‘Poison’: Anti-vaxxer fury at Scott Morrison
Anti-vaxxers have reacted with fury at Prime Minister Scott Morrison's announcement of free COVID-19 shots for all Australians.
The Morrison Government today confirmed the landmark agreement with drug giant AstraZeneca to manufacture more than 25 million doses of the promising Oxford University vaccine if it proves safe to use.
Mr Morrison subsequently told 3AW that the vaccine, if distributed in Australia, would "be as mandatory as you can possibly make it" but that "there are always exemptions on medical grounds".
"You know where you can stick that vaccine ScoMo!" one reader wrote on Facebook. "Give it to your squad but don't you dare come near me or my family with that poison!"
Another said, "Death shots here we come. Line up team sheep. Can't wait."
Bill Gates was a common theme. "Is this the one from Dr Bill Gates that believes in lowering the world's population by use of vaccines significantly to help with 'climate change'?" one reader asked.
Another said, "The grim reaper is in the house. Bill Gates must be rubbing his hands with all the billions of dollars that he will make."
One added, "Considering Bill Gates is a eugenicist and this fraudulent orchestrated pandemic is all about the UN's Agenda 21 and depopulation I think I'll pass."
Many comments questioned the need for a vaccine given the recovery rate.
"We need a vaccine for a virus that has a 99.5 per cent cure rate, without the vaccine. Let that sink in," one wrote.
Another person warned "don't order too many". "Most people don't need a vaccine for something that has a 99.96 (per cent) recovery rate and hydroxychloroquine is a much safer alternative," she said.
The recovery rate in Australia is about 97 per cent.
Many were also concerned about their vaccine coming with a side of 5G microchips.
"Leave my body alone Bill Gates, I don't want your 5G tracking inside me," one wrote.
Another said, "Say no to vaccines and no to chips. They can't force you."
Some questioned why the vaccine was "free". It's not - the Australian taxpayer will be paying for it.
"No company gives a multi-billion dollar vaccine away for 'free'," one commenter said.
"Also the pharma company also apparently states that they are not legally responsible for anything that goes wrong. It's like playing Russian roulette. No thanks."
One person explained, "The Mark of the Beast is here. That's why it's free."
The question of whether the vaccine should be mandatory sparked heated debate, even among pro-vaccination readers.
"I'm no anti-vaxxer, I get my flu shot every year and an a very strong supporter of mandatory immunisation. This however sounds a bit scary," one wrote.
"You can't release a vaccine onto the public that has not gone through a proper rigorous testing program."
Similarly, another said, "I'm not keen on any COVID vaccine. A successful vaccine takes years of testing and trials. All these COVID vaccines have been rushed, and we don't know the possible side effects and long-term effects."
One woman said she was "not choosing to be a anti-vaxxer".
"I'm far from it, however I would be wanting way more information released about the vaccine before it's injected into myself or into my family," she wrote.
"I feel it's been rushed, and no one knows about any of the side effects, long-term effects as yet."
Public health experts have warned that even if a successful COVID-19 vaccine is developed, large numbers of people refusing to take one may prevent populations from reaching herd immunity.
Science Minister Karen Andrews says there is "enormous risk" people will believe conspiracy theories and refuse the vaccine.
"It's just beyond the pale and disinformation or misinformation is dangerous and can lead to loss of life," Ms Andrews told the Herald Sun.
"In my role as Science Minister I'm actually just not prepared to sit there and allow these people to promote pseudoscience."
Ms Andrews suggested social media platforms had a role in clamping down on conspiracy theories.
Surveys in the US and UK have indicated up to half of respondents would either refuse or be hesitant to take a COVID-19 vaccine.
An Associated Press survey in May found of the half of Americans who wouldn't get vaccinated, seven in 10 worried about safety.
"I am not an anti-vaxxer," Colorado Springs woman Melanie Dries told AP. "But to get a COVID-19 vaccine within a year or two … causes me to fear that it won't be widely tested as to side effects."
Originally published as 'Poison': Anti-vaxxer fury at Scott Morrison