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Letters: Secretary of Health Bob Williams replies

Saturday 2 September 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Letters: Secretary of Health Bob Williams replies

The Cook Islands only registered two Covid-19 related deaths from the onset of Covid-19 up to normalising Covid-19 on 1 July 2022.

Since the 19 July 2023, we have not recorded any further positive Covid cases in the Cook Islands.

The Cook Islands government never mandated for compulsory vaccination of our people.

TMO presented the data of what’s happening in other parts of the world including Covid-19 deaths and the science provided by WHO, and most importantly taking advice from the New Zealand Ministry of Health.

The staged approach taken by government, TMO and all agencies including our communities to protect our people and getting our country ready through a variety of public health measures including vaccination before the arrival of Covid-19 was the best approach taken to protect our people and to register the only two related deaths.

The question is would the outcome have been different if the Cook Islands vaccination uptake was similar to that of some countries where the preparation and the level of protection was not the same with that of the Cook Islands which resulted in many deaths?

My response is not to have a debate with Mr Denny but to say that he has no knowledge and understanding at all as to the health condition of our Cook Islands people.

These chronic health conditions have developed over several years and it’s not in the last two years, and for Mr Denny to have alleged that people are dying due to poisoning in the last 2 years is unsubstantiated.

We welcome, if he can provide evidence to his allegation.

The NCD rate in the Cook Islands and globally is the main cause to many deaths – higher than those that died from Covid-19.

It’s the change of lifestyle and the choices that people make for themselves of what they consume which defines their health condition.

Since early this year, TMO has and continues to roll out the Smoke Free and Healthy Island initiatives across the Pa Enua.

Government has set out our national priorities to reduce the rate of NCD including obesity and other health risk factors in the coming and future years.

TMO’s focus now on top of its core services is to help and encourage people to consider making better healthy lifestyle changes for a healthy family and a healthy nation.


graham roper on 02/09/2023

Mr Williams reply states "My response is not to have a debate with Mr Denny but to say that he has no knowledge and understanding at all as to the health condition of our Cook Islands people." As an ex Police officer , who demonstrates by action or lack of, he has no understanding of the needs of the people of the Cook Island and its visitors. As previously suggested, instead of spending huge amounts of money going overseas to do what? No reports to the people on why or outcomes of trips , why not pay for community workers to assit the people of the Islands for at least a year to manage, face to face, at the persons home, their diabeties. Just one recent trip costs would have paid for this service. Mr Williams has asked for evidence. Rest assured, its coming.