Fears over so-called by anti-vaxxers spreading misinformation about Covid-19 vaccine

  • ITV Calendar's Katie Oscroft reports.

As the Government has started to roll out its vaccination programme across the country, there now are fears that efforts are being seriously hampered by so-called by anti-vaxxers spreading myths and misinformation, which is prompting a worrying number of people not to take up the jab.

Health chiefs say that the resulting fear and mistrust is growing most rapidly amongst ethnic minority communities and deprived areas, which is exactly where protection against the virus is most needed.

John  Wright Bradford Institute for Health Research told ITV Calendar: "These are mixed up people with nonsensical ideas and the problem is that because people are scared and uncertain at the moment they fall on fertile ground."

Professor John Wright claims even in the face of rising numbers of coronavirus patients in hospital, misinformation is a growing problem.

Credit: PA

"The problem is because people are uncertain and scared at the moment they fall on fertile ground, one thing we noticed is that fake news tends to travel quickest in minority ethnic groups, eastern European south Asian groups, they tend to be tighter communities and so small numbers of influencers can have a very detrimental effect." 

They are still continuing the training online but lockdown rules prevent them from doing their job face-to-face.

The council for mosques in Bradford is mounting a counter campaign against anti vaxxers. Mufti Zubair Butt, who is from the Council, said: "By doing the video showing myself being vaccinated I have tried to show that there is nothing in the vaccine that contravenes your faith and the second thing that it is very safe on balance."

Those reassurances echoed in the Commons today (13 January) where MPs urged the government to go one step further. Robbie Moore, MP for Keighley said: "I know based on emails I have received from constituents across Keighley that there is an element of nervousness about vaccines amongst the BAME community.

"So can my Honorable Friend outline how she will increase efforts to support vaccine take up amongst BAME communities and reassure all that the vaccines are completely safe?"