Here we go again: The vile tactic of blaming shaken baby syndrome on vaccines, part 3

Whenever I discuss the concept of being “antivaccine” and how almost nobody wants to have the label “antivaccine” applied ot her, it’s not uncommon that I hear the whinging retort from antivaccinationists claiming that “I’m not antivaccine; I’m pro-vaccine safety,” or some similar claim. Of course, whenever I see antivaccinationists likening vaccination to the Holocaust (and themselves to Jews wearing the Yellow Star of David), rape, and felonious assault, I realize that denials tend merely to help antivaccinationists convince themselves that they don’t stand for something that society rightly frowns upon. However, their claims otherwise tend to be belied by the ease with which antivaccinationists don’t blink an eye when one of the most vile claims of all is made, namely that shaken baby syndrome (now more commonly referred to as abusive head trauma) is a misdiagnosis for vaccine injury. Indeed, this belief has led to the defense of some truly vile people, such as Alan Yurko, a man convicted of shaking his girlfriend’s baby to death, and tried to get him freed based on the claim that the baby had really died from encephalitis caused by vaccine injury. The claim was so ridiculous as to make one wonder why anyone would take it the least bit seriously, but some antivaccinationists hate vaccines so much that no contortion of the truth is too twisted. It’s an idea that appears to have originated with Australian antivaccinationist Veira Scheibner in the late 1990s.

Back in 2013, I noted another such case, this time in South Africa, in which the parents of a baby (called Baby A at the time) who died. Baby A This was a five month old baby who was vaccinated in September 2012 and died 22 days after receiving eight vaccinations (actually four vaccinations, as one of them was pentavalent. When the baby girl was admitted to the hospital, she was diagnosed with “bleeding on the brain” and multiple long bone fractures. The parents were then apparently arrested for child abuse and murder. At that point, an antivaccine “journalist” by the name of Christina England tried to represent this case as a grave injustice, with the brain injury likely due to vaccine injury. But what about the long bone fractures? On this, England was noticeably silent, mentioning only that “her mother explained that after her ordeal, Baby A was irritable, upset and had difficulty in settling. That the following day, she was unable to move her legs, which remained hard and swollen around the injection site for several days.” She also mentioned that her parents thought the nurse had administered the vaccines roughly, as though that would be likely to cause such a reaction.

I blogged about the case a couple of times, and, then, not hearing anything more a bout it, I forgot about it; that is, until now, when a reader sent me an update. It saddens me that I appear to have been correct. It saddens me even more that the parents appear to have claimed the life of a second child:

Recent reports indicate that Stacey-Lee van der Ross, 29 and Junaid Adam-Shaik, 33, parents accused of murdering their 5-month-old baby Alaia, have possibly murdered their second child, Amanee (three months).

After a post mortem was performed on the second baby girl, the state added a second charge of murder to their charge sheet. The couple allegedly told people that both children died after choking. They possibly decided to flee after learning of the second murder charge.

The pair face two charges of murder, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm and child abuse. They stand accused of severely harming Alaia since her birth on 11 May to her death on 12 October 2012. According to the charge sheet she was injured on numerous occasions, her injuries including chafe marks and broken bones; specifically, a broken arm. The belief is that Amanee, born December 2013, suffered the same fate in March the following year.

Yes, it appears that “Baby A” was Baby Alaia. It also appears that the same parents have had another child, and that that child died under circumstances suspicious enough to result in the authorities in South Africa investigating and ultimately pressing charges. Moreover, as is frequently the situation in these cases, apparently the father is abusive. Now that the couple is on the run from the law, Stacey-Lee van der Ross’ mother is very concerned for her safety:

As police hunt a young couple accused of murdering their two babies, the children’s grandmother says she fears for her daughter’s safety.

Avril van der Ross, 50, said she was extremely worried about her daughter, Stacey Lee, 29, who fled along with her partner, Junaid Adam-Shaik, 33, in February when their murder trial was due to start.

the couple from Florida, West of Johannesburg, face two charges of murder, two of assault with the intent to to grievous bodily harm, one each of child abuse, and one of defeating the ends of justice.

They are accused in the deaths of their first daughter, Alaia, who died when she was just five months old in October 2012, and Amanee, who died in March last year at the age of three months.

Van der Ross said the couple had had a stormy relationship, during which Adam-Shaik had abused Stacey-Lee.

One can hardly fail to note the similarities to the case of Alan Yurko, who was similarly abusive and killed his girlfriend’s son. It also just goes to show how low some antivaccine activists, like Christina England, will go to demonize vaccines, just as Alan Yurko’s supporters did for him over a decade ago. They are so convinced that vaccines kill that they’re willing to try to use that claim to let child killers go free. Christina England is the poster child for this particularly vile phenomenon in the antivaccine movement.

The main question that I have remaining is who found whom. Did Christina England find this couple after news reports from South Africa started trickling out to the rest of the world, or did the couple reach out to her? Either way, as I described, the parents were totally on board with blaming Alaia’s death on vaccines for a period back in 2013, even doing radio interviews. She even made an online bid for sympathy back around that time:

In a blog post understood to have been written by baby murder-accused mother Stacey-Lee van der Ross, 29, she claims to have been wrongfully accused of “shaking” her baby.

The blog post to tumblr, published on 2 August 2013 (almost a year after first baby Alaia’s death) sports the nonsensical title, “Shaken baby syndrome… Real or are people hiding something?”

In the post, Stacey-Lee tells the story of her firstborn Alaia that was born in May 2012 and was always “crabby” after receiving vaccinations at a clinic.


“Does anyone kow what shaken baby syndrome is?” she wrote and added, “Neither did I, well at least until we got accused of it.”

Of Alaia, she wrote “she became our lives, our 24 hours a day”.

“If she wasn’t feeling too grand we were all too happy to stay at home so that she would be comfortable… she was our life now, our everything.”

It seems that the accused mother blamed harshly administered vaccine injections, at least in part, for her firstborn’s death.

“What we did notice is that every time they jabbed her, or should I say stabbed her.

“That’s what it looked like; after such excessive force her leg would swell up and get hard, not for days, for weeks.”

Interestingly, this post published a full year after baby Alaia’s death. It’s also adding to the vileness that Stacey-Lee van der Ross would try to blame the nurses for Alaia’s injuries.

More interestingly (and not surprisingly), Christina England appears to have gone AWOL over this case, although as recently as September 2014 she was mentioning the Baby Alaia case thusly in an interview, “I currently know of five parents who are in prison and two who are presently on trial: one set of parents are being tried for murder in South Africa, and the other is a young lady accused of seriously damaging her little boy.” On the Facebook page for “Baby A’s Parents,” on March 4, England left a post stating:

You are both in my prayers. Love you

Posted by Christina England on Wednesday, March 4, 2015

One notes that this Facebook page has been fallow for over a year, with no posts since 2013. One also notes that the parents fled before their trial was scheduled to begin on February 23; so England must have known that they were on the lam if she had bothered to do even the most cursory Google search. Later, on April 25, England left another post on their Facebook page:

Has anyone got any news as to what happened to these parents?

Posted by Christina England on Saturday, April 25, 2015

A few days later, on April 29, she left a comment stating “Do not be too sure that it was not vaccinations please read” followed by a link to an article, Sally Clark’s child killed by a vaccine? There are only two likely explanations that come to mind here for England’s behavior. Either she really is that clueless and hasn’t bothered to Google the names of the parents and Alaia, or she’s engaging in a rather obvious bit of CYA. It’s highly tempting to post a link to a news story or two about the parents’ being charged with the murder of their second baby and their flight from the law. Or maybe I’ll leave a link to this post there later. Or maybe one of you could. Actually, I know that the second comment, at least, is CYA, because there is a news report dated April 19 in which the reporter noted England’s blog post about Alaia and reported she had “set out to contact England but without success to date.” I’d bet that England knows that the parents have been charged with a second murder and are on the run.

Either way, Christina England is about as vile as it gets. The favorable (or at least neutral reaction that she and her ilk who try to get child abusers and baby killers freed by blaming shaken baby on vaccines receive from the antivaccine movement is just one more bit of evidence that they are antivaccine, not pro-vaccine safety. Christina England should hide her face in shame for promoting this myth, but she won’t. After all, she is an antivaccine zealot.