Tag Archives: Victoria

Infant hepatitis B vaccination 18 years on

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The introduction of the infant hepatitis B vaccination program began in the state of Victoria on 1 May 2000.

The decision to vaccinate newborns was required as a condition of funding to public hospitals in the state of Victoria under the policy and funding guidelines, issued by the Acute Health Division of the Department of Human Services.


I could not believe this could happen and note that this unethical practice has been in place for 18 years with no sign of it ending. The addition of the hepatitis B vaccine to the infant vaccination schedule meant infants were and still are given four doses of the vaccine: one shortly after birth, and subsequent doses at 2, 4, and 6 months.

Public Outcry?

When the news broke about this new vaccine for infants I expected some dissent but of course there was no mainstream media analysis and so who really knew of the latest development to over vaccinate our children. At the time I presented a women’s health program on community radio 3CR where I provided some analysis of the issue followed by writing an article that was published in Birth Matters: The Journal of the Maternity Coalition Inc where I expressed my displeasure providing additional information such as the clear directive issued that all health professionals have a legal duty to implement this National Health and Medical Research Councils (NHMRC) policy seen as a major step towards the reduction of acute hepatitis B infection.

Universal hepatitis B immunisation

The statement titled Universal hepatitis B immunisation appeared in NEXUS (Vol 6 Issue 2, November 2000), a publication of the Nurses Board of Victoria. It stated:

We believe that midwives play a special role in relaying to parents of newborns the importance of this program.

In a follow up edition of Birth Matters, the midwives had their say on the hepatitis B addition to the infant vaccination schedule. 

MIPP midwives (Midwives in Private Practice) are particularly concerned about the administration of the first dose, for babies who are not in contact with carriers of the disease. The concerns are around informed consent, possible side effects, and storage of the vaccine. MIPP members report that they have informed their clients about the availability of the vaccine, and recommend that those parents who wish their child to have the ‘birth’ dose arrange to have it given at a hospital or by a general practitioner. It is important to note that  babies who do not receive the ‘birth dose’ but receive the three subsequent doses will be fully immunised.


The birth dose?

That is a very interesting point: Why are children given four doses when three doses is what is needed for so-called ‘immunisation’. Why are babies given the vaccine at birth? Is this because there is a ‘captive audience’ so to speak. The mums and babies are hospitalised so let’s get them used to having their baby injected with vaccines on the schedule starting with hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B 

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The virus infection is generally caused by either unprotected sexual contact or contact with infected blood.

It is apparent that the vast majority of infants born in Australia today would have absolutely no risky behaviours which would leave them susceptible to Hepatitis B infections.

Why was hepatitis B put on the vaccination schedule?

According to the National Vaccine Information Center

The primary reason that the CDC recommended hepatitis B vaccination for all newborns in the United States in 1991 is because public health officials and doctors could not persuade adults in high risk groups (primarily IV drug users and persons with multiple sexual partners) to get the vaccine.


There is no need to give this vaccine to children except maybe if they are at risk due to an infected mother or other person so infected. Vaccines are not harmless as is evident by examining their contents.


Hepatitis B surface antigen recombinant (yeast) vaccine.

The infant dose is (0.5 ml) containing:

Hepatitis B surface antigen. Adsorbed on 250 micrograms of aluminium hydroxide.

Produced in yeast cells (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) by recombinant DNA technology

The final vaccines also contain sodium phosphate – dibasic dihydrate, sodium phosphate – monobasic dihydrate, sodium chloride, and water for injection and traces of polysorbate 20.

Not something you really want to have injected into your newborn child, is it?

Vaccine risks

An independent review of the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System – the national database maintained in the US to track and study vaccine reactions) data; publications by governmental, pro-vaccine, and anti-vaccine groups; and a sample of the medical literature leads to the following conclusions:

For most children, the risk of a serious vaccine reaction may be 100 times greater than the risk of hepatitis B.


Overall, the incidence of hepatitis B in the U.S. is currently about 4 per 100,000 and even less for a young child.

In Australia the risk is even lower where:

The overall notification rate of newly acquired hepatitis B  decreased from 1.2 per 100,000 in 2009 to 0.7 per 100,000 in 2013.

Adverse events from the vaccine

There are 25,000 reports related to hepatitis B vaccine according to Vaers about one-third of which were serious enough to lead to an emergency room visit, hospitalization, or death. It is often assumed that only 10% of reactions are reported. So the real damage is not known.

A paper published in Neurology 2009 by Mikaeloff Y, Caridade G, et al called Hepatitis B vaccine and the risk of CNS inflammatory demyelination in childhood stated:

The Engerix B (hepatitis B) vaccine appears to increase this risk particularly for confirmed multiple sclerosis in the longer term

They reported that children with a confirmed diagnosis of multiple sclerosis were significantly more likely to have received the Engerix brand of vaccine.

Time for action

Recently it was suggested to me by a fellow critic of this particular vaccine that surely the hepatitis B given at birth is the most unnecessary and unethical and if there was any vaccine that we could use as an example of the burdensome, ever increasing schedule and the damage such vaccines are doing to young lives then this is the one.

We must educate young parents that once their child is born he/she will be given a hepatitis B shot. We need to forewarn them that this vaccine comes with real risks.


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Premier Denis Napthine has reignited the debate over women’s reproductive rights

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Common sense should dictate that the issue of abortion be left to pregnant women to decide. But when the history of women’s fight for the right to abortion is considered, it’s no wonder it’s still firmly in the hands of wheeling and dealing politicians.

In the state of Victoria, abortion has made the headlines for the last two weeks with the Independent and balance-of-power MP Geoff Shaw  plotting the removal of a section of the Victorian Abortion Law Reform Act which makes it mandatory for doctors who are conscientious objectors to abortion, to provide a referral to another medical practitioner without an objection, thus giving the woman a chance to see another doctor who can help her with her decision.

In 2008 The Victorian Parliament passed the Abortion Law Reform Act which allows for a registered medical practitioner to perform an abortion on a woman who is not more than 24 weeks pregnant and allows for termination of pregnancy after 24 weeks only if the medical practitioner believes that the abortion is appropriate in all the circumstances; and that she has consulted at least one other registered medical practitioner who also reasonably believes that the abortion is appropriate in all the circumstances.

But it’s Section 8 of the act that Independent MP Geoff Shaw and several other Coalition and Labor MPs do not support and it deals with the situation where a woman requests an abortion and the doctor has a conscientious objection to abortion. In this case the practitioner must refer the woman to another registered practitioner whom the referring doctor knows does not have a conscientious objection to abortion. The other provision in contention is the allowance of terminations up to 24 weeks’ gestation.

The Premier Denis Napthine was one of the 32 MPs who voted against the decriminalisation of abortion in 2008, mainly because he did not agree with these two most controversial provisions. And in an article in The Age last week, Mr Napthine was reported to have said: ”My personal view was that 18 or 20 weeks would have been a better number, but I respect that was a decision of the Parliament.” So five years after the decriminalisation of abortion law in Victoria we have the Premier Napthine, not so respecting of the parliament and saying that he would consider any attempt by balance-of-power MP Geoff Shaw to overhaul the state’s abortion laws.

Such a move by the Catholic, Dr Napthine is both personally and politically motivated as the Coalition government needs the support of the balance-of-power MP Geoff Shaw. According to the Opposition leader Daniel Andrews: ”Denis Napthine will do anything and everything in a grubby deal with the independent member Geoff Shaw to hang on to the premiership and to hang on to government. ”Regardless of your view [on abortion] this should not be the subject of a secret backroom deal,” he said.

Abortion should not be a plaything for politicians hungry to hang on to power.

Screen shot 2013-12-08 at 6.57.24 PMIn today’s Sunday Age Dr Jo Wainer, Adjunct Associate Professor at the Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University faculty of medicine, nursing and the widow of abortion campaigner Dr Bertram Wainer, wrote about the long, dangerous and difficult campaign  undertaken by Bertram to change public awareness, to ensure women who needed to end a pregnancy could do so with safety, dignity and affordable care. Jo Wainer concludes her opinion piece:

Section 8 requires health professionals, including doctors who preference the wellbeing of the foetus over that of the woman, to tell her so and give her information about another doctor she can see who will treat her as a person capable of making her own morally sound decisions. It is a small thing to ask.

But it is no small thing to those who seek to overturn the contentious sections of the 2008 Act of Parliament. I don’t have a real problem with anyone having an abortion – women have a right to choose whether to mother or not and there are plenty of reasons that this may not be in the best interests of the mother, or the child she may bring in to the world. Motherhood can be hard, constant and never-ending. Single mothers have a very hard time with pensions a thing of the past, and society largely prejudiced against them.

But where there is a real problem is with late-term abortions.  One very public example of this occurred in January 2000, when a 40-year-old woman was referred to the Royal Women’s Hospital by her general practitioner. The woman had been told that her 31-week-old fetus might have skeletal dysplasia (dwarfism). Arriving at the emergency department in a state of great agitation she threatened suicide and demanded that her pregnancy be terminated. The abortion was subsequently carried out with the woman delivering a baby girl with dwarfism.

This was an awful case. Today people with dwarfism are to be found in all areas of life. They are parents, teachers, engineers, musicians and social workers. As I was thinking about this case of late-term abortion, I remember reading Defiant Birth : Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics by Melinda Tankard Reist.

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In Defiant Birth, the author tells the stories of women who were told they shouldn’t go ahead and give birth to their babies because of a perceived disability or imperfection. These brave women went ahead and had their children anyway, many of whom died shortly after birth. But they were born in the belief that the life they shared, even for a short while, was worth it.

Abortion is complex but made more so by politicians and lawyers, when really it should be up to a woman and her doctor. But with most issues in the world today, simple resolutions to problems don’t seem possible anymore.


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‘The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka’ by Claire Wright – a review

Screen shot 2013-12-04 at 8.57.20 PMThis post is timely for it is now 159 years since the famous uprising known as the Eureka Stockade. The story of the massacre in Ballarat on December 3, 1854 after police and soldiers broke the miner’s stronghold  is one of Australia’s great stories, but according to Claire Wright, author of The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, the story we learned as children neglected half of the participants-the women. Continue reading

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