For those of you who don’t follow these shenanigans, a gang of anti-vaccine radicals have been traveling in a bus across America promoting the anti-vaccine fraudumentary, Vaxxed. They push their pseudoscience and vaccine lies to gullible audiences across America. The Vaxxed tour was heading to Australia to promote their unscientific nonsense to the continent down under. Lucky for the citizens of the fine country, Australia blocked anti-vaccine radicals from returning to that country.
Let’s backtrack a bit and talk about the Vaxxed bus tour. It includes a rotating cast of deplorable characters including the fraud Mr. Andrew Wakefield, the pseudoscience pushing Suzanne Humphries, Vaxxed producer Del Bigtree, and the reprehensible Polly Tommey.
The Vaxxed cast of characters
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, Dorit Rubinstein Reiss and I have written numerous articles about Andrew Wakefield. If you know anything about the anti-vaccine movement, Wakefield is responsible for the myth that vaccines cause autism.
Del Bigtree is just a shameless promoter of Wakefield and the anti-vaccine lies. There’s not much interesting there.
I am not sure if Wakefield and Bigtree were part of the Vaxxed tour to Australia, but Humphries and Tommey were. Let’s take a quick look at both.
Dr. Humphries is actually a physician who specialized in nephrology. After no peer reviewed research in vaccines, she suddenly became one of the anti-vaccine radicals. Despite her education and training, Humphries embraced all sorts of pseudoscience including homeopathy.
Typical of most of the anti-vaccine world, she is a germ theory denier, believing that diseases aren’t caused by microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. With no background in any of the key sciences of vaccines, such as immunology, microbiology, epidemiology and other fields, she became one of the leaders of the anti-vaccine radicals.
Polly Tommey, a close ally of Wakefield, curiously moved from her native UK to Austin, Texas, home of Wakefield himself. Tommey’s second child has been diagnosed with autism, which has led her to find some “cure” for the neurodevelopmental condition. She tried using intravenous secretin, a thoroughly discredited treatment, to cure her child. She exhibits one of the more vile beliefs that autistic children are somehow defective.
Tommey also claims to not be anti-vaccine – except she is. As the snarkilicious Orac said about her,
As much as Bigtree, Tommey, and Wakefield try to deny that they are antivaccine, they can’t help but let their antivaccine freak flag fly by likening vaccines to cutting off children’s right hands and insisting that nothing is worth vaccinating your child. If that’s not antivaccine, I don’t know what is.
Australia vs. the Vaxxed crew
Back to Australia. The Vaxxed bus tour was pushed by one of Australia’s most notorious anti-vaccine radicals, Meryl Dorey. Her Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network (she is no skeptic) collaborated with Vaxxed pseudoscience tour to bring the lies of the anti-vaccine radicals to Australia.
As a result of false statements on their visa application to enter the country, Australia blocked anti-vaccine radicals Tommey and Humphries from re-entry into the country for several years. They won’t be coming back to push their pseudoscience and anti-vaccine nonsense to the citizens of Australia any time soon.
Tommey was angry about this, stating, “Australia to me is literally the worst country I’ve visited. Not the people, the government.” I’m sorry, but I think the opposite.
Then Tommey said, “I had my phone taken away as I left Australia. They confiscated my phone and took photographs of all my emails and texts. They also told me I am banned from Australia for three years.”
Let me stand and applaud the fact that Australia blocked anti-vaccine radicals, even if it’s just two of them, from re-entering the country. At least Tommey and Humphries, notorious anti-vaccine crackpots, won’t be able to push their ignorant nonsense on the people of Australia.
Update 10 August 2017
Polly Tommey posted on Facebook the official reasons why she has been banned from Australia. She provided us with screenshots of Australia’s official reasoning.
According to these documents, the presence of Polly Tommey in Australia “is or may be, or would or might be a risk to … the health, safety or good order of the Australian community or a segment of the Australian community.”
However, this is heavily redacted. It’s missing a lot of the other reasons Australia has banned Tommey. The parts she shows is “( c )”, which leads me to wonder what is in (a) and (b). When this news first broke, as I mentioned above, the banning was because she lied on her visa application. As more information comes out, I’ll update this article.
It’s too bad that the USA doesn’t use the same reasoning to ban Tommey from America. Syrian refugees are infinitely less dangerous to the well being of Americans than Tommey, the anti-vaccine terrorist.