Confirmation that the Government will deny a visa to the dangerous anti-vaccination zealot Kent Heckenlively is extremely welcome news.
Last week, I wrote to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection urging him to act so this individual isn’t allowed to enter the country and spread his dangerous and discredited message. I’m pleased that he has listened on this issue.
Dangerous misinformation peddled by anti-vaccination proponents should never take the place of proven, scientific advice, and we have a responsibility to make sure parents are getting the right messages.
The fight against vaccination misinformation is continuous – earlier this month, we saw two anti-vaccination advocates tour the country and show a film that wrongly claims a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism.
While our immunisation program has historically been effective, there is growing evidence that anti-vaccination advocates and their political allies like Pauline Hanson and One Nation are now undermining our success – as shown by the doubling of measles cases between 2013 and 2014.
Australia’s strong immunisation program is critical to eradicating life-threatening diseases, and failure to vaccinate is a threat to public health. Blocking Mr Heckenlively’s visit is a good step from the Government in helping to protect our community from dangerous misinformation spread by anti-vaccination advocates.