Immunisation Awareness Society

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Warnings About Vaccination Expectations NZ
Abbreviation WAVESnz
Formation 1988
Purpose Anti-vaccination campaigning and information[1]
Formerly called
Immunisation Awareness Society (IAS)

Warnings About Vaccination Expectations NZ (WAVESnz), formerly the Immunisation Awareness Society (IAS),[2] is a New Zealand anti-vaccination lobby group set up in 1988 by a group of parents. The group is a voluntary, non-profit corporation operated by alternative medicine practitioners and parents. It was a registered charity until 3 September 2012, when the New Zealand Charities Registration Board determined that the Immunisation Awareness Society Incorporated was not qualified for registration as a charitable entity and that it was in the public interest that it be removed from the Charities Register. The board stated that "IAS disseminates information that is not factual and falls well short of acceptable standards in the area of health education."[3]


In describing itself, IAS writes:

IAS does not advise people not to vaccinate but facilitates an informed decision making process. The decision about whether or not to vaccinate is a personal one that should be made after much research and consideration. IAS provides support to people who choose not to vaccinate, people who sometimes come under considerable pressure from health professionals, and often members of the community, to vaccinate their children.[4]

IAS advocates that parents exercise informed consent when choosing whether or not to have their children vaccinated,[5] believing that natural immunity, fostered through natural breast feeding, is superior to "artificial immunity" achieved through vaccination.[4] They accuse the medical establishment of pushing vaccines for money[6] while turning a blind eye to possible dangers of vaccines arising from poor quality control or from the vaccine itself.[5]


IAS achieves its goals of informing the public of its position on vaccinations largely through the publication of blog posts on its website, through public appearances by its members and officers, and through publications such as books,[7] press releases,[8] and brochures.[9]

The IAS has regularly publicly campaigned against vaccination during epidemics: during a 2011 whooping cough epidemic, IAS spokeswoman Michelle Rudgley went on record in the Otago Daily Times with the statement:

One day they are really going to have to accept that the pertussis [whooping cough] vaccine is useless and no matter how many boosters you have it is not going to stop the occurrence of whooping cough and the best bet is for parents to educate themselves on how to look after their children should they develop it.[10]

In July 2009, during a measles epidemic, IAS spokeswoman Michelle Rudgley said:

the Canterbury situation proved the ineffectiveness of vaccines... parents had been deceived by the pro-vaccination lobby to believe immunisation was safe and could totally protect their children against diseases.[11]


At one stage, New Zealand had a low immunisation rate among industrialised nations, hovering around 60%,[12] with a rate of measles vaccination that places it 33rd out of 35 industrial nations.[13] At least part of this low rate of immunisation has been attributed to anti-vaccination campaigns by IAS and others.[12]

New Zealand has improved its immunisation coverage over the past few years and over 90% of children are fully immunised by their second birthday.[14] However, there are communities with low coverage and outbreaks of diseases continue to occur, particularly measles.[15]

Public reactions[edit]


IAS has found support among various alternative medicine proponents, including the Mind Body Soul company, who list them as "Enlightening and Inspriational,"[16] and other anti-vaccination groups, including the protest band The Refusers.[17]


IAS is subject to criticism by a number of scientists and medical professionals.[18][19][20] In general, the scientific community rejects their claims as pseudo-science, accusing the group of selecting data to fit their claims rather than basing their claims on the totality of data available.[18] The group was also criticised for failing to fulfill their own stated mission of providing parents with material to make an informed decision. Instead, the group provided only anti-vaccination material, without the balance of pro-vaccination that would be required for truly informed consent.[19] In fact, it was this shortcoming that led the New Zealand Charities Registration Board to revoke IAS's charitable organisation status in September 2012, citing them for promoting a point of view rather than educating the public, as their charitable charter required.[3]

Subsequent to its deregistration as a charity, the Society renamed itself WAVES NZ (Warnings About Vaccine Expectations).[21]


  1. ^ Heather, Ben (7 November 2012). "Charity group deregistered for lobbying". The Dominion Post. Archived from the original on 10 April 2017. 
  2. ^ "The IAS Has A New Name". WAVESnz. 11 June 2013. Archived from the original on 12 February 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Deregistration Decision: The Immunisation Awareness Society Incorporated" (PDF). New Zealand Charities Registration Board. 3 September 2012. Archived from the original (pdf) on 24 January 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "About Us". IAS. Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Informed Consent". IAS. Archived from the original on 7 February 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "101 Reasons to NOT vaccinate". IAS. 5 December 2012. Archived from the original on 7 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Books". IAS. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "Press Releases". IAS. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "IAS Brochure" (PDF). IAS. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  10. ^ Goodwin, Eileen (6 October 2011). "Whooping cough vaccination 'cocooning' call". Otago Daily Times. 
  11. ^ Staff (11 July 2009). "Failure of vaccine suspected". 
  12. ^ a b Hamilton, Matilda; Corwin, Paul; Gower, Suzanne; Rogers, Sue (20 February 2004). "Why do parents choose not to immunise their children?" (PDF). Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association. 117 (1189). 
  13. ^ Kirk, Stacey (18 April 2011). "Vaccination rate 'dismal'". Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Enlightening & Inspirational Info". Mind Body Soul. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "So how does a mother feel when her baby is dead from vaccines and all she hears from doctors, the government and media is that vaccines are safe and effective?". 12 December 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "A Critique by the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) of the Immunisation Awareness Society brochure "What's all the fuss about?"" (PDF). Immunisation Advisory Centre. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Edmonds, Michael (20 December 2012). "The Hypocrisy of the Immunisation "Awareness" Society". SciBlogs. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Comments and Opinion: Immunisation Awareness Society". Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  21. ^ Duff, Michelle (18 February 2014). "Measles myths blamed for outbreaks". Archived from the original on 12 February 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 

External links[edit]

  • WAVESnz (formerly the Immunisation Awareness Society)