Covid 19 ‘anti-vaxxers’ under fire for holding public event

A public event in the Western Bay tonight that will address Covid-19 vaccination has been slammed by a resident who believes it will spread ”misinformation and fear”.

But the group behind the event says it is providing speaking platforms for people to be heard on the Covid response, including vaccines.

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board advises people to get their information around Covid-19 vaccinations from trusted medical professionals.

Tauranga residents have received invitations to the public presentation in Te Puna called, “The medical truth about how to really protect yourself, your family and your community”.

The event, at the Te Puna Memorial Hall tonight is being hosted by Voices for Freedom, a group that recently had its Facebook page removed for breaching rules about “harmful misinformation” and “false claims”.

The invitation says: “If you have any concerns about misleading government and media campaigns, side effects of Covid-19 vaccine, enforced medication of certain members of our community or question the way Pfizer analysed the trial data for the Comirnaty vaccine, you should attend this meeting”.

A Tauranga resident who received the invitation via email told the Bay of Plenty Times shecould not believe the group ”could be targeting people’s work emails and shocked that this sort of campaign has made it to our town”.

The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said in her opinion: “You know anti-vaxxers are out there but to see that they are coming to our community … is quite scary.”

She believed public venues should not be giving groups such as Voices for Freedom the platform to “spread misinformation and fear”.

She said in her view: “There are plenty of credible places to get accurate information – this is not one of them. The whole thing just makes me really angry.”

When asked about the presentation being held in Te Puna, Bay of Plenty District Health Board Covid-19 incident controller Trevor Richardson said it was important to use trusted sources such as,,, and for information on the Covid-19 vaccine.

“We encourage people to use these credible sources when searching for information about the vaccine or discussing it with friends and whānau,” Richardson said.

“When you get vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and helping reduce the risk of passing on Covid-19 to your whānau, friends, and community.”

He said anyone with questions about the vaccine could email the clinical team at [email protected] to find out more.

“We are happy to answer your questions as it’s important we get the right information.

“Inaccurate information about the Covid-19 vaccine, whether intentional or accidental, could seriously impact the immunisation programme.

“Medsafe – New Zealand’s medicines safety authority – only grants consent for a vaccine to be used in New Zealand once they are satisfied it’s safe and effective enough to use. All Covid-19 vaccines will go through the same safety test and must meet the same robust standards. There have been no shortcuts in granting approval.”

Te Puna’s Tommy Wilson said his doctor had kept him alive for 67 years so he would continue to follow his advice.

“For me, the choice I’ve made to be vaccinated, which I have, is the wellbeing of those who are old or young that cannot be vaccinated.

“There is no question Covid is coming into our community, we cannot stop it at our border and eventually it will be in our community. So, why wait? I will take the advice of my doctor who knows a lot more than, perhaps, people who take their prescription from Facebook.”

A spokesperson for the Te Puna Memorial Hall committee said it was a community hall for public use and open to anyone who wanted to use it.

Voices for Freedom co-founder Claire Deeks said the group was collaborating with New Zealand Doctors Speaking Out with Science to provide speaking platforms for them to be heard on the Covid response in New Zealand, including vaccines.

“The tours have been highly successful with thousands of people having now attended with positive feedback,” she said.

“Tours are ongoing and involve several doctors at this stage with more to join.”

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