Doctors identified as anti-vaccination are being investigated by state and national authorities, Health Minister Greg Hunt says
The RACGP has also responded to claims of a GP anti-vaccination “underground network” by stating there’s no place in general practice for anti-vaccination messages.
The Herald Sun reported this week that at least three GPs have been helping families avoid both vaccination and the consequences of “no jab, no play” and “no jab, no pay” policies aimed at improving vaccination rates.
Now, the Health Minister said that these doctors “are already being investigated not just by state authorities, but also by the national authorities”.
“I won’t pre-empt the outcome, but I will say this, I could not have and we could not have a stronger view on the importance of vaccination,” Mr Hunt told reporters.
He highlighted the Government’s new Get the Facts campaign, which is aimed at educating parents about immunisation and busting myths.
“Vaccination saves lives, and it protects lives, and it is absolutely fundamental. It is safe, as the Chief Medical Officer and all of the body of research points out,” Mr Hunt said.
“And if it is accurate that there are registered doctors who are advocating an anti-vaccination position, then they will have the full force of the authorities come down on them.
“So that investigation is underway now and I hope that the authorities will conclude it as swiftly as possible.
“It will be up to them to determine the penalties, but my view is there should be no place for registered medical professionals, as the AMA and the College of GPs and the Chief Medical Officer have made clear, who are doing anything other than supporting what is a fundamental part of keeping our children safe.
“There will be no sympathy, none at all, from the Government with the authorities taking the strongest possible decisions.”
He said that he had been “astonished” at revelations that GPs were helping families avoid vaccination.
“I am astonished that there are any people who have been through medical degrees who would deign to stoop to the level of supporting the anti-vaccination movement,” the Minister said.
The RACGP moved to reassure Australians that “anti-vaccination messages have absolutely no place in general practice”.
President of the RACGP Dr Bastian Seidel said the RACGP strongly supports immunisation for all Australians.
“It is vital all Australians are fully vaccinated,” Dr Seidel said.
“While some parents may have concerns stemming from reading misleading immunisation information, anti-vaccination messages are dangerous and are not supported by the RACGP.”