A doctor who supports compulsory immunisation for Kiwi children says his family have been attacked by the anti-vaccination community.

Dr Lance O'Sullivan today revealed personal threats and "vile" comments from people in the group - a direct response to his stance on the issue.

This week, O'Sullivan disrupted the Kaitaia screening of anti-vaccination film Vaxxed - From Cover-up to Catastrophe telling the audience the arguments behind the film were "based on lies and fraudulent information that harms children".

O'Sullivan told TVNZ that his son, who suffers from a progressive neuro-muscular condition that limits his life expectancy, had been targeted by those who disagreed with his stance.


He said it was "very hurtful" for him and his wife that their child had been dragged into the debate.

"I would never stoop that low to attack someone's family," he told TVNZ.

"I'm enraged - I'm furious that they would do this and cause such harm to communities that are already vulnerable."

Dr Lance O'Sullivan today revealed personal threats and
Dr Lance O'Sullivan today revealed personal threats and "vile" comments from people in the group. Photo / Northern Advocate

O'Sullivan said his opinion on vaccinations was based on his own experiences as a doctor, including holding "the bodies of young children that are ravaged by vaccine-preventable diseases".

He believed a"noticeable drop" in immunisation rates in Northland, where he lives, this year was linked with the anti-vaccination movement.

He said that was a "concerning national trend".

"Those that are most vulnerable are the most susceptible to this information," he said.

"I would challenge the rest of our country to protest their presence in our communities."

O'Sullivan is pushing for compulsory vaccinations in New Zealand and told NewstalkZB this morning that there was "overwhelming and compelling evidence" that it protected children.

"I think that should be something that's brought into the debate," he said.

"In a society where individual choice is respected but collective benefit must be considered I think we need to be having that discussion."

He said the associated health costs from children damaged by vaccine-preventable diseases was "significant".

"What are the costs, what's the harm to our country for unimmunised children?

"I can tell you, as a doctor - the cost is huge.

"The deaths of children, we shouldn't accept that."

O'Sullivan accepted that people would not agree with his stance, but was passionate about the issue.

"Yeah, it might be controversial but the debate needs to be had," he said.

"We make it compulsory for children, actually everyone, to wear seatbelts because we know it saves lives.

"What's the difference with immunisations?"

He said ultimately, the decision on compulsion was not for him to make.

"But I do think we need to put this in the public arena to be debated.

"And it's an election year - we should be looking for leaders in our country who will have this debate."