Uniting Church cancels AVN seminar

The Uniting Church in the City of Perth has taken a stance against the misinformation put forward by the Australian Vaccination Network.

At short notice, the Church cancelled a booking the AVN had made to speak at a Church venue, citing that “the message promoted by the Australian Vaccination Network is not in line with the ethos and values of the Uniting Church in Australia”.

A spokesman said that, after consultation with the chair of the Church council, “no Uniting Church in the City venue is being made available to the Australian Vaccination Network for tomorrow night’s meeting.”

Further to this, the spokesman said this occurrence has meant that the Church will be reviewing its policy on community use of UCIC space.

“We will be more closely examining the ethos and values of all groups that seek to use our space in the future.”

The move by the church was prompted by concerns raised by a number of prominent Church members, experts in the field of ethics and public health, who had advised that the Church premises was not an appropriate place for the AVN to spread its misinformation.

In her newsletter, AVN past-president, Meryl Dorey, expressed frustration at the late change – she was about to board a plane to Western Australia when she was contacted by the Church to inform her of their decision.

She also implied a conspiracy against her freedom of speech: “Why would you even make the booking for the venue and then cancel at such short notice – as the facilitators could have arranged an alternative venue instead, if they had more notice. hmmmm?”

Dorey and Judy Wilyman, a PhD candidate at Murdoch University, were scheduled to speak at an AVN seminar titled “Flu Vaccines and Informed Choice”.

In an earlier announcement, the AVN said that “This talk examines the risk of flu to children, the effectiveness of the vaccine and the additional risks to children’s health of adding another vaccine to the childhood schedule.”

The Uniting Church obviously took the view that such an event would not have been as even-handed as suggested.

Dorey has asked supporters in WA to find a new venue, with the hope of restaging the seminar in about four weeks’ time.

Read more and comment here