The UK government has set up a unit to deal with the “tsunami” of misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccines in social platforms, deliver accurate information to ethnic communities reluctant to take the jab.
Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said this on Tuesday.
“There is a tsunami of disinformation, misinformation, which we have a unit across government that is dealing with the technology platforms to take down this fake news,” Mr Zahawi told Sky News broadcaster.
He denied, for example, rumours spread by the so-called anti-vaxxers that the vaccines affected fertility or pregnancy.
“In terms of its effect on fertility, it does not, in terms of pregnancy, you can have your vaccine of course once you have a discussion with your clinician to make sure that your physiology allows it to do that,” he said.
The minister added that as part of the government’s efforts to tackle fake news on the COVID-19 vaccines within ethnic communities, the information was being translated into 20 languages.
“It is important that we deliver accurate information in people’s own languages and of course in their communities,” Mr Zahawi said, adding that the government had allocated 25 million pounds (34.8 million dollars) to this project.
According to the minister, although 89 per cent of the UK adult population have said that they will take the vaccine, the 11 per cent who are still hesitant “skew heavily towards” the black, Afro-Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities.
As of Monday, over 15 million people from the four top priority groups over 70s, health workers, social care staff and clinically vulnerable patients had already been given at least the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines in the UK.
The government’s plan is to have offered all those aged 50 and over and people with underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19 the possibility of getting a jab by the end of April.
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