Outrage against anti-vaccination lobby at health expo
AN anti-vaccination group exhibiting at a Sunshine Coast Healthy Lifestyle Expo has sparked national outrage.
An organiser of next weekend's event, Annie Infinite, says the expo has received so much hate mail since allowing the Australian Vaccination-sceptics Network a paid booth at the event, it has had to call police.
Nearly 500 people have signed a petition for the expo to ban the AVN and its chief proponent, Meryl Dorey.
Messages to the Expo have included "you should just die for supporting her" and "we are going to take you all down, all you natural therapist c****."
Despite the barrage of complaints, Ms Infinite said she would not cancel Ms Dor-ey's stall without an official request in writing from an authority to do so.
Australian Medical Association Queensland branch councillor and Nambour GP Wayne Herdy, has argued exhibitors should not need a government letter to turn away Ms Dorey.
"Would they allow an al-Qaeda group there to promote terrorism on the Sunshine Coast?" he asked.
"My view is the amount of damage terrorists do is comparable to the anti-vaccine group as 10,000 children are affected.
"The scientific argument in favour of vaccination so far outweighs any illogical irrational hysterical argument anti-vaccine lobby will generate."
The annual Healthy Lifestyle Expo attracts a range of natural healing and healthy lifestyle speakers each year.
Celebrity chef Matt Golinski is in this year's line-up.
But the event has been overshadowed by what the organisers say started as an innocent idea.
"Every year we do a topical discussion and we thought, seeing as though the Coast had the lowest vaccination rate in Australia, it would be a good one to discuss," Ms Infinite said.
"We rang Queensland Health and other medical clinics and organisations, but there were no takers to talk on why you should vaccinate.
"We couldn't debate a topic we didn't have balance so we took it off, but one of the organisations asked if she could exhibit.
"We said she could but we would put material next to her stall, sponsored by us, populated with pro-vaccination material."
Ms Infinite said the Expo was not supporting Ms Dorey, but did support the right to make choices.
Sunshine Coast Public Health Unit director Dr Andrew Langley said Queensland Health received many requests for assistance with immunisation activities and publicity, but was not always able to help.