The Australian | 26 September 2012
An anti-vaccine campaigner doing her PhD at University of Wollongong has maintained her candidature despite implying the family of a child who died from whooping cough were liars. Judy Wilyman has also linked autism with vaccines and recently questioned the value of the vaccine Gardasil in the fight against cervical cancer.
The arts student’s thesis, which she has been working on for more than four years, is titled “A critical analysis of the Australian government’s rationale for its vaccination policy”.
On her website, Vaccine Decisions (which we have been unable to locate), she updates”news” and shares her thoughts on the “plausible link” between autism and vaccines. She regards vaccine choice as a human rights issue.
A university spokesman said the university stood by Wilyman because her personal views did not inform her work.
Any ‘conspiracy’ theories she may have are independent of her relationship with the University of Wollongong. Her PhD has to meet the rigorous standards set by the university.
Wilyman has tried to speak to a NSW couple, Toni and Dave McCaffery, who lost their four-week-old daughter, Dana, in 2009 to whooping cough, which she was too young to be vaccinated against.
In June this year Dave McCaffery released a statement begging anti-vaccine movement leader Meryl Dorey and Wilyman to stop using his daughter’s death for their own gain.
I’m disappointed people can lie and misrepresent what my family does, which is to support the broader community so they don’t suffer the way we did. Our daughter means too much to us, and for an organisation like the university to be associated with Judy Wilyman — it’s just wrong.”
Wilyman had questioned whether the family had been paid to use their daughter’s death to promote vaccines.