TOM CONNELL, HOST: Live here, my panel, Liberal Senator Gerard Rennick and from the Labor Party Murray Watt. Thanks both for you time. Gerard, to start with are you watching this next news conference with an open mind about what the (net zero) plan is and whether you might back it?
GERARD RENNICK, LNP SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND: Tom, I’m not worried about 2050. At the moment, what I’m worried about right now is what’s happening in 2021.
And in particular, the adverse effects that are happening to young people across the country from vaccines in the last week. Hang on a minute, hang on. In the last week, I’ve had a 37 seven year old woman who’s had a stroke, been told she’s got to take a second vaccine or is going to lose her job. I’ve had a 19 year old girl just had severe clots in her legs and her lungs.
She’s in hospital, she took that Pfizer shot last Thursday night. I’ve spoken to a 31 year old man who’s been paralysed since early September down his right hand side, he’s got some movement back in his right arm. He has had no income for the last two months.
He just took out a mortgage before he got that shot. He’s been told, the only time he’s heard from Queensland Health, is that he’s got to take a second shot.
Now bad enough that people don’t get a choice to take vaccine. But it’s worse that they’re being forced to take a second vaccine after they’ve had an adverse event, and that the government hasn’t yet provided them income support while they’ve been unable to work.
CONNELL: You posted on Facebook. Let’s go to one of the cases you posted on an Australian actress who suffered TTS after AstraZeneca. A news report stated as a rare side effect. Your comment was “rare side effect – not from what I’m hearing”. Some anecdotal evidence. Have you read the TGA weekly vaccine report?
RENNICK: I do read the weekly TGA. So the lady, the 37 year old who had the stroke in Perth, she has been designated as a B category, which means they won’t say whether or not that stroke was caused by the vaccine. Now, given that she hadn’t reacted…
CONNELL: Why is that? Have you looked into why that is?
RENNICK: Well, she had the reaction 15 minutes after taking the vaccine.
CONNELL: Have you spoken to her?
RENNICK: I have just spoken to her. I mean, it’s not for me to breach the patient doctor confidentiality, but she’s a police officer. She’s credible. She’s not making not making stories up. So we’re not going to try and undermine these victims who aren’t antivaxxers or anything like that.
CONNELL: So the evidence you’re presenting is, I’ve spoken to one person who says this. The TGA reports… I mean, there’s been no vaccines that’s ever been more scrutinised in the history of the world, essentially. 12.6 million doses have been issued, for example of AstraZeneca. Nine deaths, 156 cases of TTS so one case per 80,000 of TTS.
RENNICK: So these COVID vaccines have had more reported deaths than all the other vaccines put together in the last 30 years? I think that it’s worth looking at these vaccines. (inaudible) They haven’t had longitudinal studies done on them. Okay – the time that they reviewed was a very short period of time. And can I say the World Health Organisation…
CONNELL: You just read those stats, let’s get to what we know. Because well, anyone could talk to one person and say there was a terrible circumstance. I don’t know the person. I’m not saying they’re not telling the truth, there have been deaths from vaccines. You can’t talk to one person and say these stats are wrong. Are you disputing the fact…
RENNICK: It’s not about statistics Tom, it’s about the way these people have been treated after they’ve had an adverse event.
CONNELL: But you said ‘rare side effect, not what I’m hearing’.
CONNELL: There have been multiple stories, but that doesn’t mean they’re not rare because there have been 12.6 million of AstraZeneca….
RENNICK: By the benchmark of prior vaccines this is not rare.
CONNELL: Are you disputing the TGA figures?
RENNICK: I’m going to question them about the TGA figures. I don’t trust Skerritt because he’s given me incorrect information in the past. So Professor Skerritt, he’s giving me either incorrect information or he hasn’t done his own research.
CONNELL: The published TGA stats on weekly vaccine reports? You have any concrete evidence or any reason why they would be wrong?
RENNICK: Well, I’ll be asking tomorrow why someone who had a severe adverse event 15 minutes after the vaccine wasn’t…
CONNELL: Yeah, but isn’t it better to get that answer rather than post on Facebook? ‘Not from what I’m hearing’ go off one person and undermine…
RENNICK: I’m not going off one person. I’m going off probably 50 people that have contacted me directly and they all say…
CONNELL: This is all anecdotal evidence?
RENNICK: I accept that it’s anecdotal evidence, but you can go on the World Health Organisation database, there’s been over 10,000 reported deaths there from the COVID vaccines. I compare that to other adverse events from things like tetanus and polio where they’ve had something like 20 reported deaths. This is a much more, there’s been a lot more adverse events and a lot more reported deaths from these vaccines than any other vaccines. This should not be ignored Tom and I know…
CONNELL: You’ve made a comment. You say you’re going to follow up on this information.
CONNELL: You’ve made a comment questioning something before you’ve done that. Why not…
RENNICK: Because I don’t get a straight answer, I haven’t got a straight answer in the past from the TGA. I’ve got very little confidence at the moment in what they’ve been telling me. But regardless of whether or not the statistics are right or wrong, these are people who haven’t been given proper income support…
CONNELL: Well income support’s one thing. But you can’t say regardless if they’re right or wrong. If they’re right, what are you going to do – retract that Facebook post?
RENNICK: No, because I don’t think they are. No, no, I’m not going to because there’s evidence out there on the virus in the US in the World Health Organisation database. Tom, I’ll send you through the links. I’ll send you the data.
CONNELL: But the TGA data in Australia, you’re saying “rare, not from what I’m hearing”. I’m saying. That’s the important data. It’s not that a single tragedy or multiple tragedies can’t happen, it’s certainly not that people shouldn’t get compensation for that. If there’s a situation like that I happen to agree that people should be compensated for that. But it’s about you saying, ‘not from what I’m hearing’.
RENNICK: Not from what I’m hearing. That’s right.
CONNELL: That’s anecdotal. Don’t you see the difference…
RENNICK: Tom, there’s been 589 reported deaths on the TGA website right. They are saying only 9 are attributed to vaccines. So are they saying the other 580 people got it wrong?
CONNELL: No, what they’re saying is if you get a vaccine, you die in the two weeks after that. It’s not necessarily because you got the vaccine. The whole of Australia is basically getting vaccinated, we’re still going to have a death rate. You could also say the number of people that had a coffee in the past week and then died was staggeringly high. It’s the difference between cause and effect. Yeah, that’s why 589 figure has nothing to do with dying from a vaccine.
RENNICK: It might have something to do, right.
CONNELL: But that’s the thing, the TGA has done the work.
RENNICK: Let me tell you this…
CONNELL: There’s a difference between dying from and after a vaccine.
RENNICK: I’ve said that except that no one between five and 11 has died from a vaccine. There’s been one person up until just recently between 11 and 20. That’s died from a vaccine, sorry, died with COVID. Okay, that had meningitis. Right. So why are we even talking about giving vaccines to younger people, when the relative risk ratio is very, very low from dying from COVID anyway. And paediatricians have called for greater testing of these vaccines.
CONNELL: That’s fine. And when that discussion comes up around safety of the vaccine for five to 11 year old versus risk, fine, we put it on the table with the established figures. Not from I spoke to someone, not from anecdotal evidence.
RENNICK: Tom, I’m a Senator, I don’t have time to go through every reported event.
MURRAY WATT, LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND: But you have the time to go on your Facebook and post all sorts of nonsense.
RENNICK: Are you saying what’s happening to these people is nonsense? Why don’t you show some respect Murray.
WATT: I’m saying that what you’re posting is nonsense.
RENNICK: I am saying that this is a serious issue that is being ignored by the government classes, by the government, by the political class, a serious issue here that needs to get greater national attention.
WATT: Tom, is it any wonder…
RENNICK: Yeah here we go. Go and mock these people Murray, they’ve been paralysed, they’ve had strokes.
WATT: Is it any wonder that Queensland vaccination rates are lagging other states when we have a Queensland LNP senator, arm in arm with George Christensen and Clive Palmer running around the state, running around the nation, spreading misinformation about vaccines and discouraging people from getting their vaccines? This is about Queenslanders’ health.
This is about Queensland businesses, this is about Queensland jobs. We all know that the best way to make sure that our economy can open up, that jobs can be provided, that we can keep people healthy and safe is by encouraging people to get vaccinated.
And instead, we’ve got members of Scott Morrison’s own government running around Queensland, running around the country arm in arm with Clive Palmer and all sorts of anti-vaxxers spreading misinformation, going off anecdotal evidence, when the TGA is saying completely the opposite based on facts and based on data.
There is no wonder that Gerard Rennick and George Christensen are getting people contacting them with their anecdotal stories – and I have every sympathy for people who have had an adverse reaction. But there is no wonder why Gerard, George and other people like that are getting people contacting them because their Facebook pages are littered with anti vaccination nonsense.
RENNICK: These people got vaccinated Murray. They got vaccinated. Don’t you dare call them antivaxxers. They got vaccinated.
WATT: You’re an antivaxxer.
RENNICK: I’m not an antivaxxer, I’ve got my children vaccinated. I got my whooping cough. Don’t you dare call me an anti-vaxxer.
WATT: Gerard anyone who has any look at your page or any of your interviews knows you are an anti vaxxer
RENNICK: Don’t you dare call me an anti-vaxxer and don’t call those people who had adverse events from a vaccine anti-vaxxer. No, no you are smearing these people, you are ghosting them
WATT: You are endangering Queensland’s economy…
RENNICK: I am not.
CONNELL: What we know about the vaccine, not just from Australia, you cited the World Health Organisation is that the risks of this vaccine are vastly outweighed by the risks of COVID, people contracting it and people die.
RENNICK: It’s a relative risk. The older you are, yeah I think you should take the vaccine.
CONNELL: The vast majority of the deaths in Australia from the vaccine are over 65.
RENNICK: There are a lot of younger people who have has adverse events, have got elevated heart rates won’t come down. So there’s a serious illness.
CONNELL: TTS is the serious thing that people contract from the AstraZeneca, can get from the AstraZeneca. It’s a different thing they’re getting from Pfizer. One per 80,000. That’s one case. That’s not even necessarily a serious one. That’s rare.
RENNICK: That’s how the TGA catergorise it.
CONNELL: You either have this blood clot issue through platelets, or you don’t, it’s not a categorisation thing.
RENNICK: But regardless, if you’ve had an adverse event from the first vaccine, why on earth are we making these people get a second shot? A second series adverse event, I’m talking about paralysis, clotting, strokes…
CONNELL: Well the official advice is if you’ve had that then you talk to health experts about why and you don’t necessarily get…
RENNICK: They’re only giving exemptions for people with anaphylaxis, they’re not giving exemptions to anyone else, despite these people getting clots, having strokes. I mean this stuff is inhumane.
CONNELL: I haven’t seen any verified example of someone that got a clot, got TTS, had serious side effects and then was ordered to get another one.
RENNICK: I can show you my phone here. It’s littered with messages from people…
WATT: That’s because your Facebook page is a dragnet for…
RENNICK: Murray, I have spoken to two journalists in the last week about this adverse events, and I’ve been told that that the media organisations have told them not to talk about adverse events.
WATT: So there’s a conspiracy theory, there’s always a conspiracy theory.
RENNICK: Here you go again, ridiculing a serious issue. This deserves respect, these people who have had serious injury. Don’t ridicule them.
WATT: This is a classic example of the Morrison government’s inaction. Scott Morrison and his ministers are out there every day telling people to get vaccinated. Getting stuck into Queenslanders about not getting vaccinated, while at the same time they release their own MPs off the leash to go and spread all sorts of antivax. (inaudible) Same thing on net zero. They’ve got the Liberals in the cities out there saying…
CONNELL: Speaking of evidence Murray, there’s no evidence that senators or members of the coalition are being unleashed? (inaudible) I don’t think he’s under directive here from the Prime Minister.
WATT: Scott Morrison is not taking any responsibility for the actions of his own government members in discouraging people from getting vaccinated. (inaudible) How much is it gonna take for George Christensen to get anything more than a gentle chiding from Barnaby Joyce? How much how many more interviews?
RENNICK: We actually believe in free speech…
WATT: They are speaking with forked tongues. It is a political strategy and it is undermining the vaccination rollout.
RENNICK: This is about dealing with young people who have had their lives severely affected, have had their livelihood severely affected, and they are not being heard.
WATT: So who’s not giving them income support?
RENNICK: Well, that’s our government. And I accept that Murray.
CONNELL: As I said a I’ve pointed to the figures for you. 12.6 million of AstraZeneca and 156 cases of TTS or 1 in 80 thousand. And one death per 1.4 million jabs. It’s not zero risk. But COVID is far from zero risk. Gerard, Murray talk again soon.