Anti-vaxxers in Hartlepool causing 'severe harm and must be stopped', say health chiefs
Health chiefs have hit out at those spreading anti-vaccination claims after reports of stickers promoting the views being placed around Hartlepool.
Councillors on Hartlepool Health and Wellbeing Board reported they had seen anti-vaccination stickers placed around the borough, such as over on the Headland.
Council officers stressed any anti-vaccination materials which are reported to them are removed as soon as possible, adding they have seen numerous stickers placed around the borough.
Deepak Dwarakanath, from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, warned spreading such theories is harmful to residents.
He said: “The anti-vaxxers are doing people really severe harm and must be stopped.
“We need to ensure that any fear is calmed and that people are educated.
“The only way we will control Covid and come back to a degree of normality will be everyone taking their social responsibility and personal responsibility to get vaccinated.”
It came after Cllr Brenda Harrison told the meeting she had spotted the anti-vaccination stickers in areas in Hartlepool, such as across the Headland and at St Hilda’s Church.
She said: “There are some anti-vaccine stickers being put around the town, apparently they’re being put on HBC notice boards that usually would be read by visitors, and it’s actually blocking some of the important information for visitors, and there’s quite a number at the Headland.
“I think we all have to try and get the message out, it’s really appalling I think.
“I mean there’s an anti-Covid thing as well isn’t there, some people don’t think there’s such a thing, I mean it’s crazy, it’s just crazy.
“I think within a town like ours that kind of thing, because we’re quite an insular town, that kind of thing spreads quite quickly.”
Craig Blundred, Hartlepool’s director of public health, noted they will be working on communications promoting the importance and benefits of getting the vaccine.
Cllr Shane Moore, Hartlepool Borough Council leader, added a number of months ago they were seeing similar stickers against people wearing masks.
He said: “Sadly whoever has been putting them on has quite a big supply of them because we keep getting rid of them and they keep appearing again, and this is the second time now.”
Cllr Stephen Thomas said he was also saddened to see people spreading such messages in the borough.
He said: “It is so sad when we see that sort of thing happening after the impact Covid has had up and down the country, but particularly that it’s had in towns like Hartlepool.
“It really does sadden me that we are seeing this sort of thing, and the things that we still see on social media.”
Tony Hanson, council director of neighbourhoods and regulatory services, said they remove any material promoting these views as soon as possible once they are notified, and encouraged councillors to report any they see.