Perth academic denies controversial vaccination billboard is ‘anti-vax’

Stock image.
Stock image.

A PERTH academic who backs a controversial billboard in Perth’s CBD that asks “Do You Know What’s in a Vaccine?” claims the sign is not spreading an anti-vaccination message.

The billboard also provided a link to a group called Learn the Risk, a “US-based, non-profit organisation with a global mission”.

Its website states “vaccines contain multiple synthetic chemicals that should never be injected into the body and are part of the reason we have skyrocketing chronic health issues that have somehow become the new ‘normal’ in our society”.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook said last week he was looking at all options to have the billboard removed.

“This devious and nasty billboard would have people believe that a reference to a US website would actually provide useful information about how people can best look after their health care,” Mr Cook said.

“It’s dangerous and misleading and puts people’s lives at risk.”

On Saturday night the billboard was vandalised, with someone writing “A: common sense” under the question.

The Perth billboard was funded by members of the Allona Fit to Parent Network.

Judy Wilyman is a Perth academic and a former science teacher who completed a PhD in public health at the University of Wollongong.

Her thesis was titled ‘A critical analysis of the Australian government’s rationale for its vaccination policy’ and was completed under the supervision of the University’s department of humanities.

Dr Wilyman, who has worked with the Allona Fit to Parent Network, said she was disturbed to learn the billboard could be removed.

“It’s in the public’s interest to know what’s in a vaccine,” she said.

“There’s nothing anti-vaccination about any of the arguments we’re presenting.

“We’re talking about the public interest in government vaccination policy and that requires knowledge of what’s being injected into healthy people.

“This is all about choice in the number of vaccines we use.

“The government is dismissing all questions from parents as ‘anti-vaccination’.

“These are the issues that parents want to debate, and we want to debate it with the science from the medical journals, but the government is trying to suppress this debate that is in the public interest.

“And to remove that board is a suppression of the public’s interest in government vaccination policies.”

The Australian Medical Association is unequivocal in its support for vaccinations.

“The evidence is clear and undeniable – vaccinations work,” AMA president Dr Michael Gannon said earlier this year.

“They are the most effective way of protecting society from the devastating effects of some of the world’s most insidious diseases.

“As medical practitioners, we must be ever-vigilant to counter the misguided anti-vax message with sound science and evidence-backed education.

“We should always be on top of keeping our patients informed of the value of vaccinating their children and themselves where appropriate.”

Allona Fit to Parent Group founder Allona Lahn, who described herself as a ‘freedom of choice ambassador’, said the Federal Government’s decision to deny family tax benefits to people who don’t immunise their children, was “draconian”, “bullying” and a “disgrace to Australia”.