It’s worrying, but probably inevitable, that yesterday’s protest at parliament should have ended as a fizzer. It was a mishmash of people and organisations focused on a wide variety of concerns re Covid 19 and government decisions.
Media reporting generally ridiculed the protest – following an 18-month pattern of mainstream media regarding anyone questioning the government’s approach to Covid 19 as fringe, irrational, Brian Tamaki supporters or worse.
Some protesting were opposed to vaccination per se, some to oppose Pfizer, some to oppose lockdowns, some to oppose mandatory vaccination (get vaccinated or lose your job!) and some to promote conspiracy theories about the vaccine or the UN trying to take over the world. And Trump flags featured for heaven’s sake – we have angry, disenfranchised people looking for scapegoats too.
However, amongst the protest group were many with genuine, valid concerns that deserved respectful reporting. They didn’t get it.
Take for example people concerned about the speed of the vaccine being produced (I know a number of people in this category) and worried as to how safe it is. Pfizer is a huge multinational pharmaceutical company, all of which have well-deserved reputations as professional liars. If someone chooses not to vaccinate with Pfizer because of this we should respect their decision irrespective of whether we agree with them or not. We are still relying on Pfizer reporting of the vaccine’s effects to a large degree.
Opposition to mandatory vaccinations in particularly should be applauded by all of us.
I have previous said the role of the government is to encourage vaccination as a way to prevent our hospital system from being overwhelmed by Covid patients. At this level vaccination is about the common good. But to insist on mandatory vaccinations for healthcare workers, teachers or any group of workers when they are able to show they are covid negative is wrong, misleading and scientifically stupid. It is being used by the government to force up vaccination rates without respect for individual decisions. This is wrong.
So many genuine concerns were lost in the reporting of the protest – on this blogsite as well as others – and simply used to reinforce media-generated stereotypes of anyone opposed to vaccination for whatever reason. This also is wrong.