Senator blasted over vaccine death claims

John Skerritt says public hospitals are compelled to report any adverse event linked to vaccines.
John Skerritt says public hospitals are compelled to report any adverse event linked to vaccines.

Australia's medicines regulator has blasted a One Nation senator for "dangerous and incorrect" suggestions about deaths linked to coronavirus vaccines.

Therapeutic Goods Administration boss John Skerritt on Wednesday confirmed nine deaths had been linked to vaccines in Australia during the rollout.

More than 34.6 million doses have been administered nationwide.

Professor Skerritt told One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts he was factually wrong to claim more than 500 people died from COVID vaccines.

"It is quite incorrect and in fact quite dangerous to assert that over 500 people have died as a result of COVID vaccination," he said during a Senate estimates hearing.

Senator Roberts also suggested doctors were under pressure not to report adverse reactions to vaccinations.

"That's rubbish, senator," Prof Skerritt said.

"I've not heard of any cases of doctors being pressured not to report."

The TGA boss said public hospitals were compelled to report any adverse event potentially related to vaccines.

Fair Work Commission deputy president Lyndall Dean came under fire in a separate estimates hearing for agreeing with a social media post comparing the western world's pandemic response to totalitarianism and the Holocaust.

Industrial Relations Minister Michaelia Cash said she disagreed with the comments and would seek advice from the commission's president.

The post came from Melbourne-based "spiritual journey woman" Tania de Jong.

She shared an image showing two Jewish people wearing stars on their coats with hashtags including "Holocaust", "mandates" and "totalitarianism".

"The western world has faced many seasonal respiratory pandemics before, but we have never responded by adopting all the trappings of totalitarianism fuelled by irrationality and fear," the post said.

"We have imported Chinese style totalitarian social control mechanisms based upon very selective science, and many strategists assert they are delighting in the quick unravelling of our democratic values."

Ms Dean commented on the post using her professional LinkedIn account, writing: "I fully agree Tania".

Fair Work Commission acting general manager Murray Furlong confirmed he had seen a copy of the post tabled during the hearing.

The commission's code of conduct tells members not to identify themselves on social media as members of the commission.

It also stipulates members should avoid getting involved with or "liking" social media about controversies that might come before the commission.

Last month, Ms Dean warned of a "medical apartheid" over vaccine mandates in a dissenting judgment defending a sacked aged care worker.

She has since disqualified herself on the grounds of bias from adjudicating disputes relating to vaccines and must undergo training.

The commission president also wrote to Ms Dean about the issue and sent a copy of the correspondence to the relevant minister.

Australian Associated Press