New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern left an open-air press conference in the North Island town of Northland on Tuesday after being interrupted by at least two anti-vaccine activists.
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Ardern was explaining details about the COVID-19 vaccine deployment in Northland, the region with the lowest coronavirus immunization rate in New Zealand, when a woman began to sing loudly in Maori to annoy attendees.
During the press conference, the American Shane Chafin of Counterspin Media, a talk show linked to far-right groups based in New Zealand, asked the president to indicate the death rate of the COVID-19 vaccine and to name a woman who had died after receiving the drug, according to the Stuff news portal.
Chafin, who was not accredited for the press conference, repeatedly asked and interrupting Ardern: “Why are vaccines not working in Israel?”, Alluding to the COVID-19 cases in that country, and accused the president of “lying” to citizens.
Ardern, visibly upset and after trying to ignore Chafin’s words, apologized to the accredited media and decided to end the press conference.
New Zealand seeks to accelerate vaccination, especially among the Maori population, in view of the reopening of the New Zealand economy and in the midst of fighting an outbreak with the delta variant detected in August and that has since forced the confinement of Auckland, the most populous city of the oceanic country, which continues to be isolated from the rest of the country.
The country has administered the two doses of the Pfizer vaccine to 75.5% of the target population and accumulates about 6,723 infections since the start of the pandemic, including 28 deaths.