‘Irresponsible’ Labour MPs risking derailing Covid jab roll out by sharing misinformation
Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine begins rollout in the UK
Shadow health minister Rosena Allin-Khan and left-winger Norwich South MP Clive Lewis have both caused anger after sharing false information on the Government’s rollout of the Covid jab. Dr Allin-Khan, who worked in the NHS before becoming an MP was forced to apologise yesterday after suggesting Nadhim Zahawi, the minister in charge of the vaccination programme, had skipped the queue to secure jabs for him and his family.
The Labour frontbencher said on Twitter: “Nadhim, can you please tell us if it’s true?
“I really hope it’s not, unless you meet the necessary criteria.
“There are millions of vulnerable people waiting patiently in the queue.”
She later deleted the tweet and apologised for causing a social media “pile on”.
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Dr Allin-Khan said: “I regret sharing unsubstantiated claims about the minister and I apologise to him and his family.”
Mr Zahawi said it was “sad” the Labour front-bencher had chosen to share misinformation online, adding: “We all need to work together to beat this awful disease”.
Over the weekend former member of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, Clive Lewis, shared a US news report which accused the UK of having “abandoned science” by mixing vaccinations.
He added: “Next they’ll be suggesting the second vaccine dose can be substituted with bleach.”
Public Health England has already rejected the accusations made in the US news report, saying: “We do not recommend mixing the COVID-19 vaccines – if your first dose is the Pfizer vaccine you should not be given the AstraZeneca vaccine for your second dose and vice versa.”
The former Labour shadow minister later accused Mr Zahawi of faking “mock outrage” when he called Mr Lewis “irresponsible” for sharing the false information.
Conservative party chair Amanda Milling has called for the Labour Party to condemn the comments made by both Mr Lewis and Dr Allin-Khan.
She said: “Will the Labour Party condemn and investigate the spreading of fake news and misinformation by a Shadow Minister and Labour MP?
“The spreading of falsehoods in a pandemic is totally irresponsible.”
Anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists have been sharing misinformation about the jab in the hope to derail the immunisation programme.
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The Government has been eager to build public confidence in its vaccination programme, with mass take up for the jab needed if England is to be freed from the draconian Covid tier system currently in place.
Coronavirus cases have surged in recent weeks due to a new strain of the virus which transmits more easily.
Yesterday more 54,990 new cases were recorded over 24 hours.
Today the rollout of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca gets underway with the Government hoping the jab will mean two million people can be vaccinated a week by the middle of this month.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday: “The vaccine is our way out and this huge achievement brings us a step closer to the normality we’ve all been working hard to reclaim.
“From tomorrow, the British public will begin to receive a second highly effective vaccine, starting with the most vulnerable and frontline care home and NHS staff, another significant milestone in the expansion of the vaccination programme.
“This will be a historic day, and cause for celebration, but it’s vital everyone continues to follow the rules and remember hands, face, space, to keep ourselves and others safe.”
So far more than a million people in the UK have received a Covid jab, with more people in Britain being vaccinated so far than the whole of the EU.
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