A New Zealand doctor jumped on stage during a screening of the controversial film Vaxxed, and slammed the anti-vaccination movement
Dr Lance O’Sullivan attended a screening of the movie in his community of Kaitaia, in New Zealand’s far north, but not to sit through the film.
Instead, he got on stage and declared, “I’ve come here not to watch the film… but to continue my battle and my challenge for my people… and importantly for our children.
“I come here with a lot of anger… that’s because I am adamantly opposed to this because this position, this idea of anti-immunisation has killed children around the world and actually will continue to kill children whose parents have put off immunisation because of misinformation.
“Misinformation based on lies, quite frankly.”
Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, was directed by Andrew Wakefield, who was struck off the British Medical Register in 2010 after being found guilty of “serious professional misconduct” over his research into the possibility of a link between the MMR vaccine, bowel disease and autism.
Many large studies have since found that vaccines are not a causal factor in autism.
Dr O’Sullivan, who was named New Zealander of the Year in 2014, later told Stuff.co.nz that he felt compelled to make a statement regarding the film as “I know that peddling this misinformation and these falsehoods will result in children in my community being harmed by vaccine preventable infectious diseases and even die”.
He told of how he had treated a severely ill infant who was suffering from a vaccine preventable disease.
According to Stuff.co.nz, the film’s screening had been “kept secret” until not long before it took place, though Dr O’Sullivan and other health professionals had been invited.
He has since been attacked on social media by supporters of the film, reports TVNZ.
In Australia, the film was pulled from the Castlemaine Local and International Film Festival (CLIFF) in Victoria last year, after protests from the Australian Medical Association.
“I think that film festivals are a wonderful bit of art and part of their job is to challenge us and to be edgy, and occasionally seek controversy. But I would say to [festival director David Thrussell] that even small pockets of people who choose not to vaccinate their children, there is a cost to be had there,” said AMA president Dr Michael Gannon at the time.
“One, two, three per cent reductions in vaccination rates harm children.”
Image: stuff.co.nz, by Monique Ford