Scenic Rim councillor explains why he is not vaccinated against COVID-19

HARD NO: Councillor Jeff McConnell is unapologetic about his vaccination status.Photo: Larraine Sathicq

HARD NO: Councillor Jeff McConnell is unapologetic about his vaccination status.Photo: Larraine Sathicq

Scenic Rim councillor Jeff McConnell says he will not have the COVID-19 vaccine, arguing the international vaccination campaign is against human rights.

It means Cr McConnell might have to attend council meetings by Skype and is at risk of being banned from council premises as has occurred with some interstate councils.

It comes as medical experts, business and political leaders warn that as borders reopen, unvaccinated people could also be at risk of losing the freedom to fly, cruise and visit businesses like clubs and cafes who decide to serve only those who have been vaccinated.

Cr Jeff McConnell - the only councillor who has not been jabbed - said he would stand by his decision, insisting the government's campaign contravened the Queensland Human Rights Act which states that no one should be subjected to medical or scientific experimentation or treatment without the person's full, free and informed consent.

"I realise that this is a controversial topic but I have decided to express my stance on this," Cr McConnell said.

"Is COVID real? Yes it is. Is it as dangerous as the government and media are making it out to be, for those over 60 or with underlying health conditions? Yes it is.

"For those who are younger and are in good health, the statistics indicate that there is an extremely low risk of death."

Beaudesert GP Dr Michael Rice said younger people were less likely to die but could become extremely ill over a long period.

"Some get very sick with what we are calling long COVID," he said. "Most importantly, they could spread the disease to others.

"...It works best if the whole community makes the same effort. Everyone who is community spirited should get vaccinated."

Cr McConnell said our lives were full of risks, like driving, but governments did not have the power to mandate the vaccine.

"I have not had the vaccine and I do not intend to at this time...

"I am at this stage happy to take some extra vitamins and minerals that have shown to assist with combating COVID."

Cr McConnell said he was not anti-vaxx but rather "vax hesitant".

"It is a new type of vaccine that does not have long term data," he said.

"...When there is a push for only one type of treatment and all other treatments are blacked out or ridiculed in the media, then I am suspicious"

Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said he was respectful of Cr McConnell's right to choose.

"However, everyone needs to be aware that without high vaccination rates ... the data and fact-based evidence shows we will be at increased risk collectively as a community of further outbreaks as borders open."

Cr Christensen said areas with lower vaccination rates would also face the possibility of more lockdowns as COVID arrived.

Cr Christensen said while there was the possibility of allowing unvaccinated councillors to join council meetings remotely, no decision had yet been made on the issue.

"I am aware that some councils, particularly interstate, have required full vaccination status to enter council facilities or to satisfy stringent testing protocols," he said.

"...There is a very real reason why both the Premier and Chief Health Officer are raising concerns in this regard. They have, like we all have witnessed, the evidence from other places."

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