A former employee of New Zealand's public health agency is on trial for leaking information on coronavirus vaccinations.

barry young covid vaccines
© NewshubBarry Young hauled before a judge, December 3rd
A statistician has been arrested in New Zealand for allegedly leaking health data connected to the rollout of the coronavirus vaccination. Barry Young, a former employee of New Zealand's government health agency Te Whatu Ora, is accused of "unauthorised disclosure and misuse of data."

The 56-year-old is alleged to have uploaded the leaked information online claiming to have uncovered ties between specific coronavirus vaccine batches and high mortality rates. His claims have been debunked by data experts who say Mr Young did not properly adjust the data set to account for age.

New Zealand's Health Minister Shane Ret has branded the allegations "extremely concerning". He continued: "There are many conspiracy theorists out there who unfortunately disseminate harmful disinformation, however as a Minister and as a physician, the public can and should continue to have confidence in vaccines. I am reassured by experts confirming that there is no evidence supporting the allegations that have been made."

Comment: If there's nothing to hide, why has your former employee been arrested?

The chief executive of Whatu Ora Margie Apa acknowledged that Mr Young was a former employee of the agency but stressed he has no clinical experience or vaccine knowledge.

Mr Apa said: "We are in the response stage right now and that requires very detailed analysis of the data that was released. A thorough investigation is also underway to identify any learnings from this incident. What this individual is trying to claim about vaccines is completely wrong and ill-informed and their comments demonstrate this. The person has no clinical background or expert vaccine knowledge and appears to be trying to spread misinformation. Vaccination is safe and effective, and everyone should keep up to date with their shots to protect themselves, whanau, and their communities. We assure people there is no evidence whatsoever that vaccination is responsible for excess mortality in New Zealand."

Mr Young appeared in Wellington District Court on Monday, December 4. He faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison if found guilty.