Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Experts criticise Destiny Church leader Brian Tamakis vaccine claims

Top vaccine experts have slammed Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki’s latest bid to disrupt the Government’s vaccination plans.

University of Auckland infectious diseases associate professor Mark Thomas warned that the people dying of Covid globally were “essentially the people who have not been vaccinated”.

Thomas accused Tamaki of what he considers preying on people who were “potentially easily doomed”.

“I think it’s a terrible stain on his reputation and on his soul.”

In a video, posted today on Facebook, Tamaki makes unsubstantiated claims about the vaccine’s safety, and attempts to undermine the Government’s efforts to encourage people to attend tomorrow’s mass day of vaccinations, which he labels “Sad Saturday”.

He also claims “Covid is yet to be proved”.

Thomas said Tamaki should set a better example and not be what he considers to be a “bearer of false witness”.

“In my view he’s an empty vessel who makes a lot of noise,” Thomas said.

Otago University Associate Professor James Ussher said he was concerned as a Christian after Tamaki posted the new video.

Ussher said he was worried about the threat Covid posed to New Zealand.

“The best response to protect ourselves and to show our love to others is to get vaccinated. There is extensive research that shows the vaccine is effective and safe.”

Ussher – who is also a clinical microbiologist and immunologist – said he was fully supportive of the vaccine and would encourage other Christians to take it and to encourage others to take it.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said he believes Tamaki’s comments were “reckless and foolhardy”.

“In my view Brian Tamaki is failing in his duty of leadership by telling his supporters that they don’t need to be vaccinated, when overwhelmingly the evidence is that vaccination greatly reduces the chances of catching the virus and of being hospitalised by serious illness or dying as a result.

“It’s also reckless and foolhardy when Covid is in the community to have people gathering in large numbers without the protection of vaccination, without masks and without social distancing.”

Members of the public were left outraged by Tamaki’s post, which said he believed Super Saturday was “morally wrong” and “horribly coercive”.

“I hear that there is a Super Saturday coming up this weekend. This weekend is a significant Saturday especially for many of us who believe that we are living in a world that gives us democracy,” Tamaki said.

Members of the public contacted the Herald saying they believed Tamaki’s behaviour was disgusting and it made them sick.

Earlier this week Tamaki, 63, and a fellow Destiny Church member appeared in Auckland District Court charged with illegally attended and helping organise a crowded anti-lockdown protest at Auckland Domain earlier this month. Both men pleaded not guilty.

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