Doctors in anti-vax ‘underground network’

A handful of Melbourne doctors have formed an “underground network” to help families avoid mandatory vaccinations, the Herald Sun claims

In the article, “Secret Melbourne cell of anti-vaxxer doctors under investigation,” health reporter Grant McArthur has written that at least three GPs are part of the network.

One of these doctors has spoken out against the Government’s “no jab, no play” and “no jab, no pay” policies at a recent Hawthorn screening of the anti-vaccination film Vaxxed, the article says.

“The probe comes as an explosive video has emerged of one rebel anti-vaccination doctor and a colleague boasting of helping 600 Melbourne families to avoid immunisations,” the article says.

“Victoria’s Health Department and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency are examining allegations raised about the Melbourne general practitioners who, it is claimed, are offering their services to families opposed to vaccinations.”

In an interview with 2CCC’s Tim Shaw yesterday, AMA president Dr Michael Gannon commended Social Services minister Christian Porter on the “no jab, no play” policy.

“We’re always uncomfortable in telling people exactly what to do, but on issues of population-wide childhood vaccination, we are strongly supportive of it, and have been advocating on that front long before Minister Porter or any other member of this Government took an interest in it,” he told Mr Shaw.

Associate Professor Julie Leask, a Principal Research Fellow in the School of Public Health at The University of Sydney, warned today that “doctors should only sign a valid exemption” but said the “no jab” policies could be harming the vaccination cause.

“There are very few genuine medical exemptions to vaccination,” she says. “Vaccines save lives and are generally safe, with some side effects and very rarely more serious reactions. 

“Some families unfortunately fear vaccines more than the diseases. This happens for a range of reasons – bad experiences with the system, mistrust, alternative beliefs.

“No policies will make them change. No Jab No Play effectively shuts out their children from enrolling children in childcare or pre-school.

“Some families are experiencing many difficulties.  No Jab No Play is putting tremendous pressure on the system and enlivening activism.

“There are and have always been some doctors who are against vaccination in general. They will be the ones non-vaccinators will flock to when they have no other options.  

“It would be better to have very strict and hard to reach exemptions for vaccine refusers so the policies don’t drive parents to these particular doctors and become even more disengaged with mainstream services.”

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