New Zealand PM: ‘There was no compulsory vaccination’
PM joins Pfizer, Canada PM Trudeau in denying vaccine mandates
Yudi Sherman, Frontline News, Sept. 23, 2023
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins Sunday caused a stir when he publicly claimed the government never compelled Kiwis to take the COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic. All those who took the injections, Hipkins said, did so of their own free will.
“In terms of the vaccine mandates, I acknowledge that it was a difficult time for people but they . . . ultimately made their own choices,” Hipkins told reporters. “There was no compulsory vaccination. People made their own choices.”
The prime minister made the remarks in response to a question from a reporter about New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters, who has promised to compensate those who were terminated or injured due to the country’s vaccine mandates.
In October 2021, then-Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised freedom to those who took the COVID-19 shots as they remained under harsh lockdowns.
“The new COVID-19 Protection Framework sets a pathway forward that rewards the rapidly growing number of vaccinated New Zealanders with more freedoms to go about their lives safely,” she said.
“If you are still unvaccinated, not only will you be more at risk of catching COVID-19, but many of the freedoms others enjoy will be out of reach,” she warned. Those who refused the shots were barred from attending almost all events and establishments. Health and education employees who refused the injections were fired.
Ardern was open about her intention to use the vaccine to create two separate classes in New Zealand society.
“So, you’ve basically said, this is gonna be like . . . two different classes of people, if you’re vaccinated or if you’re unvaccinated,” Ardern was asked by a reporter. “You have all these rights if you are vaccinated.”
“That is what it is,” confirmed Ardern, smiling. “So, yep. Yep.”
Hipkins is not the only figure this year to deny that there had ever been forced vaccinations.
Last month Australian Pfizer officials tried to claim no one was forced to take the COVID-19 injections. People were merely “offered an opportunity” to take the shots. Australia’s COVID-19 response rivaled that of New Zealand and Canada, and its government also promised incremental freedoms to those who had themselves injected.
Pfizer’s Head of Regulatory Sciences Dr. Brian Hewitt made the comments during an Australian Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee hearing. Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson expressed her shock after Dr. Hewitt commented that nobody had been forced to take the injection.
“You were in Australia during COVID-19,” said Hanson. “You must have been fully aware that people—nurses, doctors—people, to have their jobs, to keep their jobs, were forced to have the vaccination. Now do you retract your statement that they were not forced?”
But Dr. Hewitt reaffirmed his claim that there had been no vaccine mandate, only an “opportunity.”
“Senator, no, I believe firmly that nobody was forced to have a vaccine. Mandates are vaccine requirements determined by governments and health authorities. Our belief, everybody was offered an opportunity to get a vaccine or not get a vaccine. I don’t believe that anybody was forced to get a vaccine,” said Dr. Hewitt.
Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose vaccine mandate for all Canadians over 12 was considered extraordinary, also recently denied he had forced anyone to get vaccinated.
In 2021 Trudeau began ordering restrictions to force Canadians to take the injections, which included forbidding children 12 or over from traveling on public transportation. Federal workers who refused the shots were placed on unpaid leave and unvaccinated Canadians were forbidden from entering the country or even crossing provincial borders.
“You don’t get to work in the public service, you don’t get to go to movie theaters or gyms or restaurants,” he told the unvaccinated in 2021. He added that “there are no more excuses to not get vaccinated” and that “enforcement measures are in place to ensure everyone gets vaccinated.”
As recently as last October, Trudeau was still threatening the Canadian population with more restrictions if vaccinations did not continue. The prime minister made several such ultimatums last year, including more lockdowns if every single Canadian did not become fully vaccinated.
But during a talk at the University of Iowa in April, Trudeau said he only provided “incentives” for vaccinations in order to respect the individual choices of those who refused the shots.
“Individuals are allowed to make their own choices. There may be all sorts of reasons why someone is hesitant to get vaccinated,” said Trudeau. “And therefore, while not forcing anyone to get vaccinated, I chose to make sure all the incentives and all the protections were there to encourage Canadians to get vaccinated.”