The speed of misinformation about Covid-19 coronavirus vaccines is a “deadly threat,” said the health minister.
Matt Hancock said, however, that confidence in the jabs in the UK is “sky high”.
He told the Global Vaccine Confidence Summit, “The speed of misinformation is a deadly threat.
“So we had some of our best people on the case from the start, long before there was an approved vaccine that countered the myths, countered the lies, treated people with respect, with respectful restraint, and provided respectful responses.
“An essential part of this trust is openness and honesty.
“Because it wasn’t just about conveying all these positive facts to people, but also about being honest and transparent about the difficult ones – for example, being open and completely transparent with regard to side effects, comparing with people that our offer is lumpy will be and changes week after week.
“And to be open when we don’t know the answer, for example we took the time to find out the effects of new variants. So we didn’t jump at the answers that people wanted to hear. “
Matt Hancock said ministers attending the G7 health summit will be discussing the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic, as well as addressing the “global pandemic of misinformation.”
The health minister said ministers would launch a global campaign of confidence in vaccinations.
“We have argued that the shock is our way out of these restrictions and that everyone has a role to play,” he told the Global Vaccine Confidence Summit.
“We don’t give anti-Vaxxers public oxygen.
“Instead, we developed a counter-narrative – rigorously scientifically but still harnessing the truly human emotions of joy and community spirit that the vaccination program can bring, and that positive tone has led to the spectacularly high levels of adoption we have seen.” . “
“There is sky high confidence in the vaccine program across the UK,” said Hancock;
“We continue to top the list of places where people are ready to take or have taken a Covid vaccine – about nine out of ten of us.”
He added, “I understand this is not a World Vaccine Championship – different nations do not compete for a prize, we know that if everyone is safe, we will all be the winners.”
Mr. Hancock added that when vaccine trust “takes a hit” in a country, “the word can get out, fake news gets out quickly”.
He said the vaccines were made “as accessible as possible,” as was objective information about the vaccinations.
And he said the UK had used influential voices “from all sides” to encourage vaccine adoption.
The Minister of Health told the Global Vaccine Confidence Summit, “Numbers from cricket to comedy to cooking and things like the NHS campaign have resulted in high uptake of vaccine uptake, including a roughly 20% increase in Asian communities.
“We use trustworthy voices in a happy, positive way, from Her Majesty the Queen to Sir David Attenborough, they have publicly announced they have received the vaccination and they have done their part in normalizing the acceptance of the vaccine .
“After all, the Covid vaccine is very special, but taking it has become absolutely normal, and that was crucial for this positivity.”
He added, “Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, our deputy chief medical officer in charge of the vaccine project, has become a household name and people are getting t-shirts and mugs with his face on.
“Because people admire his direct manner, and I think that has helped build confidence.”
He also said the order of priorities is not only clinically important to save lives, but also to encourage vaccine uptake.
Mr Hancock said it is important that people know that people cannot “buy their way up in the queue”.
“In fact, you can’t buy into the queue at all,” he said.
“The private jets aren’t all lined up at Heathrow Airport to get it.
“Not far from your seat (at the Science Museum in London) I was in line a month ago to get my jab and Prince William, our future king, was waiting in the same line for his jab a few weeks after me – no special treatment, no queuing.
“And I think that’s one of the things that makes people feel like the vaccine is for them and that the program is being run fairly and based on their needs.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said before the G7 Health Ministers meeting at the Jenner Institute in Oxford that he had been told it would take at least five years to develop a coronavirus vaccine at the start of the pandemic.
“I particularly remember that a professor who was meek and shy at the time turned to me when I asked how quickly this could be done,” he said.
“He said that if all went well, the best we could hope for would be 12 to 18 months.
“Who would have thought that just 11 months later we would be the first country in the world with a clinically approved vaccine and that Professor Jonathan Van Tam would strictly oppose it.”