Child delivers Covid anti-vax leaflet
A Gisborne woman was surprised to have a young girl deliver an anti-vaccination Covid-19 flyer to her late last week.
Up to 2 million of the leaflets, which are full of misleading or outright false claims about Covid-19
vaccines, are being distributed nationwide. Stuff reported on Wednesday that the Advertising Standards Authority was investigating, and had sought a response from the advertiser.
Auckland University research fellow Kate Hannah, who leads a group monitoring Covid-19 disinformation, said it was really concerning that the flyer was arriving in letter boxes about the same time as official information on the vaccine plan.
Their research suggested the people heading anti-vaccination groups were closely related to anti-1080 efforts, opposition to gun control and anti-5G: “All of these hot-button issues are interconnected,” she told Stuff.
Voices For Freedom, which produced the leaflet (and previously advertised in a magazine containing pandemic conspiracy theories), said its campaign was planned to run alongside the Government’s vaccine campaign.
The flyer claims to present “Eight important Covid-19 vaccine facts you probably haven’t heard”, which vaccinologist Associate Professor Helen Petousis-Harris says are actually eight of the most common myths about Covid-19 vaccines.
“The ‘golden rules’ of propaganda are used in the flyer — it uses emotions, creates a dichotomy between ‘good’ and ‘bad’, and avoids data and rational discussion,” she writes in an article addressing the falsehoods, that can be read at: https://tinyurl.com/bkwtumu7
A resident in Railway Lane contacted The Herald yesterday to say she was handed one of the flyers outside her gate late last week by a girl she estimated to be age 10 or younger.
“The child asked me if I would like to know about the Covid vaccine, so had probably been coached not to force it on anyone who didn’t want to receive it. Being somewhat curious, and realising this was not likely to be anything legit from the government, I said ‘yes’ and she handed it over.”
There did not seem to be an adult nearby, but she was seeing a visitor off so might have missed them.
“Pretty shameful, I thought, using little kids to distribute a pamphlet of this nature, as they could have little or no notion about the damage spreading such disinformation can do.”