Anti-vax flyer drop denounced

Associate Professor James Ussher says vaccine research, including work at the University of Otago...
University of Otago immunologist James Ussher Photo: ODT files

An inaccurate and alarmist flyer about the Covid-19 vaccine should not undermine the drive to protect New Zealanders from the pandemic disease, an Otago immunologist says.

Yesterday, anti-vaccination material was distributed in Dunedin, in the form of flyers printed by Voices For Freedom (VFF) left around the city.

VFF is led by Claire Deeks, who was No3 on Jami-Lee Ross’ Advance Party list last election.

Its social media presence contains multiple posts which claim the Covid-19 pandemic is a conspiracy.

The flyer, purporting to tell the "truth" about the Covid-19 vaccine, made a range of claims, including that vaccine-related deaths and serious injuries were being reported at an alarming rate, and that it was unknown if the vaccine would cause cancer, sterility or mutate cells.

University of Otago immunologist James Ussher was scathing of the flyer, saying while it did not explicitly state the most outlandish conspiracy theories circulating about vaccines, it twisted facts and could mislead people.

"There are some significant factual inaccuracies ... it is very unhelpful," he said.

There was more than enough data available to show that the vaccine was effective at preventing the spread of Covid-19, debunking one of the flyer’s central claims, Prof Ussher said.

"There is also very good data that it is very good at reducing symptoms."

While there would probably always be some people who would refuse a vaccination, Prof Ussher — who has participated in international Covid-19 vaccine development programmes — said the public health concern was that enough people who were hesitant to get a jab might be swayed by misinformation such as that in the flyer.

"It undermines people’s ability to protect themselves.

"When the borders reopen and if this disease comes into the country, we will have extremely busy hospitals, full ICUs, and the vast majority of those people will be those who have not had the vaccine."

Last week, the Government pledged to increase its public information efforts after an anti-mask-use flyer printed by Billy Te Kahika’s group The Freedom Alliance was distributed on public transport in Wellington.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins rubbished the flyer and said the best place for it was the bin.

Yesterday, Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said that from this week, all New Zealand homes should receive a brochure explaining the vaccine rollout and when people in groups 3 and 4 would be able to be vaccinated.

DHBs were on track to deliver more than 1million doses by the end of June, she said.

"By then we’ll be well into vaccinating the 1.7million people we’ve identified in group 3 ... those over 65, people with underlying medical conditions, prison staff and the prison population."

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

Comments

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We get fringe mail drops from time to time. We've had white power and anti immigrant groups.

So, concerned public put information out there that the government doesn't want you to have = bad
Government put out selected information, change the vaccine targets (to give the idea they are on track when they are just changing the target) = our savior?
People are entitled to their opinion, you don't have to agree with it, but without all the info and governments suppressing other info, how can anyone claim to have informed consent?

Claire Deeks, who produced this load of cobblers, is the shareholder of an alternative health products company, so she arguably has a financial motive for alt health claims such as this. Also, it's not a matter of opinion - there are many studies showing the risk of vaccinating against COVID19 is much lower than the risk of the diease. The Pfizer vaccine used here is even safer than the ones used overseas.

No, bud, out there they are not entitled to distribute to letter boxes. Advance NZ are the 'concerned' Right.

Big Pharma worried. They spent all their precious money making vax. Press dogs have been released.

Deliberately distributing misleading and inaccurate material, especially material harmful to the community, should be a crime. VFF might say they are for truth, but they are using lies to spread their voice.

Well there has been deaths, besides some of the top scientists have said while the vaccine 'may' reduce the symptoms it is not a cure all and you can still get the virus, besides where is the vaccine for aids, for bird flu, for swine flu, for zika virus etc etc.

Here is a fact check of the text - verbatim - from the “alarmist” flyer. I found all answers using Google and official government sources.

8. <Vaccine companies are exempt from ALL liability.>
TRUE

7. <All COVID-19 vaccines are currently experimental. Some trials won't end until 2023.>
TRUE, including Pfizer vaccine.

6. <The vaccine has not been shown to stop you catching SARS-CoV-2 or passing it on to others.>
TRUE

5. <The only reason given to take the vaccine is that it might reduce symptoms.>
TRUE

4. <Animals in prior coronavirus vaccine trials became very sick when exposed to the wild virus.>
TRUE

3. <It is unknown if the vaccine will cause cancer, sterility or mutate cells.>
TRUE

2. <Medsafe's Pfizer report highlights concerns about genotoxicity and serious autoimmunity.>
FALSE [at this date]. Their report states, “Neither genotoxicity nor carcinogenicity studies were performed.” Therefore, they’re NOT concerned.

1. <Deaths and cases of serious injury are being reported around the world at an alarming rate.>
TRUE. See VAERS reports.

On the other hand, the official government flyer says that the vaccine is “safe and effective”. So there!

You were given far too many column inches for non science in a Plague Year.

The fact that you mentioned VAERS reports as some kind of evidence indicates that you failed to read, failed to understand, or wilfully ignored the disclaimer you must accept before you can read the various reports. To paraphrase; it states that reports are accepted by anyone at all, are not checked for accuracy, and have not been checked at all for any causation or link to the vaccine.

This means that you should place as much faith in VAERS reports as you do to Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit comments of deaths due to any vaccine.

I'm surprised that people don't just observe what has happened in other countries where the pandemic has become out of control. How much proof do you actually need? Italy, the USA, South America, India. Hospitals totally over-run. Right now, every 14 minutes in Delhi, someone dies. And it's not just the elderly dying, many of those that survive will have ongoing health problems.
Take responsibility for yourselves, your families and society, and get the jab.
Do you really think, for one minute, that our health system can cope with mass Covid cases? On the one hand, so many want the border opened, yet, the risk for the re entry of Covid will almost definitely happen. Better to be prepared as best as we can.
And yes, like every other vaccine, there are risks and no vaccine is 100% effective - but to do nothing would be ridiculous. Think about that for a moment, as your loved ones are suddenly taken from you... just as has happened everywhere else. Here in NZ we are in a privileged position; we should humbly respect that position. The consequences of mass refusal would be at a far greater price... and potentially, you could win 'The Darwin Award'

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