Queensland’s chief health officer won’t join a panel to discuss vaccinations with anti-vaccine advocates because they’re spreading misinformation.
Queensland’s chief health officer has refused to debate Australia’s top anti-vaccine group.
Dr Jeanette Young had been asked to join a panel discussion with a member of Australian Vaccination Sceptics Network (AVSN) at the Sunshine Coast Healthy Lifestyle Expo.
But she has announced she won’t do it because there’s nothing to debate.
“This is not a debate about free speech; it’s about the fact that there’s a small percentage of people who are under the misconception that there are two sides to this story, because there simply isn’t,” Dr Young said in a statement.
“There are some very small, but vocal groups like the AVSN who insist on spreading misinformation and debunked theories.
Dr Young also questioned Healthy Lifestyle Expo organisers for encouraging a debate in the first place.
But expo organiser Wayne Pina-Roozemond, who was himself vaccinated as a child, said the aim was only to inform Sunshine Coast locals.
He said the region had one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
“It just seemed sensible to have a discussion here,” Mr Pina-Roozemond told AAP.
“We’re not pro or anti vaccine – this is just providing balanced discussion so people can make an informed decision.”
He also said that despite Dr Young’s refusal he was still hoping a vaccination advocate would talk at the event.
“If there is anybody out there who’s willing to get up on stage and talk about the merits of vaccination then I’m more than happy to have them,” he said.
“I’ve been trying to get somebody for six months.”