Amber (47), Customer Service Representative. Canterbury, NZ.

Our family of 5 have all suffered consequences for our “choice” not to be vaccinated. Our stance was made very public when we had to shut our business down due to our choices. Small town mentality meant it affected each of our 3 kids hugely, and that is why we now don't live in that same small town.

My story: I have a family history of blood clotting in my family. My grandmother had died due to a blood clot to the heart and was revived. There were a lot of things that just didn't make sense and the more I couldn't question, the more concerned I became. My Mother and Father also didn't get the jab, are both in their 70's, have had Covid and recovered fine, even though they were both considered in the bracket of high risk.

One of the hardest things personally has been losing many of (what I thought) were good friends. Some family also didn't support our decision. They don't want to talk about anything Covid related with us. It seems they don't even want to be associated with us. This has been the hardest 3yrs of our lives, and we have had little support from the people who were closest. Even something as simple as listening to our concerns and views was suddenly too hard. I don't think I have ever felt so judged and misunderstood in all my life.

My husband: Was torn between doing what he thought he needed to do in order to keep our business and provide for the family and what his instincts were telling him. He was also an Army Reserve and that has been one of the most bizarre processes in all of this to suddenly not be allowed on camp bases. He had served 22yrs in the RF and 6yrs in the Reserves and he was now “ineffectual” and not allowed on base. We have asked many questions, none of which have been answered. The Army was something he was looking at returning to but that is no longer an option, still in 2024. There has been no empathy shown by fellow soldiers (some of whom are friends of over 20yrs!) This will also no longer be a career option for any of our children, which once upon a time was quite a possible option, having had a Grandfather, Uncle and Mum and Dad all having spent time in the military.

Our son (aged 14yrs at the time) fought us hard on vaccinations as he just wanted to fit in and play his sport. He could have just gone and got it and I'm thankful to his boarding school house master that supported him through a very difficult time. The abuse he received from fellow students and teachers was unacceptable, except is was accepted and nearly encouraged. One example he will never forget is being yelled at across the gym: “Get out, you're unvaccinated” or the time his teacher asked him to ask the boy's permission to sit beside him, when he was in fact in the hostel and slept in the same dorm as him. The final straw was on a school camp at the end of 2022 when the head boy and rector made comments on his unvaccinated status, to the point where he no longer wanted to attend the school. We had him enrolled in a new school, in a new town at the beginning of his Year 11.

Our daughter (aged 13yrs at the time) was so excited to start her high school years and signed up to many new sports, only to have her world pulled out from underneath her. They didn't talk about needing a passport for the sports until after she signed up to do them and left it to me to have to tell her. And when they had the ‘meet the teachers' night, her parents weren't allowed to go as they didn't have passports. She lasted 6weeks before we felt we had to pull her out of school for her mental health. She has only just returned to school at the start of this year to Yr 11 and I see how much she has missed socially and academically. They are years she will never get back.

Our youngest daughter (aged 11yrs at the time) was least affected due to being under 12 yrs. It seemed a little easier on her, not so much peer pressure either. She could still participate in all sport, for that, I'm thankful.

The emotional stress of the last 3-4yrs is something I never want to endure again.

How can you mandate children when they were never in the at risk age group of dying of Covid and the vaccination didn't stop transmission? How can you allow our children to get the Covid-19 vaccination without parental consent…but yet we still give schools permission for Panadol? Not to mention the lack of informed consent.

How could any healthy person possibly need a vaccine, that was still in trial until 2023, doesn't confer immunity, doesn't prevent transmission and has zero long term safety data, for a disease with a 99.9% recovery rate?

Why were there no other early prevention measures advised/supported. And why were alternative medications (Ivermectin) not allowed, even taken off the shelves!? If this was really about health, then why were doctors silenced and still being silenced? Why are the vaccine injured left to fight for help and acknowledgement? The time has come to face the reality and start the healing, and never let it happen again.

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