Victorian chiropractor suspended for six months after linking childhood vaccination to poison | Health

A Victorian chiropractor who linked childhood vaccination to poison and screened an anti-vaccination movie in his clinic has been suspended for six months for professional misconduct.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) heard that chiropractor Simon Floreani participated in an interview called “Nazi vaccine regime in Australia”, which was published on YouTube in late 2016.

In the interview Floreani identified himself as a chiropractor and said: “We could not find one shred of evidence to show the efficacy of childhood vaccination.” This is despite childhood immunisations being proven to be both safe and effective and protecting against harmful and potentially deadly diseases.

He also said during the interview while speaking of childhood vaccinations: “Parents are trusting their gut and saying, ‘I don’t want to do this. I can’t inject this poison in my baby’s body and be OK with that.’”

VCAT also heard that in December 2016, Floreani permitted a screening of the anti-vaccination film Vaxxed to occur at his chiropractic clinic.

In a decision published on Thursday, VCAT said it had “no hesitation” in making a finding of professional misconduct, “given the flawed, inaccurate and dangerous statements he made and endorsed”.

The decision noted that Floreani admitted to all of the conduct in question.

The Chiropractic Board of Australia told VCAT Floreani’s behaviour represented “repeated brazen departures from the standards expected of a registered chiropractor”.

­On 21 September, VCAT reprimanded Floreani and suspended him from practice for six months, to take effect from 18 October. VCAT also ordered that Floreani must not display, promote or provide materials, information or advice that is anti-vaccination in nature to patients; must not make public comment discouraging vaccination; if asked by a patient or prospective patient for information about vaccination, he must refer that person to an appropriately qualified health professional; and he must display signs at his place of practice stating that he does not provide patients with advice regarding vaccination.

While accepting that Floreani had now modified his practice, the VCAT decision noted: “We remained concerned that his [Floreani’s] statements to us showed he has not fully absorbed relevant code obligations and he appeared to maintain a level of scepticism about vaccination.”

The comments made and promoted by Floreani “are entirely outside evidence-based science and medicine,” the decision said, adding that his comments “about the safety and efficacy of vaccinations for children and adults are not based in science or known facts” and were “inaccurate, misleading, and alarmist”.

­ The chief executive of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, Martin Fletcher, said the decision against Floreani was important given concerns around the spreading of information related to Covid-19 and vaccines.

“While this matter predates the pandemic, I note the tribunal’s consideration of the responsibility of chiropractors and other health practitioners in public discourse … It is a breach of that trust when they share or promote information that isn’t evidence-based or in line with the best available health advice.”

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