US anti-vaccination ​campaigner Sherri Tenpenny cancels Australian tour

Sherri Tenpenny (Facebook)

A controversial US anti-vaccine campaigner has officially cancelled her Australian tour because of alleged 'safety and security' concerns.

A controversial US anti-vaccine campaigner has cancelled her Australian tour, citing security concerns.

Sherri Tenpenny had planned to visit Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane alongside fellow campaigner Stephanie Messenger.

Ms Tenpenny was due to speak at a range of venues across the country. The announcement of her tour caused a public outcry with opponents saying her views about the so-called "dangers" of vaccination are irresponsible and should not be given a platform.

In a statement announcing the cancellation of the tour, Ms Tenpenny claimed she had received persistent threats from “anti-free-speech terrorists”.

"Given the level of hostility that has transpired over the last three weeks, and for the sake of my own personal safety, I have also cancelled my planned vacation in Australia," she said.

The overwhelming majority of scientific and medical evidence supports the benefits of vaccines.

In 2014, a major international review found no evidence linking the development of autism with commonly-used vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.

Pro-vaccination group "Stop the Australian Anti-Vaccination Network" previously campaigned against Ms Tenpenny's planned visit, saying her views endangered people's health and targeted vulnerable patients.

The venues

The Kareela Golf & Social Club, in Sydney's south, was among the first venues to cancel. A spokesman said the club didn’t want to be associated with the controversial topic.

At least five venues then followed suit, bowing to public pressure and cancelling the event. Ms Tenpenny said refunds to people who had booked tickets would be offered.

'Threat' claims

A spokesman for NSW Police told SBS that they were not aware of any threats against Ms Tenpenny.

A Queensland Police spokeswoman said in a statement to SBS, the Queensland police had responded to a possible threat but did not specify where the threat came from.

"Police did receive certain information about a possible threat to a business in Eight Mile Plains and took proactive measures advising all parties concerned," she said. It was not clear who was behind the possible threat. SBS has also contacted South Australian police for comment.

A global view

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) this week announced that $US7.5 billion ($A9.45 billion) had been pledged from countries and private donors to help immunise 300 million more children in developing countries over the next five years.

The funding will help the alliance, created in 2000 as an international public-private partnership, support developing countries in vaccinating an additional 300 million children, saving up to six million lives, it said.

"We have never had a replenishment this size before in GAVI's history. It's record breaking. It was a very bold ask we presented to the world leaders but also a very compelling case," GAVI board chairman Dagfinn Hoybraten told reporters.

He said that some current GAVI donors had increased their support "substantially" and that four countries, including China - previously a GAVI funding recipient - had become new donors.

In March last year, the Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network lost its charity status over concerns it could adversely affect children's health. The group was also forced to insert the word "skeptics" into their name over claims their title was misleading.

Earlier this month, the Federal Court found a NSW homeopathy company guilty of misleading conduct for saying the whooping cough vaccine is "unreliable" and "ineffective" and claiming homeopathic solutions were a proven safe alternative.

- With AAP

Source SBS

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