Towards the end of her press conference on the 22nd of February 2021, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian handed the microphone to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard. Mr Hazzard spoke very briefly, but very sternly about the people who are “making noise about it (the vaccine)”. This is what he had to say: “This is really not the time to be precious or selfish with your own views. It’s a case of not what health workers can do for you and your community can do for you now, but it’s what you can do for health workers and for your community. Get vaccinated!”
These certainly are strong views from someone who has a history of this type of aggressive and demonstrative language. Perhaps Mr Hazzard should acquaint himself with the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Australian Public Assessment Report, which states that the long-term safety is “unknown”. The report also states that the “duration of protection is not yet known and is to be assessed in the ongoing trial”. Health Minister Greg Hunt acknowledged recently that the “world is engaged in the largest clinical trial, the largest global vaccination trial ever”. Is it precious to want to know what the long-term side effects are before receiving a new, experimental and rushed-to-market vaccine? Is it selfish to not want to be part of the largest global vaccination trial ever?
The Australian Public Assessment Report acknowledges that “the following questions have not yet been addressed: 1) Vaccine efficacy against asymptomatic infection and viral transmission; 2) The concomitant use of this vaccine with other vaccines; 3) Vaccine data in pregnant women and lactating mothers; 4) Vaccine efficacy and safety in immunocompromised individuals; 5) Vaccine efficacy and safety in paediatric subjects (< 16 years old); and 6) A correlate of protection has yet to be established.” One could argue that we, in fact, know very little about this new vaccine. Perhaps Mr Hazzard could explain to us why we should “get vaccinated” if the vaccine does not protect us from the virus. And could he please explain what we are actually doing for the health workers and the community if the vaccine does not prevent transmission of the virus?
As previously mentioned, Mr Hazzard has a history of using harsh and forceful language to convey his point of view. In January 2021, Mr Hazzard explained that “dancing and singing is amongst the most dangerous things you can do with this rather evil virus. If you actually choose to ignore the rules and you put your fellow visitors and fellow attendees at the wedding at risk, that is just completely and woefully inappropriate.” At the time of writing, which is approximately five weeks after Mr Hazzard’s statement, there are zero COVID-19 cases in NSW that have been locally acquired or acquired from interstate. Zero. So much for a “rather evil virus”.
In August 2020, Mr Hazzard was forced to apologise to Labor Leader Jodi McKay for his attack on her during question time. When referring to Ms McKay, the NSW Minister for Health stated: “If I was sitting next to someone like you in the bus, I would definitely wear a mask.” At one point, Ms McKay asked Mr Hazzard if the state had enough supplies of face masks. This is when the tirade and insults began. As Mr Hazzard approached the table, he said that “she’s a goose, don’t worry about it”. He continued by saying: “I heard the temporary leader of the Opposition being a complete pork chop today – quite stupid.” When Ms McKay asked if we have enough face masks, Mr Hazzard replied by saying that “you certainly need one” and telling her to repeatedly “be quiet”. Ms McKay accepted Mr Hazzard’s apology, however she said: “I think it was conduct unbefitting of a Minister.”
In March 2020, some 2,700 passengers aboard the Ruby Princess cruise ship were allowed to disembark in Circular Quay, Sydney. This decision by NSW Health resulted in 854 passengers and crew contracting the virus, and sadly 28 deaths. The Ruby Princess Inquiry found that NSW Health made multiple “serious, inexplicable and basic errors” by allowing the Ruby Princess cruise ship to disembark. There were calls for Mr Hazzard to resign as NSW Health Minister at the time. However, these calls fell on deaf ears.
If the recent Millions March Against Mandatory Vaccines is anything to go by, then many Australians will not be getting vaccinated as Mr Hazzard has pressured us to do. Perhaps this comes from his background as a science teacher. Perhaps he feels that, as the NSW Health Minister, he has the right to tell us what to do when it comes to our own body. The Morrison government has repeatedly stated that the vaccine will NOT be mandatory. The Pfizer vaccine uses mRNA technology. This technology is new, and it has never been used previously in human beings. The clinical trials bypassed critical animal studies, perhaps because all previous coronavirus vaccine animal studies have failed dismally. The clinical trials for the Pfizer vaccine are due for completion in January 2023. Anyone that takes the vaccine prior to this date is effectively part of the clinical trial. How many people would voluntarily take part in a clinical trial for a new vaccine that has never been used in humans before? According to the latest polling and social media, not many.
There is so much that we don’t know about these vaccines. We are seeing severe reactions to the vaccine all over the world, including a number of deaths, that despite occurring within hours or days of the patient receiving the vaccine, seem to not be linked to the vaccine is some mysterious way. Many doctors and nurses are refusing the vaccine, based simply on the lack of safety data. Others are choosing not to get the vaccine because the virus has a survival rate of 99.7%. For those under the age of 70 without a co-morbidity, they have three times more chance of dying from influenza. We don’t shut the world down and force a vaccine on people for influenza.
Mr Hazzard, it is not your role to tell people whether they should take the vaccine or not. It is their decision, and their decision alone. There are so many unknowns with this vaccine, and people have a right to refuse it. Medical freedom is one of our basic human rights, and we don’t need a politician telling us what we should do with our own health. Again, that is our decision and own decision alone. Where there is risk, there must be choice. As we continually say, ‘change the politician or change the politician’.