Northland DHB chief executive Dr Nick Chamberlain is shocked that he is the centre of a 'nasty rumour spread by anti-vaxxers' that he had a severe heart attack following a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Dr Chamberlain is happy to dispel the rumour that even reached his daughter in Wellington, and says he is alive and kicking and has not even had his booster dose after earlier getting double vaccinated.
He said bookings don't open to those who had their second Covid 19 dose six months ago until tomorrow, November 26.
Dr Chamberlain said this is yet another example of how dangerous statements from anti-vaxxers can be, and this time it has affected his whānau directly.
"I've also heard about people from Australia calling to check I was ok," he said.
He encourages those feeling complacent or lacking confidence in the vaccine to speak with someone they trust to get reliable information.
"Don't rely on what you read on social media, please. Instead, speak to a member of your whānau or your local iwi or Māori Health Provider. Or make an appointment with your GP. They are offering free appointments to patients who have questions and concerns about the vaccine.''
Dr Chamberlain said people should trust the science and make a decision one way or another.
''However, I encourage everyone eligible to get vaccinated,'' he said.
''Yes, you can still get Covid-19 if you're vaccinated the same way you can still get pregnant if you use contraception and the same way you can die from a car accident if you use a seatbelt. That doesn't mean you're not going to use contraception or a seatbelt.
"The vaccine is not a cure. It's a layer of protection - up to 95 percent and protects you from getting severe symptoms from the virus so that you don't die. It also reduces the risk of spreading the virus so that other people you care about don't die. Unfortunately, we have seen from this latest outbreak how quickly this virus has spread within our region, and we need our population to get vaccinated before our borders open."
It's not the first time anti-vaxxers have spread misinformation about a Northlander to promote their cause.
Rumours that an unvaccinated Northland man died because he took the Pfizer jab were so fervent that his father had to address the lies in a eulogy at his son's funeral.
Whangārei's Liam Ranby had only recently turned 21 when he died from a brain aneurism and cardiac arrest on October 8 this year.
His mother, Tania Ranby, spoke to the Northern Advocate last month to preserve her son's memory as the "talented musician" and "loving soul" he was - and not the sham poster boy for vaccine-related deaths.
"People have been messaging me telling me that I'm lying, that it's my duty to tell the public the truth," she said at the time.
"I'm not vaccinated, I'm pro-choice. I've heard both sides and it upsets me, people pushing the vaccine onto others. But it makes me sick that people are using my son to push their ideas through.
"His dad, even at the funeral, mentioned how the 'keyboard warriors' could stop talking about the vaccine and Liam."
Ranby said the truth is Liam was unvaccinated.
Information on the vaccine is available at: www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccines