A dangerous person is coming to Australia.
When she gets here, she will speak in public places to enthralled groups of supporters. She will spread a dangerous message.
And it’s perfectly possible that this message could end lives.
This woman is not a terrorist, but she is an extremist.
In March, prominent American anti-vaccination campaigner, Sherri Tenpenny is scheduled to give a series of seminars in Australia designed to encourage parents to not vaccinate their children.
In these seminars being promoted by the Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network, Sherri Tenpenny will apparently speak about “the truths about vaccination risks”, “your rights regarding vaccinations for child care and school”, and “how to keep babies and children healthy according to nature”.
Sherri Tenpenny is an osteopathic medical doctor from Ohio in the United States. Her website says that she provides “vaccine information you won’t hear from your paediatrician”. She claims to be “an outspoken advocate for…the right to refuse vaccination.” In addition, she “offers hope through her unique treatments” for patients who have been “vaccine-injured.”
She is on the record as objecting to childhood vaccinations, as well as Gardasil (the Australian-made vaccine that prevents the human papillomavirus, a major cause of cervical cancer), and the flu shot.
But perhaps the best demonstration of her views is the tshirts that she sells on her website.
There’s a tshirt for parents who want to celebrate “sparing” their children from vaccines:
There’s one for an unvaccinated child:
And there’s a tshirt for every person who hates facts:
There is a reason why the nonsense that Sherri Tenpenny spouts is not akin to the information that you’ll receive from your doctor.
It’s because it not credible. It’s lies. Misinformation and manipulation.
Science has repeatedly proven that immunisation does not cause autism.
A University of Sydney study involving more than 1.25 million children concluded that there was no evidence to support a relationship between common vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough and the development of autism.
But what science has also told us is that failure to immunise causes disease, disability and death.
NSW saw a spike in measles infections from early 2012 to late 2012.
In the past five years, three babies from New South Wales have died from whooping cough — all were unvaccinated. More than 1500 infants in NSW were diagnosed in 2014 with the potentially life-threatening, but vaccine-preventable, disease.
The pro-vaccination group Stop the Australian Vaccination Network and pro-vaccination campaigner, Reasonable Hank, are encouraging people to write to the Health Minister, health departments and the commercial venues that are hosting Sherri Tenpenny’s lectures to protest Tenpenny’s dangerous campaign. The details of this campaign are here.
But the Australian Government has an opportunity to go further. Specifically, the new Immigration Minister (and former Health Minister), Peter Dutton has an opportunity to take a stand against deadly misinformation and the people that peddle it.
He can make sure Sherri Tenpenny never enters the country.
Mr Dutton has the power to refuse a visa to travel to Australia on the basis that the person fails a test of character. Last year, Scott Morrison used this character test to cancel the visa of so-called ‘pick-up artist’ Julien Blanc for “putting a view that was derogatory to women”.
New Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton (via his website)
Visas can be refused or cancelled by the Minister if they are satisfied that the person ‘represents a danger to the Australian community’, ‘would incite discord in Australia’ or is otherwise not of good character.
In making a decision on this issue, the law requires that Minister take into account the best interests of minors in Australia.
Let’s be clear: Sherri Tenpenny represents a danger to Australian children.
She encourages people to reject scientific principles and to put their children, other children and the wider community at risk from deadly diseases. Rejection of immunisation is, quite literally, a matter of life and death.
On several measures, Sherri Tenpenny fails the character test. In the same way that Julien Blanc’s misogynistic ‘pick-up’ tips were a danger to women in the is country, Tenpenny is a danger to its children and the Australian community.
We call on the Minister for Immigration to reject Sherri Tenpenny’s application for a visa to travel in Australia and ensure that her misinformation and lies do not threaten the lives of children in this country.
As a community, if we value the lives of children, we must have zero tolerance for misinformation about vaccinations. That means, we must have zero tolerance for the views espoused by Sherri Tenpenny.
As Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton can and must send this message.
Want to do something about it?
You can contact Minister Dutton and encourage him to refuse Sherri Tenpenny’s visa. His email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and his Ministerial Office phone number is: (02) 6277 7220.
You can contact the Minister for Health about this issue and encourage her to speak to the Minister for Immigration about the importance of refusing a visa to Sherri Tenpenny. The Minister’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and her Ministerial Office phone number is: (02) 6277 7630
You can contact the commercial venues that are hosting Sherri Tenpenny’s seminars and let them know how you feel about it. Reasonable Hank has collated the names of the venues and their email addresses at the bottom of the page here.
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