Australia is less than welcoming to anti-vaccination activists. Kent Heckenlively, a prominent anti-vaccine activist who founded the Age of Autism, has been banned from visiting the country by government officials due to his stance on immunization.
Heckenlively claims that autism is an environmentally induced illness that's treatable. He is also linked to Andrew Wakefield, a former doctor whose controversial study was central to the antivaccination movement.
Heckenlively was not the first anti-vaccine activist who was banned from the country. Polly Tommey and Suzanne Humphries were also banned from visiting Australia for three years after they toured with Vaxxed, an anti-vaccine film directed by Andrew Wakefield.
Heckenlively, an outspoken critic of vaccinations, was denied entry into the country on Thursday by immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who blocked a planned tour scheduled for later this year.
Smh.com.au reports: “We’re not going to allow him to come here,” Mr Dutton told Sydney radio station 2GB.
“These people who are telling parents that their kids shouldn’t be vaccinated are dangerous. We have been very careful 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.”
Mr Heckenlively, who lives in northern California, contributes to a website that claims autism is “an environmentally induced illness, that it is treatable, and that children can recover”.
He also has links to Andrew Wakefield, the disgraced former doctor whose debunked study was central to the anti-vaccination movement and has since gone on to make the film Vaxxed.
The film has been banned by several film festivals but has been shown in secret locations around Australia.
Image courtesy of: wellunwell