Health experts have issued a warning ahead of an anti-vaccination rally planned as the rollout of the COVID jab draws closer.
Health experts have issued a warning ahead of an anti-vaccination rally planned as the rollout of the COVID jab draws closer.

Health warning as anti-vaxxers prepare to take to streets

A PLANNED anti-mandatory vaccination protest this weekend has health experts urging for vigilance against COVID misinformation.

The Millions March Against Mandatory Vaccination will begin at Fogarty Park on Saturday morning as similar gatherings congregate in capitals.

Facebook group Informed Citizen's Network has promoted the Cairns march as a "fight against medical coercion."

But federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has warned that users of the social media platform are vulnerable to misinformation about the COVID vaccine rollout, which begins in the Far North next week.

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"There is a risk that if you cannot have accurate information, that those who wish to promulgate falsehoods and fictions can do so without a response," Mr Hunt said.

"Health.gov.au is the most important site for you to get COVID-19 vaccine information."

Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said "vaccine hesitancy" remained a concern for federal health authorities as nine per cent of people polled by the Health Department said they would not be vaccinated and 27 per cent said they were considering not being jabbed against COVID-19.

"That demonstrates that we need to continue to stress the vaccines as being safe and effective," Prof Kelly said.

March promoters see the vaccine rollout as part of a shadow campaign to enforce state control and reduce civil liberties.

"The Prime Minister has said he wants to have the vaccine mandatory as possible," spokesman for Facebook group the Informed Citizen's Network, Pauli Christie said.

"The people should be given all the information they need to give informed consent and that is not happening."

The federal Health Department website has addressed issues of consent.

"The COVID-19 vaccine will be voluntary and free," a departmental spokeswoman said.

"This issue has been addressed many times publicly by health officials, the Minister and PM."

The page serves as a hub for COVID vaccine related information.

"If you choose not to have a COVID-19 vaccine your eligibility for Government payments won't be affected," the site states.

The TGA has recently approved the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines for use in Australia.

"The approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine for the people of Cairns, Cape York and the Torres Strait and for the whole of Australia comes after rigorous assessment from our independent medical regulator," Federal MP Warren Entsch said.

"Every safety and regulatory box has been ticked for provisional approval - and further ones will now be ticked."

Similar anti vax rallies and campaign events in Cairns, including the Freedom Rally in December last year, had a vocal presence of QAnon adherents.

But Mr Christie disavowed the "QAnon fantasy" and said the network was not affiliated with the conspiracy theorists.

Numerous QAnon followers took part in the Capitol riots of January 6.

 

Originally published as Health warning as anti-vaxxers prepare to take to streets


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