As thousands of Queenslanders got their kids ready to go trick-or-treating for Halloween, they were instead left terrified after a woman purporting to be a nurse claimed she’d infected lollies with chickenpox.
In a Facebook post shared to an anti-vaccination page, the woman said she couldn’t wait to “help others in our community”.
“So my beautiful son … has the chickenpox at the moment and we’ve both decided to help others with natural immunity this Halloween!” she wrote.
“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 gained traction this afternoon when it was shared by Light For Riley, a Facebook page stressing the importance of vaccination and created after the parents of Riley Hughes lost their son to whooping cough.
In the post, Riley’s dad said the post “instantaneously” made his “skin crawl”.
“How’s this,” he wrote.
“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.
“It’s not often I’m lost for words but this just about does it.”
The post has been shared more than 1000 times.
The woman’s Facebook name ends in RN — standing for registered nurse — with her description claiming she works as a staff nurse at the “Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane”.
The Royal Children’s Hospital is actually located in Melbourne and while there was a Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, it was renamed to Brisbane Children’s Hospital in 1943 before being changed back in 1967. The only children’s hospital in Brisbane now is called the Queensland Children’s Hospital, which was opened in 2014.
Queensland Health, which oversees the staffing at all of the state’s hospitals, was also quick to refute the woman’s claim.
Commenting directly on the viral Facebook post, a spokesperson from Children’s Health Queensland confirmed she was not a nurse — nor has she ever been.
“There are no current or former employees by that name that have worked for Queensland Health as a registered nurse,” a spokesperson from Children’s Health Queensland said.
“This is a serious issue and has been referred to police, who are investigating.”
Queensland Health also confirmed the risk of chicken pox transmission from the lollipops would be extremely low, but the post is still being lashed as irresponsible.
A spokeswoman for Queensland Police confirmed they were aware of the post and were investigating.
The mother, who is refusing to back down, has continued to claim she’s a nurse.
“Dear internet trolls,” she wrote at 5.30pm Queensland time.
“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.
“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.”