COVID-19: War on misinformation continues raging as experts blast minority spreading rumours

The war on misinformation about COVID and the vaccine is raging on, with a small minority of doctors and a once-respected lawyer spreading totally incorrect rumours.

Just like COVID, misinformation about COVID harms our communities.

"These are literally life and death situations," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

And building trust can help save lives.

"What disinformation does is it fills the void of the people who have neglected and distrusted the system for a long time," Auckland Councillor Efeso Collins says.

And it's made so much worse when community leaders - like doctors - go anti-vax, making it harder for the majority of doctors who know the benefits of vaccination.

"It's a very small group, however because they are doctors and qualified I think they have a disproportionate impact," Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners medical director Dr Bryan Betty says.

Betty is scorning a Wellington doctor for spreading misinformation in a text to his patients. The doctor said he didn't support vaccinating "children and pregnant or fertile women", including the disclaimer those views were his own - not the consensus.

The GP is being investigated by the Medical Council.

"I do think they need to think very carefully about the misinformation or disinformation that's been spread," Dr Betty says.

The facts are unvaccinated pregnant women are at far greater risk.

"The most important benefit of getting the COVID vaccine during pregnancy is it reduces your chances of getting really sick with COVID," says Dr Michelle Wise, who's the deputy head of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Auckland.

Once-respected lawyer Sue Grey has been spreading disinformation about the vaccine. In a press release from her fringe political party the Outdoors Party, Grey called the rollout to 12-17-year-olds "government-mandated genocide".

And she conflated the death of an Auckland teenager with the vaccine - though Newshub understands it was actually a heart condition.

"If someone is in a position of leadership or in a profession where people generally have high trusting relationships, then it does make it difficult," Ardern says.

Our current vaccination rates are going gang-buster. But those being vaccinated now are more likely to be those who are really keen to get it.

So the rubber's hitting the road to convince the vaccine-hesitant and boost our community immunity.