutless) if organisations can just pretend they didn’t happen.)

  • Paul,
    “I believe it was Tertullian’s idea that “the blood of the martyr is the seed of the [cause.]”
    Enjoy the moment as history shows it won’t make any difference medium or long term other than make the ‘victim’s cause’ more determined.”

    A little dramatic don’t you think Paul? Their charitable tax status has been withdrawn, not dragged into the streets and beaten.
    And which “victims” are you talking about? I guess not those who IAS convince not to vaccinate and then have to deal with the consequences?

  • Just popped over to the IAS site for a look. I see how all the comments on the articles are closed – great way to stop anyone challenging your poorly constructed arguments and “facts”.
    I note there is an article about “Cyber Bullying the “Anti” Vaccine Movement”. I would have thought a more appropriate title would be “(cyber) bullying by the anti-vaccine movement” given how for example in the USA they have physically threatened vaccine researchers and the AVN, the Australian anti-vaccine lobby group mounted a vicious campaign against the parents of a baby who died of whooping cough and then dared to speak out on the importance of immunisation.

    Quite frankly I find it obscene for anti-vaccine groups to whine about cyberbullying when they and their ilk have inflicted outrageously cruel levels of bullying on their opponents.

  • They’ve gotten around to posting on it. Anyone would think that having to submit a tax return and (possibly) pay some tax somehow stops people from speaking out because…silencing. How, I can’t figure it out. They never constrained their speech anyway, and that put them in breach of the rules for charitable organisations that they needed to comply with to retain that status. I think given that, they have to accept that they, themselves, were largely at fault for losing their charitable status.

  • @Hemlock,

    Hilarious – thank you.
    For someone with no spare time she has written quite a bit to say very little.

    As you say, they broke the rules themselves. Perhaps they thought they would never have to be held accountable. And how getting tax exemption means they’re silenced or that I’m silencing them in any way – I’m not sure…

    Oh well…. we’ll see if the righteous indignant show up as I originally though they would.

  • Their ‘response’ includes examples of the inaccuracies that have been my focus.

    The article of mine that they cite as evidence of this, is clearly set around the point that if they are to be offering ‘informed choice’ (their slogan), then their content should be “be accurate, be presented fairly and the organisation should not push a particular view.” – whereas their article advocates, or pushes, a particular view with no critical examination and is repeatedly inaccurate and misleading.

    They claim my focus is to “make life a bit harder for” them. This despite that, in that article they offer to support this claim I encouraged my readers not to harass them, the opposite of what they have attributed to me. This is what I wrote there: “(A word to the wise. I am not encouraging people to hassle this group. If you must offer comments there, please be polite. I would encourage people to instead offer their responses here.)”

    Part of the reason I wrote that is that I have no interest in hassling their followers or readers. My concerns are with the inaccurate, misleading and inflammatory claims made and offered to others.

    Similarly, they write that I “have tried to silence the IAS”. Not true – that wouldn’t be possible as people are entitled to their opinions (as I wrote earlier in this thread). I have, however, pointed out inaccuracies in what they offer. I have pointed out that they are not offering balanced ‘information’ but advocating an anti-vaccine position, despite their claims otherwise. I’ve also pointed at the lack of open discussion on their forums. Authors and organisers of organisations of any organisation are open to criticism – that comes with presenting an organisation or material in public.

  • Just read the open letter to Darcy, Ben and Grant. It’s pretty boring and repetitive isn’t it? Basically she’s claiming they want to give people what she describes as ‘information,’ but which is actually lies and misinformation aimed at putting parents off vaccinating their children. Sad stuff really but exactly what you’d expect from a zealaous fringe group!

  • That’s the whole thing. They live in a fairyland where all children are all loved and indulged and there’s money for good food and clean, comfortable living conditions. Try engaging them on the subject of vaccines for third world children and they don’t want to know. Sadly in some parts of NZ conditions are close to those of the third world (look at poor baby JJ – on the news this minute) but these arrogant idiots just don’t give a damn. Thank goodness for that lovely South Auckland Plunket nurse who got an award a few weeks ago for lifting immunisation rates in South Auckland significantly!

  • It’s a bit difficult to judge a phantom study. Furthermore what constitutes “autism symptoms” in a monkey..?

  • Thanks Jim, I thought perhaps this might be new news but as Grant points out, it’s neither new nor news.
    Interesting how the same old tripe gets trotted out as if it’s just occurred.

  • I didn’t know about beyond vaccination.
    Regardless I don’t think either are charities – just private citizens with their own views. Which they are entitled to have. I may disagree with it and think they are conspiracy minded misinformation mongers but I have no legal right to curtail their speech.

  • Beyond conformity and beyond vaccination aren’t registered charities, right? Oh well, at least they outwardly look nutty. The IAS however has (except for their blog contents) somewhat more effective, and by effective I mean misleading, marketing.

  • @Ben: “Case in point, the IAS are still lying about being a charity:

    Yeah, a sticky point. As far as I can tell anyone can call themselves a “charitable organisation” and not have to do anything to justify it. But they can’t get tax exemption either.

    So legally they aren’t “lying”, one could argue they are being deceptive, it all depends on intent.

    Is the intent to make people believe they are still a recognised, legally registered charity? or is it to convey they are a not-for-profit organisation?
    – a grey line I think and regardless of the intent perhaps we could look at the effect -> do people who read this statement believe the organisation is a legitimate charity (restricting “legitimate” to legally recognised)?

  • I guess this isn’t really news—just idle gossip!—but that’s OK, right? :-) Another example of IAS’ pushing a stance and avoidance of genuine discussion might be their recent run of blocking people who’ve written on their Facebook page.

    My impression is the IAS Facebook page was offered as a ‘suggested’ page in some people’s timelines, a “feature” I have mixed feelings about. Some of these people seem to have thought the IAS Facebook page and website were a bit much and wrote on the IAS Facebook page to say so. IAS let them write for a bit, but then started blocking people whose views were different – a familiar story. In particular, one writer who was blocked was quite polite and constructive.

    They’ve since posted saying they’ll block people writing from ‘false profiles’ and that they have blocked one person for this. To me this seems a variant on blocking people because they use pseudonyms and too easily used as an excuse. They’re also not saying that they have blocked other people in the same time-frame including at least one who, as far as I can tell, used their real names – so pointing at ‘false profiles’ isn’t the full story and it appears they’re not telling their readers that.

  • Yes, I’ve notice that within anti-vaccine camps there is a consistent policy of censoring any contradicting information and (dishonestly) denying doing so. The AVN use the same tactic. I guess pseudoscientists and quacks have good reason to fear outside information though.
    It seems a bit cultish to me.

  • Also @ Darcey, given the IAS’ track record of deceptive marketing, I’d say they are using “charitable” to imply legitimacy.

  • Ben, that may be true. But I prefer to assume people are acting truthfully as they see it until proven otherwise.

    If I don’t then I’ll start thinking like them and seeing liars everywhere.

  • I have to agree with Darcy on this.

    It’s entirely possible, if not likely, that they believe a thing, but believe that wrongly, which is a different thing to being a liar to me. To me (at least) a liar is someone who, at some level, knows they’re saying something that is not true, that there is intent to mislead. Intent is the key concept.

    There may be no lie as such simply because they believe wrongly so completely that they think they are telling the truth. (For a comparison, in a discussion with a committed creationist the untruths come thick and fast, but they’re not trying to deceive, there’s no intent to mislead.)

    I do see things IAS not presenting the balance, so that what they offer is quite one-sided.

    (They also have a habit of praising readers for presenting utter rubbish. As an example, one recent commenter who described herself as ‘a serious scientist’ presented the notion that polio was caused by DDT, not the polio virus, and got praised by one of the organisers for offering the idea.)

  • None of this is new of course, but their willingness to pat each other on the back for reinforcing their preheld ideals and congratulating for affirming “research”, blocking people who suggest anything otherwise and refusing (or being incapable) to answer any questions does not add up to an “informed choice”.

    More’s the pity, people who are concerned genuinely fall for it as they can’t discriminate against actual research and the perpetuation of IAS’s opinions, which are then taken as medical advice.

  • One thing I wouldn’t mind seeing them doing (but I can’t see them doing) is to offer up front a pointer to the IMAC discussion forum as a disclaimer offer (of sorts) / balance / whatever.

  • Agreed Grant, on both accounts.

    They explicitly stated that they think IMAC can’t be trusted as it is not neutral. Oh, the irony.

  • From the IAS Facebook page, offered without comment:

    Eugénie Krüger: ‘The IAS IS Pro-choice, it IS pro-information and the IAS IS open to debate and discussion without a biased agenda.’

  • Re: Eugénie Krüger: ‘The IAS IS Pro-choice, it IS pro-information and the IAS IS open to debate and discussion without a biased agenda.’

    How interesting! So where do I go for these debates and discussions? Eugenie, no doubt you’re reading this. Where is your forum? It’s not on the IAS website as far as I can see. Please reply!

  • Mythbuster,

    Just to fill you in, IAS allow discussions on their Facebook page but toss people off whose opinions differ if they offer more than a couple of comments with the effect that there is no, or very little, open discussion. When people are tossed off, their comments disappear, so there’s no record of what they offered.

    It’s certainly biased. They’re an advocacy group so that’s to be expected, but why not just say it?

    It’s not really pro-information, but ‘pro-’ information that suits their agenda and ‘anti-’ everything else.

  • See, it’s that kind of misleading stuff that leads me to be cynical about their* intentions in general. I can’t help but reason that they know what to say to appear neutral although most likely they are delusional enough to believe their misleading style is for the greater good. I guess I class them as “lying for jesus” in the same way creationists do.

    * Well, the head honchos at least – the people suckered into conspiracy thinking by the likes of Hillary Butler and Eugénie Krüger aren’t to blame.

  • Very interesting, thanks Andrea.
    IAS has a bit more ambiguity on it’s side if anyone here was to try the same thing.

    I’m curious about the sanctions in play here, the story headline says “shut down” but the story itself says “deregistration”.
    Which doesn’t imply the the group can no longer exist in the same way “shutting down” does.

  • Darcy,

    That’ll be the “headline problem” rearing it’s head again. Headlines (and sometimes the opening ledes) generally aren’t written by the journalist, but by editors who seem routinely to oversell the articles… I presume they mean shut down the registered group, so that, if they continue, they’d have to be an informal group.

    Either way it’s interesting the Australians are able to hold up a name conflict.

    Slightly different perhaps, but IAS do have conflicts with what they claim they offer and what they do offer. (I toyed with a post on this, but I’d have to go back and see if you’ve already covered that given you’ve written so much! – and I haven’t time and have other things I’d like to write about.)

  • Thanks Grant, Don’t think I’ve addressed that aspect directly, though it might have been touched on in passing. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that parents are (for want of a better word) tricked into thinking they are a credible source.

  • From my complaint:

    “In 2004, just prior to the Vaccine Coverage survey, a study was performed* to see what reasons parents gave for not vaccinating their children. The results of the study found that many of the parents interviewed made a decision not to vaccinate based on perceived risk of the vaccines……
    The Immunisation Awareness Society was explicitly listed as a source of information by 76% of survey respondents, along with Naturopaths and Homeopaths (43% and 48% of respondents respectively).”


  • That response by AVN has Meryl writing: ‘effectively closing our organisation down’. (I’m thinking back to the lede in the earlier article Andrea linked.) They reiterate words to this effect later in the piece.

    There’s more I’d say, but enough for now. (Or I’d end up writing a blog post in the comments!)

  • Wow, AVN blocked me for liking a comment on their page, the only interaction I have ever had with them! Touchy!

    Look forward to seeing anything you do write, Grant!

  • Darcy,

    You wrote earlier: ‘I’m curious about the sanctions in play here, the story headline says “shut down” but the story itself says “deregistration”.’

    Some are saying that if the AVN don’t change their name following the request to do this, they can have their registration cancelled. If that happens apparently their assets are essentially placed in what to me sounds like receivership and they can be wound up, etc.

  • Thanks Grant, very interesting possibility. I have to assume that doesn’t stop them from continuing in some fashion as a private group but it would probably put a definite crimp in their day…

  • Ugh. Following the recent death of a 6 week old baby from whooping cough, IAS are pushing the ineffectiveness of the whooping cough vaccine.

    “it is totally irresponsible of the Ministry of Health to release such blatantly incorrect information to the public. How are parents supposed to make an informed decision regarding vaccination when they are openly being lied to?”

  • Darcy,

    I imagine they’ll just change the name. I get the impression that they might have been around this loop before. I guess the catch, if there is one, will be offering a name that those complaining consider fair. FWIW, Meryl’s Anti-vaccine Lobby represents what I understand the organisation to be.

    Andrea: It’s a pity they wouldn’t spend the few minutes it’d take to check the information in their press release is accurate, or ask someone who might know.

  • Thank you. The lack of scientific understanding they show is gag inducing, they appear to have no understanding of like, HOW SHIT WORKS, at all. What is difficult is, the average person is particularly vulnerable to their rubbish because the average person is not scientifically literate at all. Fuck the IAS. They sound impartial and they’re not. They should change their name and stop paying to spam my Facebook newsfeed.

  • It showed up in my newsfeed as a paid post again too. With the following worrying comments, and claims that they are sharing the “truth”:

    “Immunisation Awareness Society Despite that there is scientific proof this vaccine is a failure, why does the MoH continue to promote it as effective? What is the MoH’s interest in continuing to push this “vaccine?”.”

    “Erin LeKiwi Excellent work Eugenie, so good to see the truth coming out on these things – the MoH pushing this onto pregnant women is absolutely shocking, particularly in light of how many people are miscarrying in the days following the jab (why isn’t this being properly investigated?!). So irresponsible. ”

    It is sickeningly over the line to post crap like this without justification & scare people senseless. Are there any legal limits on what people are entitled to do like this?

  • & Jessie, fully agree with what you say & would have commented to the effect except that they have blocked me precisely for doing this.

  • You’re right, Jessie. Fuck the IAS. The sad thing is that this isn’t the frst time they’ve been rotten shits toward grieving parents (remember the time they were slamming the parents of a meningitis victim for the crime of advocating immunization) Let’s all do our bit to stop them doing as much harm as the AVN.

    I think they have an investment fund so if that counts as a money making venture, then they may be in trouble.

    I’ve written in a quick inquiry, so here’s hoping they can do something. Of course, I don’t think they generate nearly as much money as the fraudulent Meryl Dorey and the AVN.

  • I hope they’re not actually trying to contact the dead child’s family as the disgusting and despicable Meryl would do! The upshot of all this discussion and debate in general is that when rookie health journalists begin to research a vaccination story they soon see the many sites, blogs and places generally that expose IAS and AVN et all as the lying creeps they are. This means they have to provide more balanced coverage than they might have done. Disclaimer: This isn’t a debate with two ‘sides’ anyway. There’s science and evidenced based basis for vaccines, and lunatics who would seek to refute that! In the long run it will be good and didn’t i see somewhere recently that vaccination rates in NZ are rising – partly thanks to some amazing Plunket nurses? Well done to those people!!

  • I think I’m beginning to understand what’s happening. Facebook works by placing posts on a timeline. Usually the things placed on the timeline are things that the user has entered or selected one way or other. Facebook is now offering people to advertise through paying them to have a promotion piece placed in others’ timelines – not by the receiving user’s choice. IAS seems to have elected to pay to do this to a few of their pieces such as the recent ‘press release’. One consequence is that some irate users are writing on the IAS Facebook page complaining about them pushing their anti-vaccine material on them.

    (I’d be curious to know how well informed IAS members are of this use of IAS funds [assuming that’s what is happening] and to what extent they agree with it. It seems to me it’s going to cop a lot of push back. Media commenters elsewhere are suggesting this will be a problem with this scheme Facebook has offered. Certainly I won’t be promoting my consultancy this way.)

  • OMG! If one looks at the IAS website and their recent rant about the whooping cough vaccine, it seems that the crazy has bubbled over – or indeed erupted!
    I will be doing my level best – within the journalistic arena – to make sure this site is never consulted or quoted as having any kind of credibility, and I urge you all (sane Sciblogs posters) to do the same!

  • Mythbuster,

    As you know several of us here have previously written about the IAS. Darcy, of course, has his series of articles listed above. Perhaps, I probably should collate mine into a page? Anyway, I’ve a few articles dissecting the claims in some of their material. Alison Campbell (bioblog) has chipped in too. Hopefully there’s some material there to point people at – ?

  • Grant – that is exactly what they are doing – paying for their posts to be made public. This is the second time they have shown on my newsfeed for it. Then they block anyone who takes them on about it so their page smells of roses.

    I’m putting together information about IAS on the new facebook page

    hopefully that can provide some balance!

    Particularly disturbing, along with their comments that the MoH has scientific proof that the whooping cough vaccine doesn’t work, but they are pushing it to make money, IAS claim the vaccination causes miscarriage and “cot death”. They target the vulnerable and scare them senseless, while censoring any argument that contradicts them.

  • Hopefully the same will happen to the IAS – they can’t be registered as easily, however there may be a round-about way to make them honest..
    (I don’t want to say too about it much on public forums)

  • Thanks for that Mark, it may be a pre-emptive change to avoid the sort of ultimatum that AVN in Aussie got earlier this year.

    The AVN website states that they are challenging this, hopefully they are not successful.
    The new WAVEnz for IAS is weasely but is at least suggestive that they are not unbiased.

  • I believe Waves was the name of their newsletter. I don’t know if they’ve produced it recently.

  • Or this one. I can’t believe a website such as (link below) should be giving publicity to an organisation such as IAS – now known as Warnings about Vaccine Expectations or Wavesnz – which has to be one of the silliest names, and therefore acronyms, I’ve ever seen. It will be interesting to see if Mad Meryl Dorey and her creepy AVN disciples can surpass it when they finally change theirs!

  • It is the name of their newsletter, yeah. They mention that in the blog post in which they made the announcement.

    Surprised to see that Consumer’s second reference on that page is a chiropractor. Not exactly an authority on vaccinations or communicable diseases.

  • Well, Mad Meryl has a challenge on hand if she wants to surpass the lame stupidity of IAS’s ‘new’ name WAVES – Warnings About Vaccine Expectations.

    Actually, I notice they haven’t added anything to their site for ages. Maybe they’ve given up and gone home!

    At least with the blog series ‘101 Reasons not to Vaccinate’ they had categorically cemented their position!

  • Yes I see in K. Sturgess’ post linked above some speculation that the AVN is packing it in permanently. Although perhaps they are simply consolidating in readiness for the new branding.

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