Halloween Hoax: Anti-vaxxer claims she gave kids candy tainted with chickenpox on Halloween
Queensland police are investigating a Halloween Facebook hoax after a woman pretending to be a nurse provoked controversy on social media, after she claimed to have given children Halloween candy infected with chicken-pox.
According to a post shared in a pro-vaccine Facebook group Light for Riley, a mom by the name of 'Sarah Walker RN' recently posted in a private group called "Stop Mandatory Vaccination".
There, she claimed that after her son came down with the infection, she'd tainted a number of lollypops with his germs, to spread the disease and grant other children a natural immunity.
The woman wrote: "So my beautiful son J--- has chicken-pox at the moment and we've both decided to help others with natural immunity this Halloween! We have the packaging opening and closing down pat and can't wait to help others in our community. If anyone else would like some for their children, happy to send via post for $1 plus postage to your location."
The post in Light for Riley shamed the woman, stating: "How’s this: 1. Get excited by your child being infected with the chickenpox virus 2. Formulate a plan to intentionally infect other people’s children unknowingly by distributing contaminated lollipops to the community on Halloween 3. Proceed to gloat about it on a Facebook anti-vaccination group. [sic]"
The post added: "Now for the cherry on top; See that RN that we’ve purposely not blurred out at the end of her name? That stands for Registered Nurse. The woman responsible for this post is claiming to be a nurse in a Brisbane children’s hospital. It’s not often I’m lost for words but this just about does it."
A number of commenters were outraged by the post. However, the Australian hospital where Walker claimed to be a nurse has stated in the comments: "There are no current or former employees by that name that have worked for Queensland Health as a registered nurse. This is a serious issue and has been referred to police, who are investigating."
Walker later took to Facebook to further argue her point, despite the 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.
Queensland Health has spoken to News.com.au and revealed that the risk of chickenpox transmission from such tainted lollipops would be incredibly low, as the virus cannot survive long on surfaces. However, if Walker's claims are found to be true, she could be facing a long prison sentence for tampering with food.
Despite the fact the Facebook profile is believed to be a fake, a spokeswoman for Queensland Police confirmed they are aware of the post and are investigating.