Anti-vaccination guest speaker causes controversy for expo
ORGANISERS of the Sunshine Coast Healthy Lifestyle Expo are still considering whether they will allow controversial anti-vaccination campaigner Meryl Dorey another opportunity to attend their event.
Spokeswoman Annie Infinite said when they had accepted Ms Dorey's request to attend the expo, they "didn't realise so much was going on around her at the time".
The expo has been blasted by health experts for allowing Ms Dorey to speak for an hour at the weekend event.
Queensland's chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young had urged the expo to refuse Ms Dorey the opportunity to speak.
This was after the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission issued a public warning last month that the Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network was spreading information that was "misleading, misrepresented and incorrect" on vaccination.
Ms Infinite said the "education expo" had attempted to look at "every side of every issue as the medical community is not always right".
"We reserve the right to question current medical dialogue," Ms Infinite said.
"All science is best-based theory.
"But whether we want to invite controversy back is another issue."
Ms Infinite said Ms Dorey had been allowed to speak at the expo only as an exhibitor and "definitely not on the main stage".
"She probably would never be allowed there," Ms Infinite said.
"It is not something we want to highlight."
Ms Infinite estimated 4000 people had attended the expo and she said she was very happy with its success.
DRIVEN DOREY NOT KEEN ON DEBATE
THERE may be a reason no health authority was willing to take up an offer to challenge anti-vaccination campaigner Meryl Dorey at the Healthy Lifestyle expo: Ms Dorey doesn't debate.
She also doesn't answer questions which contradict her opinion or give someone else the opportunity to gain a better understanding of her point of view.
I tried to interview Ms Dorey to discover the reasons for her views, which appear to contradict every modern health authority.
I didn't get that far.
Like a seasoned politician, Ms Dorey remained focused on only getting her points across, instead of answering a question.
She kept suggesting the State Government, and particularly Queensland's chief health officer Jeannette Young, were behind an alleged cover-up.
When asked her views on Dr Young's criticism of the Healthy Lifestyle Expo allowing her to speak, Ms Dorey hit back: "I would like to know why there are no restrictions on the health officer denying a child died from vaccinations.
"She (Dr Young) denied she knew a two-year-old died after vaccinations and then admitted it later on."
Ms Dorey was referring to the death of Brisbane two-year-old Ashley Jade Epapara, who died shortly after receiving a flu vaccination on April 9, 2010.
Brisbane coroner John Lock said he could not rule out a link between the flu vaccination and the unexplained death.
The interview came unstuck when I tried to explain to Ms Dorey that, in all of my interviews with health authorities, none had ever denied vaccines carried risks - and that the benefits "outweighed the risks".
"What evidence is there to show vaccines have any benefits?" Ms Dorey posed.
Ultimately, my attempts to discuss opposing viewpoints became impossible, as Ms Dorey had a habit of not allowing me to finish a sentence before giving her opinion.
It was clear she didn't like to have her viewpoint questioned. Instead of trying to explain fully, she simply put the phone down.
- KATHY SUNDSTROM