live in a democracy which has features such as collective decision making,
equality among participants and freedom of speech. Which is why the headline in
Saturday’s Cook Islands News claiming that ‘voices of dissent’ follow
authorities to public meetings’, and stating that a ‘minority group’… is
‘pushing their agenda’ is actually very damaging to community relations and to
Marae Ora ran a series of consultation meetings with the public at the
auditorium and high schools last week about the Pfizer vaccine rollout to 12-15
years olds. Consultation is where all members of the community are invited and
encouraged to bring different views, opinions and information to share.
Covid-19 and the new vaccines are a matter of concern not just for Te Marae Ora
but for all of us. Internationally every month there are new studies and
findings on Covid-19 and the vaccines. I thought it was great to see members of
our community bravely standing up and sharing their views and information with
Te Marae Ora and other attendees. Bob Williams (Secretary of Health) ensured
that people were allowed to speak and Te Marae Ora adjusted their presentation
over the series of meetings to include issues that members of the community had
raised. This is to be commended.
differing opinions is a sign of a healthy community. To say that people who
share their opinions and information at consultation meetings are ‘voices of
dissent’ or to call them a ‘minority group’ who are ‘pushing their agenda’ is
derogatory, polarising and untrue. For
people to call them ‘anti vaxers’ and ‘conspiracy theorists’ and to dismiss
them as such is harmful to our people and inhibits sharing of ideas.
Particularly when the issue is about the health of our children. We all have a
responsibility to ensure we are making fully informed decisions when it comes
to our children as they are our future. We will only get through this together
if we show respect and aro’a for each other.
Editor: Cook Islands
News was merely reporting the comments from the Secretary of Health on the
consultations held during the week ahead of the Pfizer vaccine rollout to 12 to
15 years, starting this Friday.
did we go from being a nation being the most vaccinated against measles and
other childhood diseases to being so fearful about the Covid vaccination? It is
the same people we trusted to give us the other vaccines, who are making the
decisions for this one.
for the small group of vigilantes storming the information nights, especially
those who don’t have kids who qualify for the jab – be quiet, you can say your
piece but you are by no way more informed than the doctors just because you can
google something. Why didn’t you stand up against the other vaccines?
we are 97 per cent vaccinated in the eligible population, are you the remaining
3 per cent or did you have yours but you don’t want us to give it to our
has a right to an opinion, but you do not have a right to interfere in other
people listening and making up their own minds with the people and knowledge
they have always been able to trust in before.