Australian Doctors Investigated for Helping Anti-Vax Parents Avoid Mandatory Vaccines

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Australia has no patience for the anti-vax movement. Children in many parts of Australia must be immunized in order to enroll in daycare or early childhood education. Exceptions exist for people with legitimate medical reasons. But “fear that vaccines cause autism” is not considered a legitimate medical excuse. Now the health department is investigating three doctors for allegedly helping parents get out of vaccinations.

No vaccines, no daycare or kindergarten in Australia

According to ABC News Australia, the Australian government recently stopped accepting “conscientious objection” as a reason to avoid vaccination for kids attending public schools or daycares. In 2015 approximately 30,000 children were registered as unvaccinated due to conscientious objection. Conscientious objection is no longer enough to get out of vaccinations, but Australia still has its anti-vaxxers. Those parents are looking for ways around the mandatory vaccinations, and there are doctors helping them. Now the Health Department is coming after some of those doctors.

“I am astonished that any people who’ve been through medical degrees … would deign to stoop to the level of supporting the anti-vaccination movement,” said Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.

Doctors under investigation

John Piesse is one of the doctors under investigation. The general practitioner works at the Natural Healing Center and the National Institute of Integrative Medicine. He has allegedly spoken at anti-vaccination conferences about his efforts to help parents sidestep the “no jab, no play” rules.

According to The Age, Piesse and the naturopath he works with went to a screening of Vaxxed, an anti-vax documentary that purports to show the way vaccines cause autism. Afterwards, they allegedly advised the audience about how to get vaccine exemptions to get around Australia’s “no jab, no play” rules. SBS reports that Piesse was filmed boasting of having provided vaccine exemptions to 600 children.

The other two doctors under investigation have not been named. If found guilty, they face losing their medical licenses.

“Anyone who purports to support the quackery of the anti-vaccination movement places the lives of children and the health of the wider community at risk,” said Martin Foley, Acting Health Minister for Victoria.

What do you think of this doctor’s actions? Let us know in the comments.

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(Image: iStockPhoto / Gaius)