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The Australian Traditional Medicine Society says its accredited practitioners need to “stay within their scope of practice” and avoid posting about vaccines they haven’t studied.

The warning comes after a southwest Victorian naturopath said she would refuse entry to her business to anyone who has received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past two weeks and aired claims that have been debunked by scientists and medical professionals.

Christine Pope, who is on the ATMS board of directors, said she believed the views shared by the Warrnambool naturopath were part of the alternative medicine sector’s “fringe” and didn’t represent the industry.

“We’re always very careful to tell our practitioners about posting appropriately and within their scope of practice,” Ms Pope said.

“These sort of comments to me look like they’re outside their scope of practice.

Christine Pope from the Australian Traditional Medicine Society(Supplied)

“We do a lot of training about making sure that you’re posting appropriately within your scope of practice and about things about which you are qualified in.

“As an association supporting natural medicine practitioners it’s not really our job to promote or comment on the vaccination program – we’re not public health experts … and this is really outside my scope of practice.

“But from a public health perspective (vaccination) is the best option we’ve got.”

Sharon Holland, who runs a clinic in Warrnambool, did not agree to an interview but in emails to the ABC and posts on a Facebook page cited a number of discredited medical professionals who have become figureheads of the anti-vax and COVID conspiracy movements, including Judy Mikovits, Robert Malone, Peter McCullogh and J Bart Classen.

“Often de-bunked and fact-checked (by whom) can mean silenced,” Ms Holland wrote to the ABC.

“We still have free speech available to some extent.

“This is a very emotive and divisive subject so my post was bound to ‘ruffle feathers’.”

In her original Facebook post, Ms Holland said vaccinated people would have to wait a minimum of two weeks after vaccination before attending her clinic due to “the shedding of spike proteins” caused by “these experimental treatments”.

Ms Pope urged people to lodge a complaint about bogus health claims through the ATMS website or the healthcare complaint commissioner in the appropriate state.

Similar unscientific claims were made by a Colac hairdresser in May who posted she was banning vaccinated customers entirely, before a backlash saw her delete the post.

Callum Maggs, an infectious diseases physician with Barwon Health, told the ABC in May that such views were “disheartening to be honest, given how much hard work we’re doing to work on vaccine hesitancy in the public”.

“It’s basically impossible to be infected with a spike protein on its own given there’s no viral machinery there to replicate a living virus and cause an infection,” Dr Maggs explained.

“There’s always going to be a very small number of true anti-vax people that will be impossible to sway regardless of what statistics and facts and knowledge you throw at them.”

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Tracking Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout(ABC News)

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