- Ministry of Health worker Barry Young arrested for leaking NZ COVID vaccination data related to 4 million doses.
- The data is said to suggest doubled death rates in over 60s and no excess mortality in under 60 population, but all this needs bi-partisan study.
- Doubts have been raised about the OIA process, due to the denial that this sort of data was available.
The arrest of a Ministry of Health IT worker, Barry Young, accused of leaking a massive amount of NZ COVID vaccination data, may have opened a Pandora’s Box of ongoing debate with conflicting claims and the need for further examination.
The 56-year-old was bailed in the Wellington District Court on charges of “unauthorised disclosure and misuse of data”, after depersonalised information on around 4 million of the nearly 13 million vaccine doses in NZ was leaked to a US website.
Why the fuss?
Analysing the Health data, Young believed he could link days with more total deaths in the community to peaks in the COVID-19 vaccination drive, fuelling our overall death rate into “excess mortality” – or deaths above the rolling five year average.
He said he could link certain batches of vaccines to higher mortality rates suggesting that some batches were much deadlier than others. But the age of those being vaccinated was glaringly ignored. Both of these arguments are controversial and need bi-partisan study.
Notably, a US site, run by notorious COVID vax critic Steve Kirsch, suggests the leaked data shows there is absolutely no evidence of excess mortality in the under 60 population. But the death rates in the over 60s doubled after vaccination, says Kirsch.
This leaked information is said to be unique data, on a worldwide basis, and could be vital in getting to the bottom of COVID vax controversy.
Looking at the numbers
Young claims the vaccine was causing one extra death per 1,000 doses given. Nearly 13 million doses were injected, so a back of the envelope calculation results in a claim that the NZ COVID vax rollout caused more than 12,000 excess deaths.
Is there anything like this number of excess deaths?
As with nearly everything in the COVID debate, the number of excess deaths, and the potential reasons for it, is also the subject of controversy. For instance, over what period of time should deaths be observed? And should any year where the deaths are less than expected be offset against a year where they are higher? We’ll do a follow up to look at this.
Is this leak a problem for the old government or the new one?
In November this year, Te Whatu Ora denied an OIA request for information on deaths after vaccination on the basis that too much work would be required to compile the data. The massive data leak less than two weeks later involving some 4 million vaccination records suggests the Ministry of Health does in fact hold the information.
Who knew what, and when, particularly in light of the OIA refusal, are obvious questions.
It may not be the smoking gun that some COVID vax critics want it to be, but it lends support to those who call for a very deep examination of our COVID response.
Some may wish for more certainty from a story like this, but it is one of those topics, with experts and politics on each side, where it is too early to be certain.