Anti-vaxxers target regional Qld towns with high vaccination rates
ANTI-VAXXERS are planning a secret roadshow of regional Queensland targeting towns with strong immunisation records for clandestine screenings of a film which blames vaccines for autism.
An Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network email obtained by The Courier-Mail promises to bring the movie VaxXed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe to 12 towns from next month, claiming these areas "have been wanting such an event for many months".
Latest childhood immunisation data shows most of the towns identified by the controversial group have good coverage rates, including Maryborough where 97.8 per cent of children aged 12 to 15 months and 96.92 per cent of five-year-olds were fully vaccinated at last count.
In Townsville, Bundaberg and Rockhampton - also towns targeted by the AVN - 97.36 per cent, 96.03 per cent and 97.05 per cent of five-year-olds were fully vaccinated, March 2017 data shows.
Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon said he was even "more concerned" now the AVN appeared to be pursuing towns with good vaccination track records.
"These people are spreading misery, hurt and harm and nothing else," he said.
"They don't have a message that is even remotely worthwhile, interesting or worth debating."
Health Minister Cameron Dick called for Queenslanders to boycott screenings and said venues should refuse to show the film.
"The anti-vaxxer agenda is dangerous and ill-informed," he said.
Queensland's chief health officer Jeannette Young said claims vaccinations caused sudden infant death syndrome or autism were "entirely baseless, irresponsible and dangerous".
The email warns supporters, "our window of opportunity is very small" and calls for Queensland "ambassadors" to help find venues at which to screen the film and find people with vaccine injury stories to share
In July, a Gold Coast principal claimed he was tricked by the AVN into screening the film, which alleges a link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.
A secret screening was also been held in Melbourne this year despite the film being widely condemned by health experts.
The US producers were last month reportedly banned from visiting Australia for some time.
Attempts were made to contact the AVN yesterday.