Covid NSW: Byron Bay locals abused and harassed by the vacationer city’s anti-vaxxers for getting jabs
The deepening Covid crisis in New South Wales has created a sharp rift in Byron Bay as anti-Vaxxers in the tourist town torture other locals for getting the vaccine.
Residents of the popular coastal town have reported being abused and losing friends after responding to calls by the state government to vaccinate themselves against the virus.
In recent years, vocal social media influencers have made the area synonymous with misinformation by spreading a cocktail of conspiracies online, from anti-science sentiments to ill-informed beliefs that the 5G network poses health threats.
Despite being in the minority, fears are growing that opposition to Covid restrictions and health measures could be a disaster for vulnerable residents who cannot receive the vaccination.
A split has developed among Byron Bay locals over residents’ attitudes to receiving the Covid vaccine. Pictured: Two women set off from Byron on August 9 – hours before the city was closed
Benny Zable, 75, who has lived in Nimbin since 1973, was the first man in his city to roll up his sleeve for the Covid vaccination.
But when he shared the news online, he lost friends overnight who “think the pandemic is some kind of conspiracy”.
“When I posted the picture on social media, I got a lot of criticism, all kinds of people reacted to me like I was a traitor. They said I was one of “them” whoever “they” are. They are no longer my friends. I don’t want to have anything to do with people abuse me because of my right to be vaccinated, ”he told the Daily Telegraph.
Nicqui Yadzi founded the Mullumbimby Flattening The Curve group on Facebook at the beginning of the pandemic to offer evidence-based science about Covid.
She said there is a huge demand for real information due to an override of conspiracy theories circulating online.
“There is so much misinformation here, there is this noisy minority group that is very vocal, the anti-Vaxxers, the conspirators who mix it all up, 5G, microchips in Covid vaccines and chemtrails and lizard people. I mean, it’s like a mental illness here, ”she said.
Benny Zable (pictured) said he lost friends after sharing this photo of himself vaccinated
Ms. Yadzi said the conspiracy theorists are following the advice of medically untrained bloggers and YouTubers, accusing scientific advocates of being “sheep.”
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been molested on the street for wearing a mask or for having an opinion that is not yours. It’s not peace, love and lenses. ‘
The worrying falsehoods come after Byron Bay was thrown into a seven-day lockdown on Monday after a Covid-infected man from Sydney allegedly traveled to the region in violation of regulations.
With new restrictions on businesses in the area, some venues have pushed back by putting “No Masks, We Don’t Ask” signs on store fronts.
Others have banned vaccinated guests on unsubstantiated claims that they “repelled virus particles.”
Earlier this week, an anti-vaccine activist proudly bragged online that they only buy from places that don’t force buyers to wear masks.
“In every place that didn’t ask for a mask, we bought something, even when we really didn’t need it,” he wrote.
Kirra Pendergast from Mullumbimby, who teaches courses on discriminating authentic information on the internet, said there are many social media influencers in the area influencing a lot of people.
While the majority of her community follows the rules, Ms. Pendergrast said that anti-Vaxxers are very active on social media and give the area a bad shell.
The social media educator said she was afraid of the spread of misinformation and rule violations that will affect those in need of protection who are unable to protect themselves from the virus.
Kirra Pendergast (pictured) said she feared vulnerable people will bear the brunt of conspiracy theorists who fail to follow health instructions
It comes as the whole of NSW entered a seven-day lockdown early Saturday night after the highly contagious delta outbreak penetrated regional areas from Sydney.
As part of the measure, everyone is required to stay home unless they have a reasonable reason to leave. They also cannot have visitors to their home from outside their household, including family and friends.
The state reported 415 new locally acquired Covid cases and four more deaths on Sunday as the contagion shows no signs of slowing.
Greater Sydney residents entering their eighth week of lockdown are only allowed to visit regional NSW for essential activities and are not allowed to freely enter any other Australian state or territory.
Hunter, Byron Bay, Tamworth, Armidale, Dubbo, and Northwest NSW residents are also prohibited from visiting other parts of regional NSW unless clearly necessary.
Both federal and state governments have touted high vaccinations as the key to ending the lockdown.
Gladys Berejiklian previously stated that her goal is to reach six million vaccinations by the end of the month, with more than five million vaccines administered in NSW to date.
“Somebody Posted on Insta”: The Australian “influencer” pubic hall responsible for spreading Covid conspiracy theories and anti-Vaxxer nonsense on social media – and WHY their claims are so dangerous
BY MONIQUE FRIEDLANDER FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA
If the Covid-19 pandemic taught us anything about social media, it is that a “blue tick” on Instagram doesn’t award anyone a medical degree.
While many Australian influencers have done the right thing by following official health bans, testing their followers and even encouraging them to get vaccinated, a select few have used their platforms to spread idiotic conspiracy theories.
While none of them are doctors, scientists, or epidemiologists, these influencers use their online popularity to legitimize Whacko theories that are not only factually bankrupt, but potentially dangerous.
Dr. Karen Price, president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, told Daily Mail Australia that there is a lot of information about getting down the rabbit hole on social media “just wrong”.
“What many of these influencers who promote ridiculous conspiracy theories fail to realize is that while everyone has a right to their own opinion, they have no right to their own facts,” said Dr. Price.
“So when it comes to social media platforms, keep in mind that some influencers go out of their way to get noticed, but they don’t have a medical qualification.”
Dr. Urging those using social media to take the advice of doctors, not influencers, Price added, “We care about your wellbeing and we know what we’re talking about.”
Sally Mustang (pictured) has spoken out loudly against bans and has taken part in anti-Vax rallies
Byron Bay influencer Sally Mustang lost thousands of followers last month after uploading an Instagram article criticizing the recent spate of Covid bans.
Supporting the recent anti-lockdown rallies, Sally wrote in a bizarre way that science was just a “theory” and encouraged fans to disregard lockdown restrictions put in place for our safety.
“Our freedom is not a joke. To those of you who pass it on blindly, please stop, ”she wrote. Educate yourself, come home to your intuition. Form your own beliefs and options and don’t hesitate, ”she wrote.
“Be willing to admit that you may have been wrong or made mistakes. Be friendly. Do not judge one another. Remember that science is a THEORY, just like magic. ‘
Sally, who has participated in protests against Vaxxer in the past, also encouraged her followers to “tweak” their immune systems with herbs, breathing exercises, and organic foods.
Home And Away star Isabel Lucas’ acting career has been tarnished over the years by her belief in conspiracy theories and anti-Vaxxer views.
She has recently come under fire for supporting the recent anti-lockdown protests and posting a number of photos from the Sydney rallies next to the headline “Freedom from Fear” on her Instagram stories.
The crowd was referred to as a “peaceful protest” in other posts, although footage from the event shows raging protesters screaming and police falling.
Last year, Isabel made headlines when she shared dangerous views about vaccination on Instagram while commenting on a post by conspiracy theorist Pete Evans.
Home and away star Isabel Lucas (pictured) has made headlines in recent years for her controversial beliefs
Throwing her support behind the disgraced former MKR judge, she wrote: “Freedom of choice is everyone’s right. I don’t trust the vaccination route. ‘
Isabel later shared her remarks on Instagram, saying she had “concerns about the” mandatory “vaccination, not the vaccination itself.”
The outspoken soap star is also known for sharing bizarre posts on the so-called “dangers” of 5G after recently encouraging fans to join in an anti-5G protest in Byron Bay last month.
Isabel, who has a whole sub-category for theories on her Instagram account, also wrote to Instagram in April last year: “Just two weeks ago, the second top trend question on Google was ‘Is 5G safe?'”
“And now Google has announced that it will censor discussions about the health effects of 5G. Apparently, however, violent pornography has not been censored for our “protection”. Wouldn’t it be wise to ask why? ‘
Isabel made it clear that she “would never claim that COVID-19 is related to 5G” but wanted to “encourage coherent, clear and calm communication that welcomes healthy questioning”.
In September, Isabel controversially announced that she had opted out of receiving a COVID-19 test while filming Bosch & Rockit in Byron Bay.
“I gave my due diligence to respect everyone’s health and maintain my own health, and I shared that and decided against the COVID test,” she told alternative health podcast Alfa Vedic.
“My immune system has just gotten so strong from the way I live, eat, and think,” she said.