Vic chiro suspended for anti-vax interview
A Melbourne chiropractor who admitted to likening childhood vaccination to poison and screened a well-known anti-vax film at his clinic has been suspended for six months.
Dr Simon Floreani, who owns a private practice at Middle Park in the city's south, was referred to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in March 2019.
The Chiropractic Board of Australia alleged the chiropractor participated in an interview published on YouTube titled "Nazi vaccine regime in Australia".
Identifying himself as a chiropractor, Dr Floreani falsely claimed there was not "one shred of evidence to show the efficacy of childhood vaccination" and compared childhood vaccination to poison.
"Under my regulation and registration requirements, (I'm) not allowed to talk about vaccination. But under the laws of this country I have to do what's right," he said in the interview.
"The evidence is not there to suggest that people are safe and our kids are safe."
In a separate incident in December 2016, Dr Floreani facilitated or knowingly allowed an anti-vaccination film to be screened at his Middle Park clinic.
The movie contained material in breach of the board's code of conduct for chiropractors, and Dr Floreani was aware of its content beforehand.
The high-profile chiropractor admitted to the allegations in full and they were proven by the tribunal.
On Tuesday, VCAT suspended Dr Floreani from practising for six months from October 18.
The tribunal said it had "no hesitation" in finding him guilty of professional misconduct, given his "flawed, inaccurate and dangerous statements" during the interview.
Chiropractic Board of Australia chair Dr Wayne Minter welcomed the outcome, saying chiropractors are trusted members of the nation's health workforce.
"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," Dr Minter said.
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency chief executive Martin Fletcher said the decision was particularly important given the current spread of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
"While this matter predates the pandemic, I note the tribunal's consideration of the responsibility of chiropractors and other health practitioners in public discourse and that 'there is a potential for significant harm to the community when false claims are made which can directly impact public health," he said.
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