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LETTERS: Stop relying on repeat boosters

Thursday 9 June 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Opinion


LETTERS: Stop relying on repeat boosters

Dear Editor, quite hard to believe we’re being told fourth booster shots are on the way.

You can be pretty sure the queues for the fourth shot will be a lot shorter. I know a number of people who got double jabbed and didn’t line up for the third. And I know people who got their boosters and felt very poorly and will not be getting a fourth, much less allowing their kids to get further shots.

To be hearing that our 16-17-year olds will be next in line for a booster shot is quite unbelievable. I sincerely hope that parents will do their due diligence, and seriously weigh up the risks vs benefits of ‘boosting’ their kids.

Boosters are not risk free. Myocarditis is a real risk especially for adolescents and young adults. Sudden heart attacks in otherwise healthy people should be a cause for concern. Safety studies into post vaccine myocarditis isn’t complete until October 2025. Healthy children and young people were never at risk of serious illness from Covid.

All age groups are at risk of what is known as ‘original antigenic sin’, a decreased ability to respond to variants because the immune system has locked onto the original variant. 

What have we learned over the past few months? We’ve learned that regardless of vaccination status you can still catch and transmit Covid. We’ve learned that despite the warnings that unvaccinated would take up hospital beds and be a burden on the health system when Covid hit, that never happened. 

We’re hearing about the need to be prepared for the next wave. The next wave of what? Repeat doses of the same ‘vaccine’ are not going to provide protection against variants. Only a third of NZs population has taken up the booster. Same in Australia. People are rightly questioning the need for repeat doses.

Dr Michael Baker in Wednesday’s paper says people need three doses to be fully immunised for Omicron. Omicron has been, over half the island has had it. Three doses didn’t stop people from being fully immunised against it, they still caught it. The unvaccinated didn’t suffer any worse than vaccinated.

He further refers to a ‘small anti-vax group’ who are always going to be hard to reach. The anti vax argument is so lame. I’ve had a number of people approach me, to thank me for speaking out, not only unvaccinated but also vaccinated, many who got vaccinated just because they were afraid of not being able to travel. These people will not be getting further jabs, and can’t be lazily labelled as anti vax.

Time to focus on health policies to keep people healthy, to get people taking charge of their health, and not relying on repeat boosters of a ‘vaccine’ that is not risk free, and most certainly not needed in children and young people.

Kind regards,

Serena Hunter

‘Not anti-vax, just a concerned Cook Islander’

Vodafone's 'fluctuating' promotion deals

Can we all please take a moment to reflect on the ever-changing promo deals that Vodafone subjects its users to. It seems like every three months, just as the public adjusts to a promo ... it dissolves. Vodafone suddenly change their promo prices, in essence, the value of the megabyte is sporadic and whimsical.

Standard rates equate to $5 per gig for data, and their average promo rates equate to $1 per gig.

Which is it Vodafone? Is it $1, 500 per cent mark up for standard rates, or is it whatever you decide based on your projections for the month?

For the last six weeks, myself and others have climatised to what seemed like a great deal, 10 dollars for 10 gb, structuring our budgets in anticipation for the Sunday promo. Alas, all of a sudden Vodafone excludes all prepaid customers from being eligible for the 10gb promo. Now you can only have 10gb for 10 dollars five days expiry if you pay an additional 19 dollars per month to register for a pack.

To put this scam into perspective, Vodafone Samoa offers its prepaid customers standard rate of 9gb 7 days expiry, for NZ$7 (10 tala). You don’t have to be a mathematician to realise we are being cheated and abused by Rarotonga’s only service provider.

The 5-day 20gb promo also increased by 5 dollars last week. The catch being you get an extra two days usage. Another backward progression. Why couldn’t Vodafone just extend the expiry date on the package without trying to pick pocket an extra 5 dollars from your average minimum wage joe, as mentioned standard expiry on similar data packs for Vodafone Samoa is already seven days.

So that begs the question and I pose to Vodafone, please justify the fluctuating rates that vary month to month, country to country. Are there more gigabytes growing from the kuru tree in Samoa that allowed you to sell it cheaper there, are the GBs in Samoa more robust and durable that they last seven days as opposed to ours lasting five? How do you quantify the astronomical cost of standard DATA packages juxtaposed against your promo pricing, specifically here in Rarotonga? Please answer.

Most of the population are on minimum wage, recovering from destitute poverty, recalibrating after the economic crisis and rely mostly on data, not texting and calling. We don’t want a 19-dollar plan with texts and calls for the same reason parents don’t buy their children a landline phone for Xmas. Get with the times please. It’s data that we want ... and with the increased price of gas, we could do without the only service provider in the Cook Islands trying to seduce the public into losing an extra 5 or 10 dollars weekly.

The standard rates are exorbitant and as per the weekly promo rates it’s evident that Vodafone can indeed provide data at a reasonable price, just not on a consistent basis.

It would make sense if like other commodities the value changed based on scarcity and demand, however this is not applicable to DATA as it’s just a frequency, similar to tuning into a radio station. It should be a public utility and in more developed countries is considered a human right. However, I’m happy to pay, but please put an end to your social experiments, stop the fluctuating prices and stop capitalising on an essential part of our life, access to information. 

(Name and address supplied)

Response from Vodafone Cook Islands – Kia Orana, Thank you for your feedback.

Our promotions are geared towards providing choice for our customers. These temporary campaigns are reviewed and updated regularly, offering deals on data, WiFi, TXTs and calls. We understand our customers enjoy data offers, but we are also committed to providing options for those who favour TXTs and calls, such as our Pa Enua customers. Our newly launched Prepay Plans provide a packaged option for customers, with an allocation of calling minutes, TXT and data for 28 days.

Our $10 for 10GB offer available on the Prepay Plan doesn’t have a five-day expiry, but instead expires at the end of the Prepay Plan. This is a daily offer during the month of June, providing flexibility for data users.

We also have add-ons for data, TXT and calls that can be purchased while you’re in any of our prepay plans, and these add-on offers are valid for the duration of the prepay plan. 

In regards to Vodafone Samoa, it’s a case of comparing apples to oranges as there are a number of factors including infrastructure costs and population density which is a factor in pricing. In comparison with Vodafone New Zealand, our standard rates for data are cheaper at 20c per MB (NZ is 30c), and for $10 you can also get 2GB data for 7 days, compared to 750MB for 7 days in NZ.

We welcome customer feedback and take suggestions on board as we develop and improve our product and promotions.

If you have any further queries, please contact our Customer Care team on 123 or 29680, or send an email to

Meitaki ma’ata