Suggestions on social media that Western Australia has slyly admitted to harming its citizens by classifying COVID-19 vaccines as “poison” reveals a misunderstanding of legal language. The definition of “poison” in legislation differs from its day-to-day meaning.
One video, viewed 25,000 times, features a narrator reading through the legislative instrument that gives Western Australia the legal authority to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines (here). This instrument is called: “Authorisation to Supply or Administer a Poison [SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) VACCINE – Australian Defence Force] (No.2) 2021” (here).
“Why are they called the so-called vaccine a poison?” the narrator asks. “That’s how far this tyranny goes; they can actually give you poison […] So even if they kill somebody they can go, ‘Well, I told you it was a poison.’ What the heck is wrong with people? Medical tyranny. It’s disgusting.”
The narrator also links the word “poison” to its definition as found in his Google search: “A substance that is capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism when introduced or absorbed” (bit.ly/3xHPMZO).
While the video’s narrator was correct in reading the ordinary meaning of “poison”, he appears to misunderstand that its definition in Australian legalese is different.
“Poison is a generic term that includes what the general public understands to be a poison, but extends to over-the-counter medicines and prescription medicines,” Dr. Marco Rizzi, a specialist in medical law at the University of Western Australia, previously told Reuters (here).
It is therefore a catch-all term for substances that interact with physiological functions of the body (here) – from over-the-counter medications like paracetamol (schedule two) to banned substances like heroin (schedule nine).
COVID-19 vaccines are schedule four poisons (here), meaning they are prescription-only medicines that should be administered only by trained professionals; you cannot buy a vaccine at a local shop and inject yourself.
Rizzi added: “Defining the COVID-19 vaccine as a ‘poison’ does not mean the Australian governments consider it ‘dangerous’; at least no more dangerous than any other medicine that requires prescription.”
Missing context. Western Australian legalese uses the word “poison” as a term to describe all substances that interact with physiological functions of the body. It does not suggest vaccines are dangerous.
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