Pat Dodson Condemns “Rogue” Christian Groups Spreading Anti-Vax Propaganda in Remote Areas of Washington State | Indigenous Australians


Pat Dodson condemned fringe Christian groups for promoting anti-vaccination propaganda in remote parts of Western Australia, saying those who spread fear and misinformation around coronavirus vaccines are “evil “.

Senator WA called on religious leaders of all faiths to condemn “rogue groups”, saying they are people “whose religious bent in life seems to spread vaccine falsehoods” and “create fear and the hesitation”.

“I called on churches, church leaders, of all faiths, to come together and the other made a statement about it so that these kinds of rogue groups can be isolated or at least identified, and the nature of their propaganda can be identified and challenged, ”Dodson said.

“Because it’s the people’s lives that are ultimately going to be affected here, not some of these enemies of God. “

Dodson said religious groups fueled reluctance to get vaccinated in Kimberley, where vaccination rates are among the lowest in the country.

“It’s destructive, it’s as evil as the evil that they claim to defend people against and it’s wrong,” he said. “It’s hard enough for people in remote communities to understand the fundamentals of distancing, wearing masks, separations in terms of gatherings and quarantine.

“Not to mention someone who comes and says this particular virus is the work of the white man and the work of the devil. I mean, it’s so absurd. It should be offensive and people should be charged and jailed for it. “

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As of Friday, only 15% of people in Kimberley and Pilbara were fully vaccinated, Dodson said, and 25% received their first dose.

But this information is not included in the national data published by the Federal Ministry of Health. Dodson introduced a motion in the Senate on Tuesday calling on the government to release First Nations immunization rates by geographic area.

This is information that Indigenous Medical Services, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and people like the new WA Vaccine Deployment Commander Chris Dawson, who is on secondment from his role as Police Commissioner, need to provide vaccines to people. communities.

Statewide vaccination rates for Western Australia are 50.4% of people over 16 who have received their first dose and 31.5% are fully vaccinated.

Vaccination rates in remote areas of WA are among the worst in the country. Photograph: Richard Wainwright / AAP

Dodson said it was “terribly disappointing” to see anti-vaccination sentiment spread in remote communities as Indigenous medical services worked hard for decades to ensure Indigenous children’s vaccination rates were 97% , above the national target of 95%.

“It really makes me angry to see people deliberately undermining the hard work of our medical services,” he said.

“It should not be tolerated. It is not a game tool. You are not giving people wrong information when it comes to potentially their life or death.

“It should be marked in a very, very radical way. The leaders of the church should come out and condemn it. And the police should have some power – I’m all for civil liberties but I think in this case that’s just plain wrong.

The man from Yawuru said he feared the tragedy unfolding in western New South Wales could unfold in indigenous communities in Washington state if the virus entered the state, which currently has no cases.

Australia has now recorded its first Aboriginal death from Covid-19, with the death of a 50-year-old man at Dubbo Regional Hospital. Two-thirds of the more than 600 Covid cases in the Western New South Wales Local Health District are among Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, and in Wilcannia, 73 people out of a town of 720 have tested positive – the highest transmission rate in the country.

“What we are seeing in New South Wales is an absolute disgrace. It makes me very angry that we are now seeing this in prisons and in small towns like Brewarrina and Wilcannia, ”Dodson said.

“It is only a matter of time that the same kind of predicament befalls many of our communities in Western Australia. Kimberleys, Pilbara, Murchison, and even Noongar in the south, there is very little to tell me that we are well prepared to handle the crisis if it hits.

He said clinics were unable to cope with a severe outbreak in those areas and logistics were also a challenge.

“There is usually only one store. Who will look after the children if people are hospitalized or evacuated? How do supplies get in and out? What if there is more than one person, where do you isolate yourself?

“And then even if you come to a big enough city like Broome, it also has limited capacity to handle serious epidemics.”

Dodson said news of an Indigenous person who died from Covid would have a “huge impact on people.”

“I am very sad for these families or the families of this particular person who has passed away. It’s so sad, ”he said. “We knew it was going to happen. The government knew this was going to happen.

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