The following article was originally published by londonnewsonline.co.uk
A senior politician is working to encourage people to get the Covid vaccine after vulnerable residents were targeted with anti-vaccination messages.
Westminster City Council leader Rachael Robathan called for faith leaders, councillors and the community to challenge anti-vaccine publicity.
She said: “I have been extremely troubled to see dangerous narratives around the vaccines emerging within our communities.
“Anti-vaccination propaganda is being deliberately targeted at some of our more vulnerable residents in print and via social media. As the death toll soars, peddlers of conspiracy fantasies are trying to stop those uncertain about vaccination from getting it.”
Some videos which have circulated claim there is no coronavirus emergency.
According to the latest data 222 people in Westminster have died from coronavirus within 28 days of a positive test.
Across the UK 95,829 have died from coronavirus, according to the latest figures.
And there have been 1,205 cases in Westminster in the week up to January 13, with a rate of 461 per 100,000 residents.
Cllr Robathan said it was crucial that people were aware of the facts about vaccination to save lives from the deadly coronavirus.
She said: “It is so important that these conspiracies do not take hold. This is not about restricting free speech or a legitimate debate about the effectiveness or otherwise of lockdowns. We have to challenge the anti-vax peddlers because their conspiracy theories will cost lives.”
Her comments won backing from the Labour opposition group leader Adam Hug, who said: “We welcome efforts to reach out to faith communities, to address any fears about the vaccine and get messages to “hard-to-reach” and vulnerable communities.”
Westminster Council is working with faith groups to help combat the anti-vaccine messages.
Resident Concia Albert, who is head of social prescribing at voluntary organisation, One Westminster, has received the jab after volunteering as a marshal at the vaccination centre at Lord’s Cricket ground in Marylebone.
She looked into the different vaccines first and told the BME Health Forum about her experience.
“My research began with dispelling myths after a series of misinformation videos had been circulated to me through my social media networks. This I believe continues to be a barrier and will affect the uptake of the vaccine if it is not addressed. “One of the sad realisations I had on the day I worked, is that very few people who would be described as black or Asian were taking up the vaccine and I think this is partly because of the misinformation that has been targeting people from Black and Asian backgrounds.”
And she explained that she did not experience ongoing discomfort apart from a slightly sore arm and an impending headache which disappeared within 15 minutes.
“I am elated about having been vaccinated and I look forward to my second dose of the vaccine within the next 10 weeks. I will continue to observe social distancing rules, mask wearing and government guidelines alongside the rest of the population for the foreseeable future because no vaccine is 100 per cent.
“Getting the vaccine means I am unlikely to get Covid-19 and this has given me peace of mind. I am excited for the rest of the population to get vaccinated and I cannot wait for more normal days to return.”