Australia’s scientific community has condemned an anti-vaccination event advertised by the City of Sydney, which was featured on the website’s ‘what’s on’ section, despite not conforming to the website’s promotional guidelines.
The ad, which promoted well-known anti-vaxxer, Dr Judy Wilyman as Australia’s “top vaccine expert” speaking at an undisclosed location, appeared on the council’s website for a number of hours before being taken down at the request of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore and City of Sydney councillors.
“This is entirely contrary to our values. We support evidence-based policies in the interests of our city’s communities,” Moore told the ABC.
Speaking to Mamamia, general practitioner and vaccination supporter, Dr Brad McKay said the scientific community were “appalled” the ad has been featured on the council’s website, and were “unsure of how it got through their vetting system”.
“[When we saw the event ad on Sunday], we started to contact a few people and were told in the morning that nobody would be able to do anything because the social media team would be in on Monday, so we appealled to Clover Moore and to the councillors as well and then they were able to get people on board and take down the advertisement,” he said.
“It was completely against everything we know the City of Sydney to stand for.”
The event page, which called for an “open, honest and respectful discussion about vaccines” and how “the government, media and the medical community are pushing more and more vaccines on us”, is a common occurrence for the anti-vaccination community.Dr McKay explained these communities start up such events to bad mouth vaccinations and scare and confuse parents through misinformation.
“It’s an ongoing battle for the scientific community to stop them spreading bad information and bad science. I find it terrible for parents to be preyed on, [these kind of events] preach fear to a lot of parents.
“It’s a disaster for the community if we don’t have enough kids being vaccinated. The scientific community is completely against the anti-vaccination propaganda that’s put out.”