The federal government’s decision not to pause its vaccine rollout despite international concern was met with some criticism.
The federal government’s decision not to pause its vaccine rollout despite international concern was met with some criticism.

Senator slams ‘culture of suppression’

Outspoken Nationals senator Matt Canavan has warned about a growing "culture of suppression" towards people who have opposing views about COVID-19 vaccines.

Senator Canavan's calls are likely to get more noses out of joint after he urged the Coalition government this week to halt the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout after blood-clotting concerns in Europe.

The European Medicines Agency announced on Friday the vaccine was "safe and effective", prompting several nations to kickstart their immunisation plans.

But Senator Canavan told Sky News the vaccine still posed risks.

"This climate of suppression of any other alternative views is turning (vaccines) into a quasi-mandatory requirement to be a member of polite society," Senator Canavan said.

"A few days' pause here would not have made any difference to our rollout in the scheme of things.

"But it would have helped build confidence, I think, that authorities are taking concerns seriously."

RELATED: AstraZeneca jab given 'green light'

Australian health experts resisted pressure this week to join a host of European nations that paused their vaccine rollouts while reports of blood clotting were investigated.

Chief medical officer Paul Kelly reiterated on Wednesday he had "no concerns" about the AstraZeneca vaccine or the issue of blood clots.

"The European Medical Agency head said the same thing as the World Health Organisation and the UK regulator, the TGA here in Australia, myself and many other experts in these matters," Professor Kelly said.

"Things will happen because they happen. It doesn't mean that they're related to the vaccine."

The European drug regulator said it could not definitively rule out a link between the blood clots and the vaccines after its investigation.

Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly found his voice again this week after Senator Matt Canavan also raised concerns about blood clots. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage
Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly found his voice again this week after Senator Matt Canavan also raised concerns about blood clots. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage

Newly independent MP Craig Kelly joined Senator Canavan in calling for the government to pause immunisations.

This is despite being reprimanded by Scott Morrison in February, after months of spreading coronavirus conspiracy theories that contradicted government medical advice.

In a statement at the time, Mr Kelly said the Prime Minister reinforced the "importance if ensuring public confidence" in the government's vaccine strategy.

He agreed to support the government's vaccine rollout, which he said had been endorsed by medical experts.

 

Originally published as Senator slams 'culture of suppression'



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