No vaccine for Mandela-itis

06 January 2015 - 02:13 By Katharine Child
Nelson Mandela in 2005. File photo.
Nelson Mandela in 2005. File photo.
Image: AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE

A new anti-vaccination organisation in Australia has used Nelson Mandela's name in its title.

The organisation is called the GanKinMan foundation. The name is inspired by three world-famous leaders, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, according to its website.

GanKinMan is hiring US doctor Sherri Tenpenny to tour Australia in March to discourage parents from giving vaccines to their children.

Multiple studies have proved that vaccines are safe and work to prevent death and disease. Vaccines have wiped out smallpox.

But a growing anti-vaccine lobby led to the highest number of measles cases since 2000 in the US last year.

In South Africa, a measles outbreak last month of 49 cases, compared with six in December 2013, has been linked to a low vaccination rate against the disease.

Asked about the use of Mandela's name in the GanKinMan Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Foundation's head of intellectual property, Heather Henriques, expressed displeasure at the former president's name being associated with an unscientific organisation.

"A meeting about the use of his name will be held by the staff at the foundation and lawyers," Henriques said.

She said the fact that just three letters of his name were used made the issue more legally complicated as only Mandela's full name had been trademarked.

Attempts to contact GanKinMan were unsuccessful.

  • Descendants of Gandhi have strongly criticised a US brewery which put the image of the Indian independence campaigner on one of its bottled beers.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Gandhi's great-grandson Tushar Gandhi was considering legal action against the company.

Gandhi was teetotal and publicly opposed drinking alcohol.

The New England Brewery Company, based in Connecticut, said it was sorry if it had offended anyone by using Gandhi's name and image for its "Gandhi-Bot" India Pale Ale after a lawyer brought a case against it in Hyderabad.

The lawyer said the use of Gandhi's image was an insult to the nation, but the brewery insisted it meant no offence and indicated the beer would not be withdrawn.

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