Hundreds of NHS staff form anti-vax group and label new Covid jabs ‘poison’

NHS and care home staff in their hundreds have formed a group opposed to vaccinations, wearing masks and testing in hospitals.

The 250 plus-member strong group, NHS Workers for Choice, No Restrictions for Declining a Vaccine, includes a GP, several A&E nurses, healthcare assistants, lab workers, and care home staff.

The group insists it is not an anti-vaccine group and exists to support healthcare workers, but The Times found posts comparing the Pfizer-BionTech coronavirus vaccine to "poison".

According to the Facebook group, the particular vaccine was a new frozen virus, similar to smallpox, to be "unleashed" on the world.

One member who works in a GP's surgery, said that she would rather quit than help with a vaccination programme which will be first rolled out to the elderly and healthcare workers.

She wrote: "NHS staff gone — all sick and old will be gone. NHS gone. Population under reconstruction. Welcome to the new world order."

Researchers have found that the more people read misinformation about vaccines online, the fewer people are likely to get vaccinated.

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced last weekend, new measures to tackle disinformation, saying: "We want users to have greater access to reliable and scientifically accurate information on vaccines from trusted sources like the NHS so they can make informed decisions to protect themselves and their loved ones."

Kate Shemirani was suspended from the register by the Royal College of Nursing in July for claiming that the pandemic is a deliberate cull.

Mohammed Iqbal Adil, a surgeon who said that Covid-19 was a hoax, was suspended by the General Medical Council in July.

Michael Fitzpatrick, a GP and trustee of the charity Sense About Science, said: "It is saddening, though perhaps not surprising, that a small number of health professionals are giving their support to the anti-vax campaign.

"No doubt there will now be demands for disciplinary measures … These should be resisted … in face of the challenges of the pandemic we need more public discussion and debate, not less."

Letters and legal advice on how to avoid wearing a mask in hospitals, how to decline testing and even how to get out of the track-and-trace system are shared with members.

Labour has called on the government to "bring forward legislation that would include financial and criminal penalties for companies that fail to act to stamp out dangerous anti-vaccine content".

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