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Vaccination should be compulsory: doctor

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/05/2017

Northland doctor and 2014 New Zealander of the Year Lance O'Sullivan says vaccinations should either be compulsory or children who are not vaccinated should be made to wear masks.

His comments come after he made national headlines for taking the stage to protest anti-vaccination film Vaxxed at a screening in his hometown of Kaitaia.

"This idea of anti-immunisation has killed children around the world, and actually will continue to kill children whose parents are put off immunisation because of misinformation - misinformation based on lies," he said on stage.

Dr O'Sullivan took the stage because he was not prepared to let someone from outside Kaitaia, which has significant health issues, come in and spread false information, he told Newshub's AM Show on Thursday morning.

"This movement will cause children in New Zealand to be harmed and to die, and I won't accept that," he said.

"We know that rates of disease, in particular these infectious diseases that are preventable ... have dropped since we've introduced immunisations."

He said in an election year, the community should be discussing whether vaccinations should be made compulsory.

"And if not compulsory, then maybe [unvaccinated] children should be going to early childhood centres and schools with masks on," he said.

Health Minister Johnathan Coleman backed Dr O'Sullivan.

"Good on Dr Lance O'Sullivan for taking a stand on the Vaxxed movie," he tweeted.

"I totally support Lance in what he's saying. Vaccination is a good thing."

Dr O'Sullivan said the anti-vaccination movement contained some "vile" people.

"There's people in their movement that have said incredibly hurtful things to a lot of people, including myself," he said.

"One of them even went so far as to start making comments about my son, who has a serious, serious medical condition, and making light of that."

The film - based on a discredited study from the '90s linking vaccines and autism - has been screen eight times across New Zealand.

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