SAFE AND SURE: The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission issued a public warning regarding Misleading and Unsafe Practices by Anti-Vaccination Campaigners and said residents should beware if self-proclaimed experts and check with their GP regarding vaccinations for their child and family.
SAFE AND SURE: The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission issued a public warning regarding Misleading and Unsafe Practices by Anti-Vaccination Campaigners and said residents should beware if self-proclaimed experts and check with their GP regarding vaccinations for their child and family. Supplied

Anti-vax warning issued by independent health authority

AN INDEPENDENT health and safety body has issued a warning to the community about misleading and unsafe practices advocated by anti-vax promoters, including registered health practitioners, who continue to spread misleading messages.

The Health Care Complaints Commission this week issued a public warning under s94A of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993 regarding Misleading and Unsafe Practices by Anti-Vaccination Campaigners.

Complaints have been received in relation to individuals (including registered and unregistered health practitioners, as well as academics) and organisations engaged in the widespread promotion of dangerous anti-vax messages.

A HCCC spokesman said the anti-vax messages had the potential to engender fear and alarm in the community, often targeting vulnerable members of the community through misinformation which may have a detrimental effect on the health care decisions of individuals.

"Anti-vax campaigners will often selectively quote scientific research and studies in support of anti-vax claims, including exaggerating the risks and minimising or discrediting the benefits of vaccines," he said.

"The research presented does not align with the evidence-base on which independent and government bodies worldwide make recommendations."

How consumers can protect themselves

. Exercise caution when relying on vaccination efficacy information promoted via social media and websites not government affiliated or endorsed;

. Be cautious of persons or groups spreading anti-vax messages via other means, including face-to-face information sessions and other public events;

. Be wary of persons claiming to be "experts" or to have conducted "research" into the safety and efficacy of vaccination programs;

. Be wary of persons claiming unproven qualifications, check the National Register of Health Practitioners https://www.ahpra.gov.au/Registration/Registers-of-Practitioners.aspx;

. Consult a registered medical practitioner concerning the benefits and risks of vaccines;

. Visit trusted government websites including the NSW Health and Commonwealth Department of Health websites and the National Centre for Immunisation Surveillance and Research (NCIRS) website.

From July 1, 2018, parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids against disease lost part of their fortnightly family support payments.

In 2017 the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare revealed local anti-vax hot spots Byron Bay and Suffolk Park had low child vaccination levels, putting children, families and the community at risk.