Thames-Coromandel mayor refuses to get Pfizer vaccine

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The Thames-Coromandel mayor is refusing to get the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, and has called vaccine mandates "abhorrent".

The company’s CEO says it’ll submit an application for approval in Europe.

By Sam Olley for rnz.co.nz

Sandra Goudie is waiting to have the Novavax jab instead.

The Government has made a pre-purchase agreement for 10.72 million doses of Novovax but MedSafe is yet to approve it in Aotearoa.

Speaking to RNZ, Goudie did not want to explain her opposition to the Pfizer injections.

"I could have elected as an individual to keep silent but when I was asked the question I answered honestly and I am not going to discuss it or debate it with anyone."

Thames-Coromandel falls within the Waikato DHB but is not currently in lockdown like other parts of the region.

Overall in Waikato, 79 per cent of the eligible population has had one Pfizer dose, and 56 per cent has had two.

Goudie strongly disagreed with the Government's vaccine mandates for health workers and teachers.

When asked what she would do if inoculation became compulsory for local Government staff and elected representatives she said: "It's a personal choice.

"And I think it's absolutely abhorrent that people should lose their jobs through their personal choice not to be vaccinated."

In August, Goudie told Checkpoint she would not normally scan in when visiting locations. At the time, she said the Covid-19 community case would "probably not" push her to scan any more either.

Local Government New Zealand president Stuart Crosby supports vaccine mandates for council workers.

"We are frontline to the community in many areas of our work, be it in our public spaces, swimming pools, libraries, front desks of councils ... so it is important that we play our role."

He is still awaiting clarity from the Government about whether mandates will happen.

"We do have a responsibility for health and safety when it comes to our staff and our contractors and everyone involved in local Government, so as we know it's a point still being worked through."

Crosby said mayors needed to get behind the rollout.

"In a leadership position, it's really important that mayors and leaders in other positions in the community have a positive response to this critical issue facing New Zealand."

Goudie's resistance to the rollout comes amid concerns about a small minority of doctors publicly opposing the vaccine.

Some have posted videos online pushing their anti-vaccination views, including a Northland GP Dr Damian Wojcik, and a psychiatrist employed by the Hutt Valley DHB, Dr Emanuel Garcia.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins was asked yesterday about the influence of these practitioners.

He said: "I think those people are being irresponsible, yes they are undermining what is a really really important public health objective for New Zealand which is to keep people safe from Covid-19."

Hipkins reiterated this week vaccination remained "our strongest tool" in the pandemic response.