A cowboy-themed event in Whanganui set for September has told members of the public not to come if they have had the Covid-19 vaccine.
In an advertisement for the “Cowboy Fun Day”, it states people with the vaccine are “not welcome” and wearing face masks is not encouraged.
The event, planned for September 25, has been advertised to include an obstacle course, races and children’s games.
Event organisers have been approached for comment.
Auckland University Associate Professor Dr Siouxsie Wiles said she was immensely sad to see the ad.
“We know that the vaccine is safe and effective, it is what we need to protect ourselves and members of our community from Covid-19, so the fact that people are openly showing their distrust of it, it’s really sad.”
Wiles said it was really important to understand why people might have that view.
“We know that lots of people have that view because of the massive amounts of misinformation and disinformation that is circulating about the virus, pandemic and the vaccines – so this suggests people really believe that.”
Wiles said this advertisement could be an opportunity for people to talk about the vaccine.
“[This could be an opportunity to talk about] what information is out there and explaining how misinformation circulates.
“One of the really interesting bits of research that was done recently shows that something like two thirds of all the misinformation about vaccinations comes from just 12 accounts that create this fake information, basically because they are making money from that.”
She said we then have groups in New Zealand that take that information, make it more palatable for Kiwis and distribute it.
Wiles said as the vaccination effort in Aotearoa continues to ramp up, we would expect misinformation to ramp up in response.
“We have seen this the over the last six months and so it is an opportunity for us to talk about this.”
She said it is okay for the public to feel nervous about the vaccine, though it has gone through all the appropriate process.
“What people have to remember is these vaccines have been given to millions and millions of people around the world and it is doing a really good job of keeping people safe.”
Wiles encourages people to get their information about vaccines from appropriate sources.
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