27 March 1935
Viera Scheibner (Slovak: Viera Scheibnerová; born 27 March 1935, Bratislava) is a Slovak-Australian anti-vaccination activist and retired geologist. From 1958 until 1968 she was assistant professor in the department of geology at Comenius University, Bratislava. Since her retirement from the Department of Mineral Resources, New South Wales, Australia in 1987, Scheibner has been active in the anti-vaccination field, writing and giving lectures opposing vaccines and vaccinations.
Education and career
Viera Scheibner was born in Bratislava (formerly Czechoslovakia, now Slovak Republic).
In 1953, Scheibner studied medicine for one year at Masaryk University in Brno (Faculty of Medicine). She did not complete her studies, and obtained no medical qualifications. She then enrolled in the Faculty of Sciences (Geology), and in 1954 transferred to the Comenius University in Bratislava where she graduated in 1958 under prof. D. Andrusov. During 1958–1961, she became a lecturer in the Department of Geology and Palaeontology of the Comenius University, Bratislava and was also a Senior Lecturer 1962–1967, at the Department of Geology and Palaeontology at Comenius University. Scheibner was awarded a doctorate in Natural Sciences (RNDr.) from the Comenius University in Bratislava in 1964. In 1967–1968 she served as Senior Associate Professor (Docent) at the Department of Geology and Palaeontology of Jan Amos Comenius University, Bratislava.
In 1968, Scheibner together with her husband Ervin Scheibner emigrated to Australia and assumed a position as a micro-palaeontologist with the Geological Survey of New South Wales, Department of Mines, later becoming the Department of Mineral Resources.
The primary emphasis of Scheibner's work in Australia with the NSW Department of Mines was the study of the Cretaceous and Permian Foraminifera of the Great Australian Basin in New South Wales. She also studied the South Australian and Carnarvon Basins in Western Australia, South Africa and the Indian Peninsula, and the Permian Foraminifera of the Sydney Basin. From 1972 to 1976 Scheibner was invited to participate in the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) conducted under the auspices of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The results of these studies were published in the Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP).
Views on vaccines
Sudden infant death syndrome
Scheibner began claiming that there is a link between vaccination and SIDS in the early 1990s, and in a book Vaccination... published in 1993. In the book and subsequently, she has speculated that "vaccination is the single biggest cause of SIDS". However data shows that since she began making her claims, vaccination rates for Birth to 2-years component of the Immunisation Schedule in Australia increased from 53% in 1990 to 92% in 2006, while SIDS deaths fell by 81% over the same period. A 2007 meta-analysis found that vaccines halve the risk of SIDS.
Scheibner claimed that when Japan paused their Pertussis vaccination program in 1974, SIDS deaths disappeared in the country. However, Victorian medical practitioner Stephen Basser said that the studies Scheibner cited did not support her statements and that she had omitted information [from the studies] which did not support her position, including data showing pertussis mortality in Japan increased 800% in the five years following the pause in Pertussis vaccination.
Shaken baby syndrome
Scheibner claims that injuries and death attributed to shaken baby syndrome, including retinal bleeding, broken bones, fractured skulls and detached retinas are actually caused by vaccination although no science supports this claim.
Dr Stephen Basser has written an extensive critical review of "the quality of the science of ... Scheibner" entitled Anti-immunisation scare: The inconvenient facts. One of his criticisms involves a conclusion Scheibner makes regarding a potential correlation between SIDS and immunisation in Japan. After review of her principal sources and her resultant conclusion, he states that her analysis of the sources "is at best sloppy, and at worst blatantly dishonest." Overall, he found that her claims - in particular in regard to measles vaccinations and the DPT vaccine - are not supported by scientific evidence, and concludes that "the gaps in her research in this area call into question her objectivity and cast doubts on her ability to speak as an expert witness". In addition, an extensive critique of her claims and qualifications has been published in a 2005 article in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Two of the authors of that article had also previously described Scheibner's book Vaccination: 100 years of orthodox research shows that vaccines represent an assault on the immune system as "highly inaccurate" in a 2000 article in the journal Pediatrics.
Commissioner William Carter, Q.C., who was hearing a Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission enquiry in which Viera Scheibner was called as a witness, dismissed her claims on the subject of vaccines, finding that he was unsatisfied with her formal qualifications and professional experience, which he found did not "properly equip her to provide a valid professional opinion on the complex subject of immunology". As a result, he was unwilling to accept her evidence in the enquiry.
In 2001, Brian Pezzutti criticised Viera's anti-vaccination campaigning in the NSW Legislative Council, describing Scheibner as providing "misleading information", and highlighting her March letter to the Medical Observer which "makes claims that are not supported by the documentation she referred to". Pezzutti stated that it was "very important for people to realise that the information provided by Dr Scheibner is not accurate".
- "The unanimous choice of the judges was Dr Viera Scheibner for her high profile anti-immunisation campaign which, by promoting new age and conspiracy mythology and by owing little to scientific methodologies or research, poses a serious threat to the health of Australian children."
- 1993 Vaccination: 100 years of orthodox research shows that vaccines represent an assault on the immune system, ISBN 0-646-15124-X
- 2000 Behavioural Problems in Childhood, ISBN 0-9578007-0-3
- Miroslav Slavkay, Michal Kaličiak: Významní slovenskí geológovia. Bratislava : Veda, 2000, p. 399. ISBN 80-224-0639-2
- Basser MD, Stephen (Autumn 1997). "Anti-immunisation scare: The inconvenient facts" (PDF). The Skeptic. 17 (1): 18–24. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 March 2020.
- "Bent Spoon Winner 1997: Viera Scheibner". Australian Skeptics. 16 June 2005. Archived from the original on 21 July 2008.
- Busse JW, Morgan L, Campbell JB (2005). "Chiropractic antivaccination arguments". Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 28 (5): 367–373. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2005.04.011. PMID 15965414.
- Scheibner V. "Curriculum Vitae / Biography – "Medical Veritas" Editorial Board". Medical Veritas.
- "Vaccination Coverage in Australian Children". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 4 June 2003. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- "Australia's Babies". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 7 August 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- "Australia SIDS 1981-2007" (PDF). Australian Bureau of Statistics. SIDS and Kids. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 June 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- Vennemann, M. M. T.; Höffgen, M.; Bajanowski, T.; Hense, H.-W.; Mitchell, E. A. (21 June 2007). "Do immunisations reduce the risk for SIDS? A meta-analysis". Vaccine. 25 (26): 4875–4879. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2007.02.077. ISSN 0264-410X. PMID 17400342.
- O'Hagan, Julie-Anne (17 October 2003). "Dr Viera Scheibner is a powerful voice in the anti-vaccination crusade..." Australian Doctor. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011.
- Busse JW, Campbell JB, Injeyan HS (2000). "Chiropractors and Vaccination: A Historical Perspective". Pediatrics. 105 (4): e43. doi:10.1542/peds.105.4.e43. PMID 10742364.
- Beattie (on behalf of Kiro and Lewis Beattie) v Maroochy Shire Council  HREOCA 40 (20 December 1996), Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (Australia).
- Pezzutti, Brian (11 April 2001). "Infectious Diseases Vaccination" (PDF). Hansard of the NSW Legislative Council: 13600. Retrieved 31 May 2010.