Anti-vaccination ads authorised by Clive Palmer, which claimed to link COVID-19 vaccination to 210 deaths, have been pulled from the airwaves
The Therapeutic Goods Administration says it is “seriously concerned” about misleading information, authorised by businessman and leader of Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, Clive Palmer.
This information, which was recently broadcast on radio stations in the Grant Broadcasters Radio network, includes an incorrect picture of the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, the TGA says.
According to Radio Today, the audio involved contains the claim, “Australia has had one COVID-19 associated death in 2021. But the TGA reports that there’s been 210 deaths and over 24,000 adverse reactions after COVID vaccinations. Authorised by Clive Palmer, Brisbane.”
On 5 June, Grant Broadcasters said on its website that it had been provided information “to confirm the facts referenced in these commercials” which were running on Queensland stations.
This claim is listed as, “To 23 May 2021, 3.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given in Australia. In this period, the TGA has received 210 reports of deaths following immunisation – 109 have been reported for the Pfizer vaccine, 94 for the AstraZeneca vaccine and seven where the vaccine was not specified. Most of these reports (93%) were for people 65 years of age and over, and over three quarters were 75 years of age and over. Many of the deaths relate to elderly aged-care residents. Source – TGA COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 27-05-2021.”
Grant Broadcasters has now confirmed that the ads are no longer running across its network.
“Currently in Australia there are not any regulations that restrict the contents of a political advertisement. We also have a responsibility to allow lawful public debate about matters of public importance.”
“The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has acknowledged the concerns we raised regarding this messaging and we are grateful to the TGA for stepping up to provide a clear statement of the Federal Government’s position on this type of political advertising,” it told Radio Today in a statement.
The TGA said that it investigates reported adverse events and has found only one case where an individual with vaccine related thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) or any other related condition has passed away.
“Sadly, about 160,000 people die in Australia every year—almost 3000 each week—and therefore it is quite expected that there have been some deaths reported within days or a few weeks of vaccination,” it said.
“All deaths and serious illnesses that are reported as possibly being linked to vaccination are reviewed by an expert team of clinical staff and advice is obtained on particular cases from a panel of external medical specialists and community representatives.
“Analysis includes comparing expected natural death rates to observed death rates following immunisation as well as in depth reviews of the patient histories.”
The TGA says that it is open and transparent about adverse events reported, by publishing the weekly report and through the Database of Adverse Event Notifications (DAEN), which makes individual adverse events publicly available online 90 days after reporting.
“Such misinformation, in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, poses an unacceptable threat to the health of Australians,” it said.
“COVID-19 has resulted in the deaths of over 3.7 million people worldwide including over 900 deaths in Australia.
“Health professionals and consumers can report suspected adverse events following immunisation directly to the TGA, or to public health units in their state or territory. In some states, it is mandatory for health professionals to report adverse events.
“The TGA encourages health professionals to report even if they are not sure that the vaccine caused an adverse event.
“Vaccination is the most effective way to protect against infectious diseases such as COVID-19. When you get vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and helping to protect the wider community.
“Public figures have a responsibility to be factual and to not to undermine our health through spreading misleading information.
“The head of the TGA, Adjunct Professor John Skerritt has written to both Mr Palmer and the CEO of the Grant Broadcasters Radio network to remind them of this responsibility.”
Adj. Professor John Skerritt also spoke to 2SM’s John Laws, saying that the claim of 210 deaths “is simply absolutely not true”.
He confirmed the TGA’s belief that there had been one death linked to vaccination, that of a 48-year-old woman with an underlying condition.
“So, very rarely, and this is the case with any medicine, in fact, even Panadol, paracetamol over – every year, there’s a couple of dozen deaths that are associated with what is Australia’s most common medicine,” he told the veteran broadcaster.
“So, everything we do in life, including taking medicines and vaccines, has some risk. There is no medicine or vaccine that is absolutely free of risk. And what we’re looking at here are the risks versus the benefits.
“And I only have to remind people with the current outbreak in Victoria, we have three people in aged care who have tested positive for coronavirus.
“But guess what? They’re all doing very well because each of them has been vaccinated. Now, had they not had the vaccine, there could be quite a different outcome.”