Despite more than 50,000 Coronavirus deaths, UK's sufferings have not ended yet. While the struggle continues to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 infection, hundreds of UK's National Health Service (NHS) workers have joined an anti-vax Facebook group.
At this crucial time, when hundreds of false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines are spreading across the social media, instead of making people understand how a jab could help the world, the NHS workers show their support for an anti-vax group claiming that the coronavirus vaccine is a "poison" set to be "unleashed" on the world.
Almost 300 NHS staff and care home workers joined the group called "'NHS Workers for Choice, No Restrictions for Declining a Vaccine." It is a private group that opposes vaccinations, wearing masks, and testing in hospitals.
The Anti-Vax Facebook Group
According to the description of the group, it was created on October 4 this year. First, the name of the group was "NHS workers for choice, not restrictions for not wanting a vaccine" but a day later the name was changed to the current one. As of Monday, November 16 there are 342 members in the group.
The Times reported that Dr. Julie Coffey, a Sheffield GP, is said to be one of the leaders of the group. She was then joined by many accidents and emergency nurses, healthcare assistants, lab workers, and private and public care home staff. The members of the Facebook group have shared letters and legal advice on how to avoid wearing masks in hospitals, how to decline COVID-19 testing, and how to get out of the Coronavirus track-and-track system.
The group wrote in the description section, "A dedicated group for medical professionals etc to collectively keep freedom of choice an option and not to be hampered with any restrictions of doing so." It says the group is not an anti-vaccine group and is there to support healthcare workers.
But The Times found some posts declaring that the 90 percent effective Pfizer-BionTech vaccine candidate was a new frozen virus, similar to smallpox, to be "unleashed" on the world and the members of the group reportedly compared it to "poison".
One member reportedly said that she would quit instead of helping the vaccination program, while another group member wrote, "NHS staff gone — all sick and old will be gone. NHS gone. Population under reconstruction. Welcome to the new world order."
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care who tested positive for COVID-19 in March, expressed his views on the claims made by the group and told Times Radio that "being opposed to vaccinations where they have been through the rigorous safety processes is entirely inappropriate."
He also added that he "wouldn't advise it for anybody, because we don't propose, and allow vaccines in this country," until they pass some of the most stricter safety requirements in the world. "Getting a vaccine - whether it's for flu or hopefully for coronavirus - is something that not only protects you but protects the people around you. So it's a really important step," he added
Hancock's comments come after the NHS suspended some of its workers for promoting misinformation about the Coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this year similar incidents happened. In July, Kate Shemirani, a British nurese--now known as a conspiracy theorist--was suspended from the register by the Royal College of Nursing after she claimed that the pandemic is a plot to kill off swathes of the population.
The same list also includes surgeon Mohammed Iqbal Adil, who once said that Covid-19 was a hoax and as a result, in July he was suspended by the General Medical Council.