An anti-vaccination mother took to social media on Wednesday to share her decision to give out tainted lollipops for Halloween.
The Australian mother, who identifies herself online as Sarah Walker RN, shared in the private Facebook group “Stop Mandatory Vaccination” that her son, whose name has been redacted, contracted chickenpox and that she planned to “help” other children in the community by spreading the virus through candy.
“So my beautiful son [redacted] has the chickenpox at the moment and we’ve both decided to help others with natural immunity this Halloween!” Walker wrote. “We have the packaging open and closing down pat and can’t wait to help others in our community.”
Walker’s message was screenshot and shared on Light for Riley, a page dedicated to protecting “babies & families from vaccine-preventable diseases” in honor of Riley Hughes, a baby boy who tragically died from whooping cough in March 2015.
“Have you ever seen something that instantaneously makes your skin crawl?” the post, written by Riley’s father, Greg Hughes, reads.
Walker claims to be a registered nurse at the “Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane” on her Facebook page. However, Queensland Health, the parent company of The Royal Children’s Hospital — which is actually located in Melbourne, not Brisbane — confirmed that she was never employed at any of its medical facilities.
“There are no current or former employees by that name that have worked for Queensland Health as a registered nurse,” a spokesperson wrote on Facebook. “This is a serious issue and has been referred to police, who are investigating.”
Walker later took to Facebook to double down on her argument, despite widespread backlash online.
“Dear internet trolls,” she wrote. “You think you’re right by judging me and my trying to report me and get me fired. I don’t care. The health and wellbeing of my baby is far more valuable than any job.”
“You say I’m vile and gross like I have done something that hundreds of thousands of parents haven’t already done,” she continued. “How many times do you see children dropped off to day care or school when they’re clearly sick and contagious? Exactly!”
“And I’m offering life long immunity for the price of a couple of blisters and a few days off school,” she added.
Thankfully, whether Walker went ahead with her scheme or it was entirely made up, Queensland Health told News.com.au that the risk of chickenpox transmission from such tainted lollipops would be extremely low, since the virus does not survive long on surfaces.
However, if Walker were to be found guilty of food tampering, or making false claims to do so, she could be facing serious prison time.
In September 2018, Australia’s parliament increased the jail term to 15 years for anyone convicted of contaminating foodstuffs after an epidemic of needles being discovered in strawberries and other fruits terrified the country, Reuters reports.
The bill even criminalized making hoax claims about food tampering, an offense now punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
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