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‘Darwin Awards, maybe?’ Australian vaccine-hesitant senator mocked for defending ‘choice to get Covid and die from it’

‘Darwin Awards, maybe?’ Australian vaccine-hesitant senator mocked for defending ‘choice to get Covid and die from it’
Australia’s Senator Pauline Hanson has been slammed by health professionals and mocked online for arguing that people must have an option to reject Covid-19 vaccination, even if they die from the virus.

The leader of the right-wing One Nation party, Hanson argued Monday on Sky News that businesses and the government should not “coerce or bully” people into getting vaccinated and claimed that Covid-19 vaccines have not been properly tested.

“Give people the opportunity, have the vaccines… and if people, like myself, who hasn’t had the vaccine, then I get Covid-19 and I die from it, that’s my choice,” Hanson said.

“I won't be bullied or threatened into having a vaccine,” she added.

The interviewer attempted to correct Hanson, saying that existing vaccines have passed the necessary trials and pose a much lower risk to health compared to getting infected with the virus, but the politician kept insisting she was right.

Australia’s former deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth told NCA NewsWire that the Covid-19 vaccine was “probably the most thoroughly tested vaccine of all time.” He said that Hanson, as a public figure, must direct people to credible sources.

“That’s the responsibility of politicians. Sure, raise the question, but also be open to the answer when it’s provided,” Coatsworth said.

Hanson’s comments were widely criticized and mocked online. “A candidate for the Darwin Awards maybe?” a person tweeted, referring to a joke honor given to a person dying a nonsensical or bizarre death. Another suggested that the senator deserved a Darwin Award for willingly “sacrificing” her life. 

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Some commenters struck a more serious tone, saying that by spreading anti-vaccination messages Hanson endangers the lives of others. “A dangerous fool,” one person wrote online.

Hanson is known for making controversial statements regarding the ongoing immunization program. Last month, producers at a popular Sydney radio show chose to ‘bleep’ out some of her anti-vaccination remarks during an interview that was broadcast with a 30-second delay.

Vaccination will be mandatory for all residential aged-care workers in Australia from September 17. However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday that the government has no plans for a wider vaccine mandate.

“We know there is an in-built incentive in a vaccine,” the PM said. “You’re less likely to get [the virus], you’re less likely to get seriously ill and less likely to give it to a friend.”

So far, 22.5% of Australians aged over 16 have been fully vaccinated and 44.2% have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the government. 

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