Flyer “gutless and destructive”

Flyer “gutless and destructive”

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The flyer distributed to students.

Flyer “gutless and destructive”

By Chris Fowler and Liam Ducey

Mystery surrounds the identity of a group targeting a local primary school with anti-vaccination event flyers, with the church named on the flyer claiming to have no knowledge of the event.

The Examiner understands that last Wednesday, students at Kelmscott Primary School were handed flyers advertising what appears to be an anti-vaccination event.

Entitled “Hands Off Our Kids”, the flyer urges parents to consider all the facts and points to an event at Kelmscott’s Good Shephard Church at 7pm on Wednesday December 15.

The flyer was also found pinned to noticeboards around the school, which may have been an act of trespassing.

The flyer also points to an anti-vaccination website, Reignite Democracy Australia, which has a section called Save Our Kids.

It contains a database of schools to target with anti-vaccination material, and Kelmscott Primary School is in that database.

The website also notes a “community group” supporting their cause in Armadale.

COVID-19 vaccinations were opened up for WA children aged between 12 and 17 on September 13, and children aged 5-11 years will be eligible to be vaccinated from January 10, 2020.

The targeting of schoolchildren with anti-vaccination material drew a fierce response from Armadale MLA Tony Buti and Premier Mark McGowan.

Mr Buti described it as gutless and destructive.

“This sort of behaviour goes against everything the Pope himself has said regarding vaccinations being an act of love,” Dr Buti said.

“It is unconscionable that anyone would undermine our efforts to get Western Australians vaccinated.

“Students, staff, parents and others should not be put up with groups who are acting in an extreme fashion.

“Vaccine programs have been run in schools for decades and parental consent is always a key part of that.

“What this propaganda is doing is creating hesitancy over something that will save people’s lives.

“These actions are not going to change the State Government’s position on vaccination, which is based on health advice.”

Mr McGowan said that when the virus enters the community, it will find Western Australians who aren’t vaccinated.

“Millions of people around the world have listened to the proven science to protect themselves from a virus that is causing havoc everywhere it spreads,” he said.

“Those who actively promote disinformation in an attempt to stop vaccinations are immoral and putting innocent people at risk.”

Good Shephard’s Father Pavel Herda said he had no knowledge of any event held at the church on Wednesday December 15 at 7pm, claiming it may have been an organisation that hired out a function room at the church.

He said if the event was held, he did not have the name or any contact details of the organisers.

He added that he did not know if the individuals handing out flyers at the Kelmscott Primary School were members of his church.

As reported in the Examiner, the church has recently lost followers over what they perceive to be Father Herda’s anti-mandate stance, however Fr Herda has maintained he is not anti-vaccination.

Department of Education executive director of recovery, response and transformation Milanna Heberle said the Department could not confirm that any anti-vaccination materials were found at a school because they are closed for holidays.