I am a recently retired anaesthetic specialist and I have worked in New Zealand public hospitals for 30 years.
I have also been a significant health leader so I am a credible witness. I’m not an anti-vaxxer. I have no connection to the discredited group, NZDSOS (apart from writing extensively to refute their claims). I am fully vaccinated and I agree we need to get as much of the population vaccinated as possible (by international standards, we are doing well already).
I was a founding member and Acting Chair of the EpiQual Committee, which was the very first statutory committee giving independent advice to the Minister of Health of strategies for healthcare quality and safety. I led the process to revise the terms of reference (approved by Cabinet) to set up the Quality Improvement Committee (QIC) to which I was also appointed. I was seconded to the Ministry of Health and was the co-author of the report to the Minister that created the national frameworks and priorities to investment in healthcare quality and safety (which led to the creation of the Healthcare Quality and Safety Commission). I was also the NZ representative on the WHO International Patient Safety Solutions Committee. So I have a very broad overview of health systems and I was also a National Fellow trained in Evidence Based Medicine back in the 1990’s.
It is a sad day when I have to spell out my credentials to get anyone to listen to me. We are witnessing extreme control from this government, and from the medical profession and the news media. My well-informed medical colleagues are scared to speak out.
Basically, the latest science of viral transmission and vaccination pertaining to the Delta variant shows that vaccine passports have little foundation in science (other than marginally increasing the total number of people who get vaccinated, and at the same time creating resistance among those doubtful of vaccination). Multiple scientific studies around the world show that the vaccine offers only modest protection against catching COVID (a 35% to 50% reduction) and does not prevent transmission. Fully vaccinated people who get COVID have the same viral load as the unvaccinated, and are equally contagious, though probably for a shorter time. Very detailed, prospective studies of transmission in households show that the rate of secondary cases is exactly the same, whether or not the primary case is vaccinated.
COVID is spreading rapidly in the vaccinated population in many countries (but the chance of serious illness is still reduced by 90%) and places that have the highest vaccination rate (eg the county of Waterford in Ireland with an astonishing 99.7% fully vaccinated rate) also have very high rates of new COVID cases, 1,486/100,000 people per 14 days (the number in NZ for comparison is 38/100,000)
The moment the government steps into the Traffic Light System and uses Vaccine Passports, we will see COVID spread rapidly among the vaccinated population (who are allowed to mix freely in large crowds with close contact). The irony is, we are all far more likely to catch COVID from the population of vaccinated folk, then the small number of unvaccinated who are forced to socially isolate. Therefore the idea that we set up geographic boundaries – for instance around Auckland – and only permit the vaccinated to pass, is a guarantee that we will spread the virus far and wide (this will happen anyway, we cannot stop it). There is little scientific basis to say that we must vaccinate our teachers to protect our children (many of the vaccinated teachers will be infectious), or that we must vaccinate our health workers to protect patients (many vaccinated health workers will be infectious). It also seems plausible that vaccinated people who are infected, and potentially contagious, are more likely to be asymptomatic and therefore passing on infection unknowingly.
The only effective strategy to reduce the pace of transmission is widespread deployment of rapid testing and associated public health measures such as isolation, mask wearing, handwashing and social distancing, which makes more sense than vaccine passports. These measures rely on building trust and collaboration, not destroying it.
Here are all the scientific references to back up what I am saying (these are all fully accessible to the public):
For a concise summary of the science in an easy-to-understand account, please see my video:
In just a few months, this truth will be apparent to everyone. We will see large numbers of COVID cases, and the proportion of COVID cases who are fully vaccinated will rapidly increase (it already is). The widespread adoption of vaccination will greatly reduce the burden of serious illness and the stress on our hospitals but lots of people will still get seriously ill. The proportion of COVID cases in hospitals, who are fully vaccinated, will soon become the majority (as they already are in many countries). The government will have to admit that vaccine passports did not prevent widespread transmission of the virus and that mandated vaccination provided little protection, while greatly increasing division and distrust.
It has been very anxiety-provoking and stressful to air these views in public, even though they are based on reputable science. It is shocking to hear misrepresentations being broadcast on TVNZ, such as this piece saying that if you and your friend are vaccinated it reduces your chance of catching COVID by a factor of 200:
This is descending into the realms of propaganda, being wrong by two orders of magnitude.
We need to uphold free speech, open debate, open questioning, listen to the science, and allow doctors to make the best decisions for their patients (for instance for vaccine exemptions). Isn’t this what New Zealand stands for?
Visit Robin’s YouTube channel.