27 March 1935
Viera Scheibner (Slovak: Viera Scheibnerová; born 27 March 1935, Bratislava) is a retired micropaleontologist. From 1958 until 1968 she was assistant professor in the department of geology at Comenius University, Bratislava. Scheibner has been active in the anti-vaccination field researching, writing and giving lectures on the subject matter of vaccines and vaccinations since her retirement from the Department of Mineral Resources, New South Wales, Australia in 1987.
Education and career
Viera Scheibner was born in Bratislava (formerly Czechoslovakia, now Slovak Republic). During her career she wrote scientific papers on the subject of Geology and Palaeontology published in peer-reviewed journals in Australia and overseas.[not in citation given]
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. 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. During her academic career 1958–1968 in Bratislava, she published 35 scientific papers and one monograph concerning the Cretaceous and Jurassic Foraminifera of the Carpathian Klippen Belt in Slovakia.[dubious ]
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. During her employment 1968 to 1987 with the Geological Survey of New South Wales, she held various titles as a research scientist, including principal research scientist until her retirement from the Department of Mineral Resources in 1987.[dubious ]
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); she was also invited to write a Synopsis of Cretaceous Foraminifera of the Indian Ocean, published in a monograph entitled Synopsis of the DSDP in the Indian Ocean.[dubious ]
Views on the subject of vaccines
Since retiring from the Department of Mineral Resources, Scheibner has been active as an anti-vaccination campaigner, making numerous statements linking vaccinations to various conditions, injuries and deaths. Her claims have been widely criticised and refuted by medical professionals.
Sudden infant death syndrome
Scheibner claims that while developing "Cotwatch" (an infant breathing monitor) with her late husband, she discovered a "stress-induced breathing pattern" and hypopnea was occurring around the time of infant DPT vaccination. She claimed that this was proof of a causal link between vaccination and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). She further claimed that when she brought this information to the attention of the medical community, that paediatricians at the "Australian Crib Death Management Center" ceased referring parents to her to obtain a Cotwatch monitor. However, Australia does not use the term "Crib" or the spelling "Center", and there is no record of such a centre or organisation ever existing.
Scheibner began making public statements of 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 claimed 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.
Scheibner claimed that when Japan paused their Pertussis vaccination program in 1974, SIDS deaths disappeared in the country. However, Dr Stephen Basser refuted the claim, asserting 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 Japanese Pertussis mortality increased 800% in the five years following the pause in Pertussis vaccination.
Since Scheibner’s claims were made, extensive scientific studies have found vaccination is in fact associated with a halving of the risk of SIDS.
Benefit of diseases
Scheibner has stated that infection with diseases such as polio, measles, whooping Cough and rubella pose no danger and are actually beneficial for the development of a child's immune system. She claims that the only reason children die or suffer permanent disability from these diseases is due to medical mismanagement. In an interview with 60 Minutes Scheibner claimed that bodies get diseases because the 'body needs them.' Even in regions where pandemics are killing millions.
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.
Integrity of the medical profession
During a Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission hearing, Scheibner questioned the integrity of all researchers involved in vaccine and SIDS research, claiming that manufacturers, doctors, governments and researchers were deliberately withholding evidence of vaccine harm in order to protect vaccination programmes.
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
- "Dr. Scheibner's analysis of them...is at best sloppy, and at worst blatantly dishonest."
- "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."
Lon Morgan, DC, a chiropractor, has written a short analysis of her anti-vaccination stance, as well as an examination of Scheibner's claims of a disappearance of SIDS in Japan. He concludes that:
- "Whether it was due to personal bias, lack of relevant health science training, or inept research on her part, or a combination, Ms. Scheibner's claims have not withstood the test of time, or critical examination, and should be rejected."
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, saying of her:
- "...I am not satisfied that her formal qualifications and professional experience properly equip her to provide a valid professional opinion on the complex subject of immunology..." and
- "...one must question her capacity to properly evaluate and interpret the results of others' scientific experience. I am not prepared therefore to accept her evidence in preference to that of Professor Pearn and Drs Whitby and Feery." 
In 2001, the Hon Dr Brian Pezzutti criticised Viera's anti-vaccination campaigning in the NSW Legislative Council, saying:
- "I draw attention [to] misleading information provided by Dr Viera Scheibner ... who continuously writes against immunisation. In the 9 March edition of the Medical Observer, she submitted a very unusual letter [which] makes claims that are not supported by the documentation she referred to. It is very important for people to realise that the information provided by Dr Scheibner is not accurate."
None of Scheibner's claims in relation to vaccination, SIDS or traumatic infant head injuries have been published in peer-reviewed medical, legal or criminological journals of an accepted international standard.
- 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
- Anti-immunisation scare: The inconvenient facts. Stephen Basser, MD. The Skeptic Journal, Australian Skeptics#The Skeptic Vol 17 No 1 pp 18-24
- Bent Spoon Winner 1997: Viera Scheibner - Archived July 21, 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- Viera Scheibner at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 2009)
- Japan, SIDS, and Pertussis Immunization at the Wayback Machine (archived March 28, 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.
- Beattie (on behalf of Kiro and Lewis Beattie) v Maroochy Shire Council (Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission 20 December 1996). Text
- Scheibner V. "Curriculum Vitae / Biography – "Medical Veritas" Editorial Board". Medical Veritas.
- Scheibner V (2004). "Shaken Baby Syndrome Diagnosis on Shaky Ground". Journal of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine 23 (3): 10–14. Archived from the original on 2007-03-19.
- "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. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- M.M.T. Vennemanna, M. Höffgenb, T. Bajanowskic, H.-W. Hensed and E.A. Mitchelle (2007). "Do immunisations reduce the risk for SIDS? A meta-analysis". Vaccine 25 (26): 4875–4879. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2007.02.077. PMID 17400342.
- Scheibner, Viera (16 June 1999). "Hearings on Hepatitis B vaccine". Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- Julie-Anne O'Hagan (2003). "Dr Viera Scheibner is a powerful voice in the anti-vaccination crusade". Australian Doctor.
- Busse JW, Campbell JB, Injeyan HS (2000). "Chiropractors and Vaccination: A Historical Perspective". Pediatrics 105 (4): e43–e43. doi:10.1542/peds.105.4.e43. PMID 10742364.
- Pezzutti, Brian (11 April 2001). "Infectious Diseases Vaccination" (PDF). Hansard of the NSW Legislative Council: 13600. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
- Official Website
- Leask J, McIntyre P (December 2003). "Public opponents of vaccination: a case study" (PDF). Vaccine 21 (32): 4700–3. doi:10.1016/s0264-410x(03)00520-6. PMID 14585678.