MIKE HILL: There is hope and we must not listen to the naysayers

Public advised to ignore anti-vaccination conspiracy theories.Public advised to ignore anti-vaccination conspiracy theories.
Public advised to ignore anti-vaccination conspiracy theories.
It truly is a real tribute to the people of the Tees Valley that we are at the forefront of the fight against Coronavirus.

Our very own hospital was a proving ground for a new vaccine with hundreds of people volunteering and signing up, and now the results of those tests are bearing fruit with the production of the new Novavax vaccine in nearby Billingham.

The Government has already ordered 60 million doses of the new vaccine, which shows nearly 90% efficacy in the UK trial centred around our hospital. We are still in the thick of the fight and we are yet to be tested by the spreading South Africa variant coming from the south, but I am so proud that Teesside and Hartlepool workers, scientists, businesses and volunteers are making such an important contribution to fighting the pandemic.

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Ironically, however, it was brought to my attention this week that an area of the Town has been leafleted by anti-vaccine propagandists whose irresponsible message is not only dangerous; it’s deadly. Freedom of opinion is important in a democracy like ours, but to mislead the public when, to date, there have been 2.24 million deaths worldwide and 100,000 of those happening here in the UK is dangerous. Careless talk costs lives.

Our local industries have always been at the forefront of science and technology. We have a long and proud history and tradition in manufacturing, engineering and innovation. From the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Hartlepool made, Angel of the North we have always made our mark on the world and we are continuing that story with Novavax. The brand ‘Made on Teesside’ stands for quality, integrity and reliability; and one that is now intrinsically playing its part in combating this lethal pandemic across all nations.

We must look forward to the future. There is hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but right now the best thing we can do is follow the rules and not listen to the naysayers or the conspiracists. So, stay at home where you can, protect the NHS and continue to save lives.