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Anti-vaccination network told to change its name or be shut down

By Rachael Dunlop

The heated battle between Australia’s anti-vaccine lobby, the Australian Vaccination Network, and those fighting against its misinformation has taken a positive turn with the New South Wales Department of Fair Trading ordering the AVN to change its name or risk being shut down.

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The move follows what has been described as “numerous” complaints from both the public and the Australian Medical Association that the AVN name was misleading the public and wasn’t an accurate representation of its activities.

The order was hand delivered to the home of Meryl Dorey, AVN president, spokesperson and public officer, just before midday on Friday.

What’s in a name?

Publicly, the AVN claims to be pro-choice and a “vaccine safety watchdog”. And its name gives the impression of a neutral resource for vaccination information, but scratching the surface of its slick-looking website quickly reveals an anti-vaccine agenda.

A 12-month investigation of the site by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission, found the AVN website, “provides information that is solely anti-vaccination, contains information that is incorrect and misleading, and quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous.” This resulted in the publication of a public warning advising people not to get...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Rachael Dunlop is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is a Vice President of Australian Skeptics and an administrator of the Stop The AVN Facebook page. This article was originally published at The Conversation.