Name change could mislead public: AMA

happy child being vaccinated

The AMA has slammed a political party that wants to change its name to the Informed Medical Options Party, as the Guild underlines the importance of vaccination

Media including The Daily Mail report that the Involuntary Medication Objectors Party wishes to change its name to the Informed Medical Options Party ahead of next year’s WA state election.

Among its objectives, the Party lists amending NSW and Victorian laws to include conscientious objection exemptions when enrolling children in childcare and early education; and amending family assistance legislation to also include such an exemption.

The Party also wishes to introduce “transparency measures to address the lack of public/consumer scrutiny over vaccination committees such as the Advisory Committee on Vaccines, Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee”.

Dr Andrew Miller, president of the AMA’s WA branch, told 6PR’s Gareth Parker that the move would be “dangerous”.

“The problem is that internet conspiracy theories and people casting doubts on vaccination, in the end it ends up killing babies,” he said.

“We’ve just seen five and a half thousand cases of measles in Samoa, with around 80 deaths over there, so it’s very important that we start to call out people in this fake stuff.

“To call it the Informed Medical Choices Party is just misleading… sometimes people will come across a name like that and think, ‘Oh yeah well , that’s something I support’ without realising what’s behind it. And you can accidentally start preferencing all these fringe strange groups who believe nonsense and cause real life health problems for people.”

He said the current name was “probably fine enough” but that the proposed change was a marketing move to attract more votes.

He said that the AMAs plan to ask the Australian Electoral Commission to examine the proposed name change to learn why the group wants that name, and to what degree the Party is both medical and informed.

Pharmacy Guild WA branch director Matthew Tweedie told the AJP that without commenting specifically on the Party in question, the Guild supports immunization and “views it as a fundamental plank of public health that has improved health standards in the world for the last century-plus”.

“It’s why we advocate strongly for community pharmacy to provide vaccination to residents in WA no matter where they live,” he said.

“We urge people to listen to the advice of their GP and their pharmacist, and the health authorities.

“We note the threat the world is facing in terms of outbreaks of communicable diseases believed to be eradicated years ago, such as measles, and can only emphasise the importance of immunisation to the health and wellbeing of all Australians.

“I can only trust the common sense of the community in this.”

In the last WA election, the Party received 3,791 votes.

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