Warning over anti-vax claims

11 March 2021

Nurses and other health professionals face regulatory action if they are found to be spreading COVID-19 anti-vaccination claims.

The warning was issued in a joint directive this week by AHPRA and National Boards. “National Boards expect all health practitioners to use their professional judgement and the best available evidence in practice,’’ the directive says.

“This includes when providing information to the public about public health issues such as COVID-19 and vaccination. When advocating for community and population health, health practitioners must also use their expertise and influence to protect and advance the health and wellbeing of individuals as well as communities and broader populations.

“Any promotion of anti-vaccination statements or health advice which contradicts the best available scientific evidence or seeks to actively undermine the national immunisation campaign (including via social media) is not supported by National Boards and may be in breach of the codes of conduct and subject to investigation and possible regulatory action.

“National Boards have developed social media guidance to help registered health practitioners understand and meet their obligations when using social media.
“The guidance explains that registered health practitioners must make sure that their social media activity is consistent with the regulatory framework for their profession and does not contradict or counter public health campaigns or messaging, such as the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.

“Health practitioners are reminded that it is an offence under the National Law to advertise a regulated health service (including via social media) in a way that is false, misleading or deceptive.

“Advertising that includes false, misleading or deceptive claims about COVID-19, including anti-vaccination material, may result in prosecution by AHPRA.’’

View the social media guidance here.

For more information, you can read the joint position statement from AHPRA and National Boards.