Anti-vaccination groups in Bexhill ‘putting lives at risk’

Anti-vaccination groups who are spreading misinformation and fear are ‘putting lives at risk’, according to Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman.

Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 4:39 pm

He made the comments after it emerged some residents have refused their offer of a vaccine at the Sidley Medical Practice.

Bexhill’s vaccine programme is hoping to finish administering first jabs to all people in the four priority groups by the end of this week.

Dr Binodh C Bhaskaran, the clinical director of the Bexhill Primary Care Network, said around 14,200 people will have received their first jabs by Friday afternoon.

Covid-19 vaccination feature at Sidley Medical Practice. Pic Justin Lycett. SUS-210130-115955001

There are roughly 15,000 in Bexhill in the top four priority groups but, according to Dr Bhaskaran, some residents have received jabs in Eastbourne or Brighton, some are ill and cannot receive their vaccines currently, while others have refused their appointment.

Hitting out at the ‘anti-vax’ movement, Mr Merriman said: “I had my concerns about the proportionality of the earlier lockdown but we should all be united with the message that this vaccination will protect lives and let us get back to normal. Everyone able to take it should do so.

“There’s a lot of misinformation and irresponsible scare-mongering being put out across social media. Residents should listen to scientists and regulators and check the facts which demonstrate that this vaccine is safe and it is effective.”

East Sussex’s vaccination programme is delivering well, at rates consistent with the national average but some residents aged 70 and over are yet to be vaccinated.

Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle

Mr Merriman has joined the Sussex Health and Care Partnership in calling on the remaining over 70s, and those classified as clinically extremely vulnerable, to actively get in touch with the NHS to arrange their vaccination appointment.

He said: “The NHS team, and volunteers, in Sussex have done an outstanding job in delivering the vaccine to so many. This is not just a jab for continued health of the most vulnerable but the gateway for all ages to get back to school, work and recreation. Previously, we’ve appealed to those eligible to wait for the NHS to call you. In the last week when these groups are the priority, the message is ‘if we’ve not called you then call the NHS’.

“It’s essential that we can get through this cohort by next week. It accounts for 90 per cent of the mortality risk. Once this is done, the vaccination teams can focus on delivering to the next age group. Hopefully, by May, we will see all those over 50 years old, as well as those frontline health and care workers and the most clinically vulnerable, vaccinated. That’s 99 per cent of the mortality risk in this country.”

Mr Merriman welcomed another successful weekend of jabs in East Sussex where more than 10,000 people were had their appointments at the three vaccination centres, local vaccination services, home visiting teams, pharmacy led services and hospital hubs.

Over 70s can book their first vaccine appointment by calling 119 or by clicking here. Those under 70 who are not deemed clinically extremely vulnerable are still being asked to wait for the NHS to contact them when it is their turn to be vaccinated. More than 50,000 further vaccinations are set to take place across Sussex this week.