An American who describes himself as the “world’s No. 1 anti-vaxxer” has been barred from entering Australia, officials said yesterday, in a further crackdown on the anti-immunization movement.
Kent Heckenlively had outlined plans to travel to Australia in December as part of a “Dangerous Science” tour to promote his books and detail efforts to push for a five-year moratorium on childhood vaccines in the US.
His proposed trip came amid efforts by Canberra to boost child vaccination rates, including a “no jab, no pay” law to block parents who refuse to vaccinate their offspring from accessing some government benefits.
Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said Heckenlively, who in an online blog wrote “I am the world’s #1 anti-vaxxer,” would be blocked from the country.
“Kent’s not got any travel plans to Australia because we’re not going to allow him to come here,” he told Sydney-based commercial radio station 2GB.
“These people who are telling parents that their kids shouldn’t be vaccinated are dangerous people... It’s clear to me that it’s not in our national interest that he should come here,” Dutton said.
Australian Minister for Social Services Christian Porter last year said immunization rates had lifted since the introduction of “no jab, no pay.”
More than 5,700 children whose parents were receiving childcare payments and had previously registered as vaccination objectors had their children immunized, he said.
Australia has vaccination rates of more than 90 percent for children aged one to five.
Many people who do not vaccinate their children say they fear a triple vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella is responsible for increasing cases of autism.
A US study published in July said that even a slight drop in the number of children receiving measles vaccinations could triple the number of cases of the disease.
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