WA Govt calls for Perth anti-vax billboard to be pulled down after doctors complain
THE State Government is seeking to have an anti-vaccination billboard in Perth pulled down, after doctors complained it was posing a public health risk.
The billboard on the corner of Brisbane and William streets depicts a woman with textbooks and the question: “Do you know what’s in a vaccine?”
It provides a link to the radical American anti-vaccination group Learn the Risk.
The Australian Medical Association complained to Health Minister Roger Cook that the billboard should be banned, using legislation that states regulators can prohibit the advertising of “any public health risk activity”.
Mr Cook said yesterday that hewanted to see the billboard removed immediately and had asked the Health Department to investigate if powers under the Public Health Act could be used.
“The anti-vaccine lobby are once again spreading dangerous misinformation, this time with an insidious billboard targeting concerned parents,” Mr Cook said.
“Vaccination is a life saver — it is the best way to protect children from potentially deadly diseases.”
The Learn the Risk website claims it is a US-based, non-profit organisation with a global mission “for educating people worldwide on the dangers of pharmaceutical products, including vaccines and unnecessary medical treatments”.
It states it was founded by a former pharmaceutical insider Brandy Vaughan, an ex-Merck sales executive who “felt she had no choice when the industry’s agenda to keep us all sick began to spiral out of control”.
Australian Medical Association WA president Omar Khorshid said there was no place in WA for messages about vaccines that were misleading.
“It looks like they’re trying to avoid breaking any laws but it’s crystal clear that the billboard is about sowing the seed of doubt in people’s minds about the safety of vaccines,” he said.
“It’s classic conspiracy theory garbage. We want to send a strong message that they’re not welcome in Australia, and we have enough anti-vax groups here already without having any US imports who obviously have deep pockets.”
Dr Khorshid said the AMA was also raising concerns with the City of Vincent and the WA Local Government Authority.
“If local councils can oppose a fast food outlet then perhaps they can also outlaw inappropriate advertising on billboards,” he said.
Catherine Hughes, who lost her baby Riley to whooping cough in 2015, warned on her social media site that anti-vaccination activists from the US were targeting Perth.