This isn’t censorship, it is a public health stance. There is no excuse for allowing peddling of ridiculous anti-science nonsense that endangers the lives of children. Pro-vaccine advocates wish to disallow Tenpenny to have a soapbox to spout anti-vax propaganda.
Pressure is mounting against a planned speaking tour by American anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny, with at least one venue now cancelling a seminar.
Kareela Golf and Social Club in Sydney has cancelled a seminar, while a group of doctors cancelled their own workshop at a Melbourne venue, angry the place had also booked Dr Tenpenny next month.
A pro-vaccination group has asked Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to deny the anti-vaccination campaigner a visa to speak in Australia.
A tour organizer (you may recognize her and her wrongheaded views about measles) said those opposing the talks were trying to hide things from the public and that this sets a worrying precedent for denying visas. Stop The Australian Anti-Vaccination Network helped start the petition calling on Mr Dutton to deny Dr Tenpenny a visa. Stop AVN is not hiding anything, while Tenpenny, however, may not have been forthright about her claims which are not supported by science.
Sherri Tenpenny believes autism, asthma, auto-immune disorders, and ADHD are caused by vaccines and says her claims are backed up by studies and research. But is there mention about the myriad more studies that show that vaccines are safe, effective and NECESSARY public health measures to protect children? Is she using rejected studies like Andrew Wakefield’s study from the late 90s that started the whole anti-vaccines push?
Doctors are calling for her not to be allowed to do the tour even calling her a “liar”:
Australian Medical Association’s Council of General Practice chairman Dr Brian Morton also supported the call for her to be blocked from entering, saying her views were inconsistent with overwhelming scientific evidence supporting vaccination.
Tenpenny and her supporters are claiming that the pressure for her seminars to be cancelled stifles her right to free speech. Health professionals say it is not right to allow her to spread misinformation and fear.
Is denying a person a visa the right move? Ideally, she should have been upfront with what her stance was, that it was NOT supported by science, and that it would be potentially divisive. But, she didn’t.
The proper way to advance a medical claim is through the respected scientific literature. The anti-vax position has been rejected. Instead, proponents wish to scare parents into rejecting vaccines. That is unscientific and unethical. So, the venues have every right to give her the boot for her rejected, harmful ideas.
UPDATE (8-Jan-205) Now more cancellations is sending a message that anti-vax propaganda is not welcome. Venues cancel events featuring US anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny. Also, all you want to know: Getting to know Sherri Tenpenny – a guide