New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has refuted claims that Kiwis were forced to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, asserting that individuals had made their own choices on the matter.
As of Dec. 14, 2022, New Zealand had recorded 64,829 adverse reactions, with the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (MedSafe) stating that 3,688 of those were categorized as serious. There are no reports on the number of adverse reactions that have occurred in 2023.
“There is a process for people who are injured in a medical procedure; there are already processes in place for dealing with that,” Mr. Hipkins told local media on Sept. 3.
“In terms of the vaccine mandates, I acknowledge that it was a challenging time for people, but they ultimately made their own choices.
“There was no compulsory vaccination, people made their own choices.”
The prime minister made the comments in response to questions about whether he saw any value in providing compensation for people who lost their jobs due to vaccine mandates or sustained vaccine injuries, a pledge that New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is taking to the general election on Oct. 14.
Mr. Hipkins said he thought Mr. Peters was “abandoning” the older demographic because they had the highest vaccination levels.
“Older New Zealanders have record high rates of vaccination, they’re amongst the highest in the world, and Winston Peters seems to be saying that they made the wrong decision in doing that,” he said.
The Epoch Times has contacted Mr. Peters’ office for comment.
The comments from the New Zealand prime minister come after an Australian Senate inquiry in August heard Pfizer Country Medical Director Dr. Krishan Thiru also deny that anyone had been coerced into receiving COVID vaccinations.
“I believe firmly that nobody was forced to have a vaccine,” Dr. Thiru said.
“Mandates for vaccine requirements are determined by governments and health authorities.
“I believe everybody was offered an opportunity to get a vaccine or not get a vaccine. I don’t believe that anybody was forced to take a vaccine.”
Prior to Mr. Hipkins’ appointment as prime minister following predecessor Jacinda Ardern’s resignation, he was New Zealand’s COVID-19 response minister and education minister.
As COVID-19 response minister, he oversaw the implementation of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations in sectors including health and disability, education, border force