A COURT transcript appearing to show an Australian vaccine expert admitting COVID-19 vaccines don’t work has gone viral on social media in recent weeks.

Sensational stuff, or at least it would be if it had actually happened.

Conspiracy theorists come in many shapes and sizes, but if there’s one generalisation you can make about them, it’s that a solid grasp of spelling is not their forte.

Among its many other errors, the faked transcript claiming to be from the Supreme Court of New South Wales gives itself away by misspelling the name of the expert in question, Professor Kristine Macartney, director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS).

The introduction to the widely circulated document describes Kristine “McCartney” as “a big key player in this whole story” and “the player behind the scenes that insisted we lock down our state and mandate vaccines as the only solution”.

The fake transcript appears to show Professor Macartney agreeing that vaccinated people are 13 times more likely to catch and spread SARS-CoV-2 than the unvaccinated, that the vaccines are dangerous for pregnant women and those planning to get pregnant, and that their effectiveness and safety have not been fully studied.

The NCIRS has issued a declaration refuting the alleged statements and the document has also been comprehensively debunked.

Professor Macartney was appearing as a witness for the state in a case brought against the NSW Health Minister by a number of private individuals. For the record, she testified to the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.

Sadly, no amount of fact-checking is likely to influence individuals determined to believe in widespread conspiracies associated with COVID-19.

The fake transcript seems to have first appeared on an Australian antivaccination Facebook group before making its way onto multiple platforms around the world, where it is no doubt reinforcing views that governments and health experts are lying about the pandemic and the health measures designed to mitigate it.

There’s an eager appetite for such stuff, but I find myself wondering about the person or people who created the document.

Cherry-picking evidence is pretty standard behaviour for antivaccine activists, and they’re not alone in that.

When you truly believe something, it’s easy to see only those narratives that support your beliefs, ignoring anything that might pose a challenge. If we’re not vigilant, confirmation bias can affect any of us.

Deliberately faking a court transcript, though, takes things to a new level. Surely, these people had to know they were lying?

But maybe that doesn’t matter if somebody believes strongly enough in their ultimate aim. You don’t have to look far to find examples of people behaving unconscionably in pursuit of what they might see as a greater moral good.

Just think of those religious leaders who turned a blind eye to paedophiles in their ranks, putting the interests of the church ahead of vulnerable children.

Or disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield who has embraced the COVID-19 moment to ramp up his antivaccine activities, despite the exposure of his earlier fraudulent research into supposed side effects of the MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine.

So, maybe these forgers believed they were serving a deeper truth by adjusting the facts to fit their narrative. It might not be what Professor Macartney said but it is, in their view, what she should have said.

Although the author of the fake transcript was optimistic about the outcome of those proceedings, believing the judge was likely to overturn vaccine mandates in the “final hearting” [sic], it was not to be.

Judge Beech-Jones comprehensively rejected all of the plaintiffs’ claims, making it clear he was not all that impressed by some of their scientific witnesses.

“Although [the witness] has qualifications in microbiology, he is currently teaching biochemistry and his real claim to expertise is that he has read many articles in the last year about COVID-19 vaccines,” the judge said of one.

Of another, he noted she had not engaged in relevant research for some 20 years and had instead been working as a secondary school educator.

The qualifications of both witnesses were “vastly inferior” to those of Professor Macartney, the judgement said.

Everybody, it seems, believes Professor Macartney is worth quoting. Now, if only those quotes could reflect what she actually said …

Jane McCredie is a Sydney-based health and science writer.



The statements or opinions expressed in this article reflect the views of the authors and do not represent the official policy of the AMA, the MJA or InSight+ unless so stated.


Health care workers who refuse COVID vaccination should be stood down from frontline work
  • Strongly agree (61%, 296 Votes)
  • Strongly disagree (21%, 102 Votes)
  • Agree (11%, 54 Votes)
  • Disagree (5%, 25 Votes)
  • Neutral (1%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 483

Loading ... Loading ...

7 thoughts on “Antivaccine activists stoop low in bid to discredit experts

  1. Peter McLaren says:

    It doesn’t help that we don’t have a National Centre for Disease Control that exists in most developed nations. This would enable healthcare experts in all states to be reading from the same songbook and give greater consistency to our message. These inconsistencies are leapt upon by the conspiracy brigade. Secondly, as a repository of knowledge, a CDC might help when the next pandemic arises.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Or maybe these sort of actions are taken by enemies of Aus, acting maliciously to damage the ability of the government to govern… see an episode of Question Everything on the ABC which goes into this

  3. Max says:

    As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

    Having failed for years to contest the postmodern notion that there is no such thing as objective truth – even to the denial of testable reality in some branches of medicine – it is hard now to complain when Your Truth and My Truth don’t align.

    Language is power and it can indeed be mis-used to craft deliberate falsehoods, to set my belief against yours, or even sometimes to twist emphases to coerce, or to create The Other and to sway public opinion against them.


    Chief health officers should have come on a different slot to politicians when giving instructions and information on the news channel- , There is an inherent distrust of politicians by general public so when the medical authorities align themselves with them instead of looking like an independent authority ,the distrust is transferred to the medical team with its assocation itself . There were too many conflicting news for the public to observe in the beginning . The public was not given the information as medical strategies and more like doing what the politicians wanted . Public perception was tainted regarding the vaccine safety from the beginning so the antivaxers got a head start and so
    we as medical professionals are also resposible in some ways for this poor outcome with vaccination.

  5. Brendan Vote says:

    That is exactly the problem – that societies have normalised bullying especially organisational bullying.
    That something is normalised does not make it right.

  6. ROGER BURGESS says:

    Jane McCredie has blown the whistle on these people. Mandatory immunisation is the norm in many countries.

  7. Brendan Vote says:

    I would encourage you to stop and reflect on your own comments about confirmation bias. The narrative ‘for’ vaccination is also riddled with this type of bias and the ‘science’ on which mandates are now based subject to more than 30 biases that largely distill down to opinion based medicine rather than evidence based.
    I agree completely that you don’t have to look very far to see people behaving unconscionably in pursuit of what they see as greater moral good – it is called vaccine mandatalism and ‘passport’ societal segregation.
    When you coerce, compel or intimidate that is bullying and bullying in our society is not ok. I would encourage that we all take time to listen to the concerns being raised by many so that we can better meet their needs, not just our own need for certainty. Non-violent communication (Marshall Rosenberg) highlights that it is not peoples needs that are in conflict only the strategies we use to meet them.
    Say yes to vaccine access (decisions by informed consent); say no to mandates (bullying is not ok).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *