A court transcript shared by anti-vaxxer activists that misquotes a senior medical expert and is riddled with basic spelling errors has been exposed as a fake.
NSW Police took the extraordinary step of posting the anti-vaxxers’ claims to its Facebook page on Wednesday, with a large, red ‘debunked’ stamp across its text.
The post has appeared on the personal pages of numerous activists opposed to any form of mandatory Covid-19 vaccination.
It made false claims about the evidence that Professor Kristine Macartney, Director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) and an infectious diseases expert, had given in a NSW Supreme Court case.
NSW Police took the extraordinary step of posting the anti-vaxxers claims to its Facebook page on Wednesday, with a large, red ‘debunked’ stamp. Some of the names of those the post targeted were also misspelt (highlighted)
The anti-vaxxer post made claims about the evidence that Professor Kristine Macartney, Director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) and an infectious diseases expert, had given in a NSW Supreme Court case
The court action against NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard is seeking to overturn his department’s decision to make vaccines mandatory for many public sector workers, including health workers, teachers and police.
The doctored transcript claims Professor Macartney was asked by the barrister in the case whether it was ‘true that double vaxxed people are 13 times more likely to catch the virus’.
‘Kristine’s answer was ‘YES’,’ the fake transcript reports.
The anti-vaxxer post also claims Professor Macartney was asked, ‘Are vaccines dangerous to pregnant women & Kristine said ‘YES”, and ‘Is it true that the vaccines have never been studied for their effectiveness and safety?
‘Kristine Macartney answered, ‘Yes, they have never been fully studied.”
The false transcript post included some glaring misspellings.
‘The court proceedings today pretty damming (sic) for the government looks good for the people.’
In the next sentence, the health minister’s name is spelt as ‘Hazaard’. Professor Macartney’s name is also misspelt as ‘McCartney’.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard is the defendant in two civil cases brought by citizens objecting to mandatory vaccination orders in NSW
Two court cases are seeking to overturn the NSW Govenment’s ‘Delta order’, making vaccination mandatory for certain categories of workers in the state
Health care workers are among those for who vaccination is mandatory, with the workforce expected to be double dosed by November 30
On Wednesday the NCIRS released a statement in which it said the falsified transcript had ‘misrepresented’ Professor Macartney’s views. It also provided correct medical information to counter the fake claims attributed to Professor Macartney.
‘The responses in these online articles and posts attributed to Professor Macartney are fabricated,’ the statement read.
‘They do not reflect what Professor Macartney said, the official court transcript, expert opinion or fact.’
The NCIRS said clinical trials and dozens of real-world studies had shown the vaccines provide strong protection from Covid-19 and reduce transmission to others.
It also noted the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are now routinely recommended for pregnant women, who are a priority population for vaccination. The statement also restated that Covid vaccines were both effective and safe.
Under a public health order issued by Mr Hazzard known as the ‘Delta order’, education and care workers in NSW are required to be fully vaccinated by November 8, with health care workers to be double dosed by November 30.
Workers covered by the order will also need to carry proof of their vaccination status.
The two civil cases brought by construction work Al-Munir Kassam and three other plaintiffs, and by Natasha Henry and five other citizens, are seeking to have the government’s Delta order ruled as invalid.
In the Kassam case, the plaintiffs claimed their ‘right to bodily integrity’ had been violated by the order.
Professor Macartney was cross-examined about the safety and effectiveness of Covid vaccines during a hearing in the case.
‘There is extremely comprehensive evidence now that shows that vaccines protect against infection, protect against symptomatic infection, which is also known as disease, and protect against severe disease,’ she said.
‘The vaccines protect against all of those things which in turn will, by virtue of the fact that [people in the community] are not infected, reduce transmissibility.
‘I do not think there is a high level of uncertainty around that at all.’