The New Zealand Ministry of Health allowed thousands of its health workers to receive COVID-19 vaccination exemptions while simultaneously encouraging the public to get vaccinated, a report has found.
Abide by the NarrativeHealth workers were also expected to avoid making statements that might be contrary to official narratives.
The statement has been criticized by human rights lawyer Peter Fam.
Vaccine Exemptions Refused to PublicUnder New Zealand’s former Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, who worked closely with former Prime Ministers Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins, vaccine exemptions were denied to severely injured individuals, with officials continuing to recommend second doses and boosters.
His general practitioner referred him to a cardiologist who advised it was possible he developed myocarditis—inflammation of the heart—following his first vaccination.
According to the report, Dr. Bloomfield refused the man’s exemption without further explanation despite the man’s support from two medical professionals.
“I am not satisfied, based on the evidence or other information provided, that you meet the specified COVID-19 vaccination exemption criteria,” Dr. Bloomfield allegedly wrote in a letter.
A ministry spokesperson acknowledged the man’s desired outcome hadn’t been achieved but wouldn’t comment further, saying it was inappropriate to comment publicly on a person’s medical circumstances.
Auckland allergy specialist and clinical immunologist Rohan Ameratunga wrote a letter stating he had “reviewed” Ms. McIntyre’s case and “would agree she should not have a second vaccine at this stage.”
But Dr. Bloomfield declined her application, offering the AstraZeneca vaccine as an alternative for her second dose or “supervised administration.”
The ministry’s letters did not offer any explanation for why Ms. McIntyre’s exemption was denied, simply stating that “there are only rare circumstances a person is unable to receive the Pfizer vaccine.”
Despite Ms. McIntyre’s waiving her privacy and giving permission for the ministry to discuss her case, the ministry cited the Privacy Act and refused to answer 1News’ questions about her application.
In a statement to 1News, a ministry spokesperson said “robust systems and processes” were in place to assess exemption applications, which were overseen by a Temporary Medical Exemption Panel.
“The panel includes medical and nurse practitioners with significant expertise and a Māori health leader,” the statement read.
“This includes a Clinical Immunologist and Allergist, Consultant Neurologist, Clinical Pharmacologist, and Endocrinologist amongst other primary health care specialists.”