Covid-19 inoculations - infection and transmission

ASE made this Official Information request to Ministry of Health

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Ministry of Health should normally have responded promptly and by (details and exceptions)

From: ASE

Dear Ministry of Health,

On or about 15 Nov 2021, The Ministry of Health stated on its website: “You can still get COVID-19 if you’re vaccinated but the symptoms are likely to be very mild, or you may not have any symptoms at all. This means that if you are vaccinated and get COVID-19, you may not realise and spread it to others.” - https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/dise...

* Does The Ministry of Health recognise that COVID-19 inoculations are not effective at preventing infection or transmission of COVID-19? If The Ministry of Health asserts that COVID-19 inoculations are effective at preventing infection or transmission of COVID-19, what balance of evidence, both for and against, is that assertion based on? What absolute risk reduction is claimed by such data?

* Prior to mid November 2021, did The Ministry of Health have data/evidence that COVID-19 inoculations in use in New Zealand are not effective at preventing infection or transmission of COVID-19? What data/evidence was available prior to mid November 2021, supporting the assertion that COVID-19 inoculations in use in New Zealand are not effective at preventing infection or transmission of COVID-19?

* What claim(s) has the manufacturer(s) of these products made to The Ministry of Health (eg, as part of any approval process) regarding prevention of COVID-19 infection or prevention of COVID-19 transmission?

Prior to mid November 2021, The Ministry of Health, via its website and other mediums, consistently made claims (partial list, below the questions) that COVID-19 inoculations in use in New Zealand are effective in reducing both infections and transmissions of COVID-19.

Considering this conflicting information from The Ministry of Health:

* What evidence supports the common belief/assertion (fuelled in large part by earlier statements and assertions made by The Ministry of Health) that persons not inoculated against COVID-19 are a threat to persons inoculated against COVID-19, more so than persons inoculated against COVID-19 are threats to other persons inoculated against COVID-19? (As it's commonly phrased, "the unvaccinated are a threat to the vaccinated", apparently based on a belief that uninoculated persons are a significantly higher risk of being infectious than inoculated persons)

* Does the recent statement from The Ministry of Health, above, suggest that persons not inoculated against COVID-19 are more likely to be symptomatic if/when they are infected, and thus more inclined to self-isolate, and thus less likely to transmit COVID-19 to others?

* Excepting specific situations (eg care of vulnerable patients {in which case they would likely be safest among people who have acquired natural immunity to COVID-19, after recovery}) what balance of evidence, both for and against, supports any segregation of any kind between inoculated and uninoculated persons?

* On what basis were claims being made, prior to mid November 2021, that COVID-19 inoculations in use in New Zealand are effective in reducing infections and/or transmission of COVID-19? What balance of evidence, both for and against, were such claims based on? Aside from a balance of evidence, what other factors may have influenced The Ministry of Health to make claims that COVID-19 inoculations in use in New Zealand are effective in reducing infections and/or transmissions of COVID-19?

* Has The Ministry of Health considered how this conflicting information may cause public confusion? If not, why not? If so, what has been found? What is being done to remedy any harm caused?

* Has The Ministry of Health considered how this conflicting information may lead to public distrust in The Ministry of Health, and/or "the government"? If not, why not? If so, what has been found? What is being done to remedy any harm caused?

* Has The Ministry of Health considered how this conflicting information has led to correct information being labelled "fake news", "conspiracy theory", or similar, and how that affects public health? If not, why not? If so, what has been found? What is being done to remedy any harm caused?

* Has The Ministry of Health considered how this conflicting information has led to incorrect information being labelled "truth", and being "verified" by "fact checkers", and similar, and how that affects public health? If not, why not? If so, what has been found? What is being done to remedy any harm caused?

* Has The Ministry of Health considered how this conflicting information has led to a hostile environment against individuals and groups who have chosen to conscientiously object and otherwise (eg by exercising their human rights) to abstain from COVID-19 inoculations? Has The Ministry of Health considered the many ways in which such a hostile environment exacerbates a public health crisis? Has The Ministry of Health considered the many ways in which such a hostile environment is likely to lead to future public health crises? If not, why not? If so, what has been found? What is being done to remedy any harm caused?

* Has The Ministry of Health used this (or other) conflicting or otherwise incorrect information, or is there any reason to believe that The Ministry of Health has been used to disseminate or otherwise spread conflicting or otherwise incorrect information, to pursue any purpose whatsoever other than public health goals as stated and generally understood?

* Has The Ministry of Health considered how this conflicting information may lead people to incorrectly calculate their risk/benefit assessment of a COVID-19 inoculation? If not, why not? If so, what has been found? What is being done to remedy any harm caused?

* Has The Ministry of Health considered how this conflicting information may lead healthcare professionals and treatment providers to not correctly understand, or explain to their patients, the risk/benefit assessment of COVID-19 inoculations? If not, why not? If so, what has been found? What is being done to remedy any harm caused?

* Has The Ministry of Health considered how this conflicting information may, both directly and via professional advice from ill-advised healthcare professionals and treatment providers, lead to breaches of healthcare providers' ethical and legal requirements to facilitate informed consent, and to empower their patients to make decisions on the basis of informed consent? If not, why not? If so, what has been found? What is being done to remedy any harm caused?

List of claims (not necessarily complete, dates are approximate) made by The Ministry of Health, prior to mid November 2021, stating or strongly suggesting that inoculations against COVID-19, as used in New Zealand, prevent infection and/or transmission of COVID-19:

"Vaccination in these sectors [health and disability, education, correctional] is an important tool for reducing infection and transmission." (12 Nov 2021) - https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccine...

"To help protect yourself, encourage your family and the people you live with to also get vaccinated." (21 Oct 2021) - https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/dise...

(Video) "It's [the vaccine's] all about keeping ourselves and the people around us safe" (12 Oct 2021) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1wupZ0H... - https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccine...

(Video) "It's [the vaccine's] the next stage to better protecting ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities from COVID-19" (12 Oct 2021) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nG6VKVpx... - https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccine...

"Vaccination does help to reduce transmission of the virus" (01 Oct 2021) - https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/dise...

"When you get vaccinated, you are not just protecting yourself. You are also doing your bit by reducing the risk of passing on COVID-19 to your whānau, friends and community." (01 Oct 2021) - https://covid19.govt.nz/health-and-wellb...

"We know it is a lot harder for the virus to spread between people who are vaccinated." (01 Oct 2021) - https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccine...

"Being vaccinated also means you’re less likely to transmit the virus to others. It helps protect tamariki in your family who are too young to be vaccinated, and older whanāu members (such as grandparents) you’re spending time with." (28 Sep 2021) - https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/dise...

(Video) "Plus, evidence shows that if you get a double dose you're *FAR* less likely to get seriously sick, and pass the virus on the others" (10 Sep 2021) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFOiK73T... - https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccine...

"Once you are fully vaccinated, you are far less likely to fall seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus to others." (01 Sep 2021) - https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccine...

"When you get vaccinated, you are not just protecting yourself. You are also doing your bit by reducing the risk of passing on COVID-19 to your whānau, friends and community." (12 Aug 2021) - https://covid19.govt.nz/health-and-wellb...

"Being fully vaccinated gives you protection against Delta infection […]" (12 Aug 2021) - https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/dise...

Video - "The vaccine is a major tool in our toolkit to help us get through this pandemic, keep our friends and family protected" (20 Jul 2021) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGqshzqg... - https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccine...

"Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is an important step you can take to protect yourself, your kaumātua and whānau from the effects of the COVID-19 virus." (09 Jun 2021) - https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/dise...

Print advertisement which appeared in newspapers including the Dominion Post and Kapiti News has an image of a globe with New Zealand at the centre and two figures sitting on top of the world with arms wrapped around each other. The advertisement is headed “With the vaccine, it’s all possible. Our immunity against COVID-19 is incredibly important. Because it brings more possibilities for us all.” Part of the information provided is the statement: “Once you’ve had both doses of the vaccine it has been shown to be up to 95% effective at stopping you from catching COVID-19.” - Referenced in ASA complaint - https://www.asa.co.nz//backend/documents...

"Being fully vaccinated provides good protection against catching the virus and from getting very sick.", and, "That means once you are fully vaccinated you are far less likely to fall seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus to others. It’s the best way to protect you, your whānau and your community.." Printed pamphlet - https://covid19.govt.nz/assets/resources...

"That means once you are fully vaccinated you are far less likely to fall seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus to others. It’s the best way to protect you, your whānau and your community.", and, "This means that once you are fully vaccinated, you are far less likely to fall seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus to friends, whānau or workmates." - Printed pamphlet - https://covid19.govt.nz/assets/vaccine_t...

"Getting 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine means you are much less likely to catch COVID-19, including the Delta variant." - https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccine...

"That means if they do develop COVID-19, they are far less likely to fall seriously ill, and less likely to transmit the virus to others." - https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccine...

"The vaccine helps protect us all" - Series of several posters - https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccine...

"The vaccine helps us meet new family" Series of several posters - https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccine...

"Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, your whānau and your community from COVID-19." - How to recognise misinformation - https://covid19.govt.nz/assets/resources...

"When you get vaccinated you’re not just protecting yourself. You’re also doing your bit by reducing the risk of passing on COVID-19 to your whanau, friends and community." - Your COVID-19 vaccination: Everything you need to know - https://covid19.govt.nz/assets/resources...

"Do it for your family" - https://covid19.govt.nz/assets/resources...

"Do it for your family" - https://covid19.govt.nz/assets/resources...

"Do it for each other" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcIQATtA...

Thank you,

AS Emet

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From: OIA Requests

Kia ora,

 

Thank you for your Official Information Act (the Act) request. This is
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Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic response, the Ministry is experiencing
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[4]Ministry of Health information releases  

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