Authorities are investigating a secret cell of anti-vaccination doctors amid claims they are helping families dodge compulsory immunisation of their children.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and Victoria’s Health Department are looking into allegations that at least three Melbourne GPs are offering services to those against vaccinations, the Herald Sun reports.
They include Dr John Piesse, who works at the Natural Healing Centre in Mitcham, and was captured on camera bragging about helping hundreds of families avoid getting immunised.
At a screening of controversial documentary Vaxxed earlier this month, Dr Piesse railed against ‘no jab no play’ regulations on childcare and ‘no jab no pay’ rules on family assistance payments.
Dr John Piesse (pictured), who works at the Natural Healing Centre in Mitcham, is one of the GPs being investigated
He was filmed telling attendees that doctors can get around both and the clip was subsequently posted on an anti-vaccination Facebook page.
‘I am a doctor who has been working hard for 18 months to try and help parents get exemption from ‘vaccinated pain for vaccinated play,’ with mixed success,’ he claimed.
‘I want you to know it is possible to get the exemption so there is hope,’ he told the crowd.
He explained that they needed a doctor’s letter of ‘contrary indication’ – provided the GP has the qualifications required for ‘no vax no play’ or is a registered medical practitioner for ‘no vax no play.’
At a screening of controversial documentary Vaxxed earlier this month, Dr Piesse railed against ‘no jab no play’ regulations on childcare
Dr Piesse said he had been told he didn’t have the necessary qualifications – but he managed to get in writing from the Health Department that he did.
Naturapathic physician Nerida James – who is Dr Piesse’s colleague from the Natural Healing Centre and president of the Church of Scientology’s Melbourne Narconon drug rehabilitation centre – also spoke at the screening on August 3.
She told attendees that they could help them like they have helped about 600 families.
‘We can support you. We have been supporting about 600 families thanks to Dr John Piesse,’ she said.
He was reportedly referred to the AHPRA a year ago after he applied for immunisation exemptions for patients by claiming the shots would damage their health, the Herald Sun reports.
The agency has attracted criticism for taking so long to investigate the claims, including from Victoria’s Acting Health Minister Martin Foley.
‘It is deeply disappointing and concerning that after 12 months an investigation into Dr Piesse’s practice has not yet been concluded by AHPRA. It’s not good enough,’ he told the Herald Sun.