According to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, nurses and midwives who push anti-vaxxer views while working or on social media could face prosecution.
The Board even urged the public to turn in those who spread “misleading and deceptive” information.
“With no exceptions we expect all registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives to use the best available evidence in making practice decisions.This includes providing information to the public about public health issues,” Chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) Dr. Lynette Cusack said in a statement.
“The board will consider whether the nurse or midwife has breached their professional obligations and will treat these matters seriously,” the statement continued. “Any published anti-vaccination material and/or advice which is false, misleading or deceptive which is being distributed by a registered nurse, enrolled nurse or midwife (including via social media) may also constitute a summary [offense] under the National Law and could result in prosecution by AHPRA [Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.]”
The statement comes in the wake of Victoria Health Minister and vaccine advocate Jill Hennessy being targeted by anti-vaxxer social media trolls.
“You should get all the poison Vaccines the child get in one Shot! Hope you get cancer soon!” one troll reportedly told her.
“I’m absolutely up for a full-and-frank debate, but I’m not up for a political culture that continues to degenerate into the realm of threatened violence, sexism and hysteria and at some point we’ve got to push back on this,” Hennessy said according to Australia’s ABC.
Hennessy recorded a video for the Herald Sun “to shine a light on the fact that the anti-vaccination movement is not a peace-loving group of hippies,” referring the harassment she receives.
“They are an organized movement, largely stemming from the United State of America that are hell bent on misleading parents that vaccinations are unsafe,” Hennessy said.
“They are an organized movement, largely stemming from the United State of America that are hell bent on misleading parents that vaccinations are unsafe,” she continued.
“That’s a dangerous message and one I’m going to continue to fight. Vaccinations save lives.”
On January 1, 2016, new laws took effect in Australia saying that parents who don’t vaccinate their kids may stop receiving childcare benefits. The only way around the law is to have a legitimate medical exemption.