Not wanting to allow the spread of the anti-vaccination movement, one of Australia’s top government official says Kent Heckenlively will not be allowed to step one foot down under.
“Kent’s not got any travel plans to Australia because we’re not going to allow him to come here — we’re not going to issue a visa for this particular individual,” Peter Dutton, Australia’s immigration minister, told 2GB radio station Thursday.
“We have been very clear in having a look right through this particular case, and it’s clear to me that it’s not in our national interest that he should come here,” Dutton said.
Heckenlively, an established controversial figure in the medical community, was planning to tour Oz as part of an international campaign calling for a five-year halt on childhood vaccinations.
The process to ban the northern California resident began a week ago, when Catherine King, Australia’s Labor Party spokesperson, called on the government to deny Heckenlively entry.
“Labor is alarmed that Mr. Heckenlively may be allowed to promote this dangerous nonsense in Australia,” King said in a letter, exclusively obtained by News Corp Australia. “I write to urge you to deny entry to Australia to the dangerous anti-vaccination zealot Kent Heckenlively.”
The self-proclaimed “world’s number one anti-vaxxer” hasn’t been the only one barred or sent packing from Australia, though.
In early August, Polly Tommey and Suzanne Humphries were both banned from Australia for three years after the two women “secretly” screened their documentary “Vaxxed” in the country. The film claims there is a link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism.
“Babies will die if they are not vaccinated,” John Cunningham, an orthopaedic surgeon, told The Age. “These sort of lies and misinformation are a threat to public health and people who promote these ideas should be treated with disdain.”
According to reports, Australia’s national immunization rate is at 93 percent, but it can get as low as 60 percent in some parts of the vast country.