Coffs’ COVID vaccination protest takes turn for the bizarre
A protest against the coronavirus vaccine rollout took a bizarre turn this afternoon as discussion meandered from the pandemic to a satanic cabal of paedophiles.
Well over 150 people gathered in Brelsford Park on Saturday as part of the national Millions March Against Mandatory COVID-19 vaccines, with some people travelling from Kyogle, Dorrigo and Grafton to join the crowd.
However, the message was anything but clear during well over an hour and a half of speeches which covered everything from forced vaccination of children, bulk-billing for naturopaths, Bill Gates and genetically modified humans.
There was also a speech devoted to the QAnon conspiracy theory which claims there is a secret cabal of satanic paedophiles engaging in worldwide sex-trafficking and plotting against Donald Trump.
At one point one of the protesters called out for the speakers to "stick to the mandatory vaccination issue please".
But despite the diverse messaging, there was no doubt people were concerned their right to refuse the vaccine would be at risk despite government assurances it would not be mandatory.
And there were big cheers from the crowd when one particularly passionate speaker said women "have the right to trust your bodies" and refuse the vaccine.
There was frustration directed at government policies like 'No Jab, No Pay' which many felt was a form of government "coercion" which left families with no other choice than to vaccinate, regardless of whether they wanted to or not.
No Jab No Pay is a Federal Government initiative which withholds payments from people whose children are not fully immunised.
There to lend his support to the movement was Lex Stewart, a former public servant and 2019 election candidate, who said he was not an anti-vaxxer but a "vaccine questioner".
Mr Stewart said if he was going to a country which had a high risk of diseases like malaria or ebola, he would be more than happy to take a vaccine because "the benefits outweigh the risks".
"I believe in freedom of speech and I believe in questioning government decisions," he said.
"I am very concerned that in many of these vaccination issues its more political than scientific."
Another concerned about the vaccine rollout was Dorrigo's Alison Creenaune who said as an anaphylactic she was worried it could kill her.
She was not convinced the risk assessments for the vaccine were adequate and said government's across the world needed to acknowledge the injuries that had been caused by vaccines in the past.
"If they have honesty and said, yes, this percentage of children are damaged from vaccines then at least we could talk on an open and honest basis."
A report by the American Centre for Disease Control found there were 21 cases of anaphylaxis out of more than 1.8 million first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and of these, 71 per cent occurred within 15 minutes of vaccination.
And data from the US Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System showed there were around 372 adverse reactions from every million people receiving the mRNA vaccine and a higher proportion of people reported non serious side effects after the second dose.