Diluted Thinking
in Australian healthcare

Vaxxed Movie Oz Tour - Canberra ACT

The Canberra screening of Vaxxed and the Q&A session took place on 31 July 2017. It was more of the same; unsubstantiated tales (often preposterous) from the audience about vaccine injuries, fear-mongeringly validated by the panelists, with hefty doses of anti-vaccination propaganda and rhetoric.

After the Q&A session finished, Tommey spoke to some audience members, and advised one young woman about to embark on missionary work in Africa not to get vaccinated.

This post could end here but for the fact I haven't mentioned the venue. Take a deep breath…

This anti-vaccination liefest took place in the Leonard Huxley Lecture Theatre at the Australian National University, a fact that the USA Vaxxed team and AVN will exploit and capitalise on until the end of days.

To add insult to injury, the Vaxxed team is dishonestly promoting this screening as being held by ANU, not at ANU:

Official Vaxxed YouTube video title 'Australian National University screens Vaxxed'
Official Vaxxed YouTube, video title: Australian National University screens VAXXED

This claim was also made on Vaxxed's official Periscope & Twitter accounts:

Official Vaxxed Periscope & Twitter: Australian National University screens Vaxxed
Official Vaxxed Periscope & Twitter accounts, claiming ANU screened Vaxxed movie.

It is beyond horrifying that the science department of the Australian National University provided a platform for disseminating misinformation that can, and does, kill. Its client in this case was the AVN, a disgraced organisation that carries a current public health warning issued by the NSW HCCC.

This Vaxxed tour has itself presented evidence that misinformation from Vaxxed has resulted in potentially dangerous health choices by its audience. At the Q&A session in Maleny on 23 Jul 2017, a woman addressed the panel, stating "I don't have a vaccine-damaged child and it's thanks to you"… "Our whole family has done a complete 180 on vaccines"… this woman boasted of having a healthy, unvaccinated 19 month old child.

The Canberra Times published an article about this fiasco ANU mistakenly hosts American anti-vaccination film screening on campus (1 Aug 2017). The article states that ANU senior management was not informed that Vaxxed would be screened, and an ANU spokesman said the event was a private booking and "not in any way endorsed by the university." "Any claim made by the hirers that claims ANU endorsement is false."

ANU has done some serious damage here to public health in Australia. I suggest the person responsible for accepting this booking might like to walk into the building next door to the theatre, the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, and explain to its researchers why it's ok to spread misinformation about vaccination. That should make for an interesting discussion.

Update: 2 Aug 2017

After the Q&A session, during filming of (alleged) vaccine-injury stories, Polly Tommey announced that Australia will soon have its very own Vaxxed bus. There is no doubt that Vaxxed and Tommey have their sights set firmly on setting up shop in Australia.

Update: 14 Sep 2017

ANU response to Vaxxed screening at its facility:

"Thank you for your emails to the Vice-Chancellor of 1 August and 23 August, about the screening of the anti-vaccination film 'Vaxxed' in early August. Apologies that it has taken some time to respond, but Professor Schmidt has asked that I reply on his behalf.

"We want to assure you that the screening of 'Vaxxed' was not an ANU event, nor endorsed in any way by the University. The messages the film promotes are not endorsed or supported by ANU, and the screening was made possible through a private booking of one of our venues. Any claim made by the hirers to the contrary is false and in breach of our venue hire policy.

"As a University we strongly support vaccination as an important medical intervention to ensure the health of our community and individuals within it.

"We are reviewing our venue hire processes to ensure that all private bookings are not in conflict with the academic and research mission of the University."

Source: private correspondence dated 7 Sep 2017

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