About 20 people attended a meeting of controversial group the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) last night in Tamworth.
The group is known for its contentious views on vaccination and says it is ineffective and sometimes dangerous to health, views contrary to the general medical consensus that vaccination is the safest and best way to protect against disease.
Participants paid $12 to attend the meeting and were given information on the AVN legal fighting fund appeal where they can donate money to help the AVN fight their own pending legal cases and also to support the "fighting fund for non-vaccinating partners."
The group says it helps parents in court proceedings fight their ex-partners or spouses who seek orders of the court to vaccinate their children.
Quirindi mother of two Donna Lawson said she was neither a supporter or opponent to the AVN's cause.
"I just wanted to come along and see what they said and then make my own decision," Mrs Lawson said.
She had delayed vaccinating her older son Jack, now 3, with the MMR vaccine until he was older because she wanted to make an informed decision about her son's health.
A source told The Leader that one person had tried to stop the meeting going ahead at Tamworth Services Club, and AVN President Meryl Dorey confirmed that the venue had dealt with a man in the days prior to the meeting.
"The man asked the club to cancel, he didn't think we should be allowed to speak."
See The Leader video of Meryl Dorey here:
"This is the sort of thing that happens everywhere we go," Mrs Dorey said.
Mrs Dorey, who described herself as "the mother of a vaccine-damaged child," said the group's cause was an emotional issue, particularly among parents and often attracted negative attention.
"We invited him to come and speak at the meeting, but we never heard back from him," Mrs Dorey said.
The group is holding a meeting in Armidale tonight.
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