Kiwi basketball star Corey Webster slammed for untrue, 'dangerous' tweet about COVID-19 vaccine

Kiwi basketball player Corey Webster is facing backlash over an incorrect and 'dangerous' tweet about the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Webster wrongly claimed on social media on Wednesday the Pfizer vaccine kills nearly as many people as the virus. 

"There's been 26 deaths from covid in NZ and our government website shows there’s been 22 deaths from the vaccine. The vaccine has killed almost as many people as covid and they want us to just get this vaccine without doing any due diligence?! How does this make sense?" he incorrectly claimed. 

While COVID has only killed 26 people in New Zealand so far, that is largely because of our strict lockdown measures and lack of land borders which have stopped it spreading out of control like in other countries. It also doesn't reflect the true danger of the virus which has killed more than 4.4 million people worldwide - nearly the entire population of New Zealand.

The Pfizer vaccine has also not killed 22 people, as Webster claimed. 

Information from New Zealand's medicine regulator Medsafe shows as of July 31 a total of 22 deaths have been reported after having the vaccine. But 15 of the deaths have been determined as unlikely to be related to the vaccine, two of the deaths were unable to be assessed due to insufficient information and five of the deaths are under investigation. 

Meaning the number of people who have been confirmed to have died from the vaccine in New Zealand is zero - significantly less than the 26.

And it seems Kiwis weren't impressed by the tweet, which was slammed online. 

"You need to check your facts and step back from this man. It's super dangerous to spread this sort of message - it's a message that will kill people and mean we never get to reopen, or play basketball. Delete this please. Especially no," one person said. 

"Mate, you are a public figure and you posting this is not doing any good for the people of New Zealand. Get your facts right next time - there haven’t been any confirmed deaths in NZ from the vaccine," another chimed in. 

"Pure selfishness by not getting a vaccine. Think about all the people who have compromised immune systems which you could end up killing," another person said. 

Webster, who is a basketball player and not a medical professional, left the NZ Breakers last week.

The 32-year-old parted ways with the Breakers by mutual consent, with two years still remaining on his deal.

The Pfizer vaccine was given provisional approval for use in New Zealand. This means it's been formally approved after a thorough assessment, but Pfizer must give Medsafe ongoing data and reporting to show that it meets international standards.

It has also been fully approved by the United States  Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for people 16 and older. Extreme side effects from the vaccine are extremely rare.