‘It won’t make your arm drop off!’ – health chief dismisses vaccine myths

HEALTH bosses are setting the record straight by dismissing ‘fake news’ about the Covid-19 vaccine and encouraging everyone eligible to get their jab.

GPs and public health officials in Stockton are helping to dispel some of the misinformation circulating about the vaccine that may be preventing people from getting their jabs.

Despite additional walk-in and pop-up clinics being made available across the borough more than 26,300 people in Stockton, who are eligible for the Covid -19 vaccine, are yet to take up the offer of a first jab and over 11,900 people are still to have their second vaccination.

Dr Janet Walker, medical director, Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “It’s important that we reach as many people as possible to dispel ‘fake news’ that is circulating about the vaccine and provide true, factual, information to enable people to make an informed choice about having their jab.

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“It’s always good to question and understand the benefits and risks of any medication. Unfortunately, some people have been discrediting the vaccine, which can be very damaging, but thankfully that’s just a small minority.

“It is really important that as many people as possible have their jabs and that we can tell people about the good, reputable, scientifically backed information available about the vaccine to put the public’s mind at ease.”

Recent feedback to Stockton’s Covid Community Champions and Carers Support, who spoke to people who were hesitant about the vaccine, revealed their reasons for not having a jab included: Too busy, not bothered. The vaccine is still in trial. Being young and convinced the infection will be mild. Already had Covid-19, so don’t need to get vaccinated. Scared of needles. My arm might drop off.

Addressing the concerns Dr Walker said: “All of the vaccines have gone through rigorous clinical trials to determine their safety and efficacy, and all have been proven to significantly reduce the chance of getting seriously unwell with the virus, as well as helping to reduce spreading of the infection.

“While young healthy people are less likely to get sick than older people, they can, and have, ended up in hospital with Covid-19. They can have long Covid symptoms for months after the virus has cleared their system and can also unknowingly carry Covid-19 to people who are more vulnerable and put loved ones in danger of becoming severely sick.

“Even if you have already had Covid-19, you should get vaccinated, the injection is very quick and painless and no… your arm won’t drop off!

“In short these vaccines are life savers – they are our best defence against preventing new variants from spreading and ensuring that we, and our loved ones, are protected against Covid-19.”

A recent study from the Office for National Statistics, looking at all Covid deaths in England between January and July, found the vaccines were extremely effective in preventing loss of life with only 256 out of 51,281 deaths in people who were fully vaccinated.

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The Northern Echo | Teesside