Top doctor: Pete Evans ‘defies logic’
Embattled celebrity chef Pete Evans is peddling "misleading" claims about vaccinations that "defy logic" and he must be challenged, a top doctor has said.
The television personality, who was recently dumped by Channel 7 after a decade at the helm of My Kitchen Rules, has ramped up his controversial commentary recently on everything from the coronavirus to vaccines.
One of Australia's top doctors has lashed Evans after he appeared on The Kyle and Jackie O Show yesterday, where he was given 20 minutes to spout his views.
"I have met so many mothers and their children that they have put their hand on their heart to me and said 'Hey Pete, my boy or little girl was a healthy, functioning, beautiful child - and they're still a beautiful child, but something happened'," he said.
"When they got a shot one day, and within two hours, 12 hours or 24 to 48 hours, that little boy or girl completely changed their behaviour, completely changed their nature."
Australian Medical Association vice president Dr Chris Zappala said it was crucial to challenge baseless claims about vaccination to halt the spread of misinformation online.
"It's really worrying - they're getting inexplicably some airtime," Dr Zappala said of anti-vaccination advocates.
In an interview on 2GB radio this afternoon, Dr Zappala said Evans and other voices spreading misinformation "defy logic".
"I'm all for patients having info to make their own informed choices, but critical in that is that the information they're basing those choices on is accurate and true," he told the station.
"That's why, if people have any concerns around vaccination, they need to go and have a chat about it with their GP and not listen to all of these false and misleading reports and social media."
Dr Zappala was played part of Evans' commentary from yesterday and said relying on anecdotal stories was deeply flawed.
"When you don't know what other variables, for example, existed in that child's life at the same time that might be equally relevant in considering a change to their behaviour … to leap to the conclusion that 'goodness me, it must have been the vaccination' is incredibly premature," he told 2GB.
"We need to say, 'Alright, let's look at this systematically and appropriately' - as part of a trial or as part of an approved method of observation to see if there's anything in it, and try to work out what's happened and why."
The Evans segment on Kyle and Jackie O sparked outrage yesterday, with many listeners criticising the hosts for not challenging the statements.
Kyle Sandilands even said that "people need to do their own research on this", which saw some erupt in anger.
"I know people who are like 'Oh, you've gotta have your kids vaccinated against measles, mumps all this' and others who say 'Well I won't be vaccinating my kids'. It's one of those real split down the middle type of opinions with families," he said.
Dr Zappala said vaccinations are "safe, effective and an important tool in preventing infectious diseases".
"There's minuscule risks associated with vaccination," he said.
"Any drug that goes into the market has been thoroughly tested. No one in medicine has ever said that there's zero per cent side effects. There are known, quantifiable risks that can be discussed with people. The huge majority are minor and of no significant concern."
And those minor risks are exponentially outweighed by the consequences of dangerous and infectious diseases, he said.
The AMA is calling for a major public health campaign to reassure Australians about the safety and importance of vaccinations and to counter common conspiracy theories.
Among them, the widely debunked notion that childhood vaccines can cause autism.
"If they're worried about, for example, one of the chestnuts that's been presented time and time again, autism, which has been refuted time and time again, let's specifically face that and talk about it," Dr Zappala said.
"For people who've been misled and truly do want to do the right thing, that they've got every opportunity to do so."
In the wake of parting ways with Channel 7, bringing an end to his $800,000 a year contract, Evans took to social media with a series of increasingly bizarre posts.
He appeared to promote the idea that the coronavirus crisis is some kind of conspiracy, with a story posted on Instagram detailing a list of things people need to "look out for" - certain code words and implying "mass trials" and "executions" were happening behind closed doors.
He also shared a detailed graph showing links between a "Great Awakening", a "Great Solar Flash", "Secret Space Program", and "machine elves".
It comes after he was slapped with $25,000 in fines in April for coronavirus eradication claims he made about a "BioCharger" device he was selling.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration issued two infringement after receiving complaints about his promotion of the $14,990 machine.
In the April 9 livestream on his Facebook page, which has 1.4 million followers, Evans described the gadget as a "hybrid subtle energy revitalisation platform".
"It's programmed with a thousand different recipes and there's a couple in there for the Wuhan coronavirus," Evans said in the video.
And over the past several years, he was made claims relating to sunscreen, milk, baby formula, fluoride in drinking water and the power of his food diet to treat a range of medical conditions.
Originally published as Top doctor: Pete Evans 'defies logic'