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Science, celebrity and social media collide in vaccination debate

Posted in Reflections On Science on July 2nd, 2015.

Stuff.co.nz’s Katie Kenny reports on an online furore over vaccination kicked off by actor Jim Carrey, but further fuelled by Kiwi star Jemaine Clement. An excerpt (read in full here)

Jemaine Clement.jpgComedian Jemaine Clement criticised for tweeting ‘nonsense’ in anti-vaccination rant

One of New Zealand’s top comedians has been criticised by a health expert for his anti-vaccination comments.

Flight of the Conchords star Jemaine Clement waded into Jim Carrey’s anti-vaccination Twitter rant on Wednesday, sending more than 20 tweets defending the actor’s “debate” on the controversial topic. 

Immunisation Advisory Centre director and senior lecturer of general practice and primary health care, Dr Helen Petousis-Harris, described Clement’s tweets as “a load of nonsense”.

A load of nonsense that was potentially damaging, given his public profile.

“Rumour can be damaging,” Petousis-Harris said. “It can always have an impact on some people who suddenly become concerned about something that is actually untrue.”

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