A leading doctor in the north of Nottinghamshire has sought to dispel some of the most widely circulated vaccine conspiracies and myths and provide reassurance for those unsure whether to take the jab.

While uptake of the coronavirus vaccination has generally been much higher than, for example, the flu vaccine, there are still people who may be avoiding the call due to any number of concerns.

Some of these concerns have been caused by misinformation and some areas of Nottinghamshire have seen a lower uptake of the vaccine as a result.

Most recently an anti-vax group took to Bulwell on April 20, where a bus offering the vaccine was parked, and the group has since been condemned during a Government press conference.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the protesters must let the NHS staff and nurses "do the job that they need to".

Dr Hilary Lovelock, GP at Brierley Park Medical Centre, has now offered her medical expertise and insight into some of the most prevalent misconceptions and outright conspiracy theories.

She told Nottinghamshire Live: "I encourage all individuals to get the vaccine when called as well as the second dose, which is scheduled after 11-12 weeks.

"This will protect you from severe infection as well as ‘long Covid’, and reduce the risk of infection spreading to your family and friends."

Here are nine myths surrounding the vaccine, and why you should not be concerned, as told by Dr Lovelock:

1. How do you know if the information on a vaccine is credible?

"It is important to make sure that you get your information from credible sources.

"There is plenty of information on the NHS website and a useful FAQ here. I would encourage people to talk to their GP or even the amazing staff at vaccination centres if they are concerned or have worries.

"There is a lot of misinformation in the public domain, especially on social media, so it is important you are getting your information from credible sources."

2. Can the Covid-19 vaccine cause issues during pregnancy?

"The latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is that Covid-19 vaccines should be offered to pregnant women at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.

"If you are concerned, you can discuss the benefits and risks of having the vaccine with your healthcare professional and reach a joint decision based on individual circumstances.

"It is important to remember that there's no evidence that the Covid-19 vaccine has any effect on your chances of becoming pregnant, there is no need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination and the vaccine cannot give you or your baby Covid-19."

3. Will the Covid-19 vaccine alter someone's DNA or do they contain microchips?

"There is absolutely no evidence to support the claim of microchips. In terms of DNA, the vaccine helps your body learn how to fight the virus.

"The vaccine does not in any way alter a person’s DNA, they simply help your body learn how to respond to Covid-19.

"This is the process for many routine vaccines and nothing to be worried about."

4. Could there be any serious long-term effects and should people be worried about this?

"It is important to remember that all vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

"Any Covid-19 vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through.

"Vaccines will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

"So far, millions of people have been given a Covid-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or clotting problems, have been extremely rare."

5. Are people being coerced and is it mandatory to go for a vaccine?

"The Covid-19 vaccine gives you and your family and friends the best protection against the virus.

"While the NHS and health leaders are encouraging as many people as possible to get the vaccine, no one is being forced into it and patients do have the right to choose.

"As a GP, I would encourage everyone to get the vaccine to protect you, your family and friends, but I understand if people feel unsure. If you are unsure make sure you read the NHS website to find out more."

6. For those who are vegan, vegetarian or religious - does the vaccine contain animal products?

"The approved Covid-19 vaccines do not contain any animal products at all or eggs."

7. Did regulators cut corners to get a vaccine finished?

"Any Covid-19 vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through.

"Vaccines will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

"So far, millions of people have been given a Covid-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or clotting problems, have been very rare."

8. Can the vaccine make you infertile?

DR Lovelock said: "There is no evidence at all that there are any issues in relation to planning a family or fertility."

Providing additional reassurance, Dr Edward Morris, president at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, added: "We want to reassure women that there is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines will affect fertility.

"Claims of any effect of Covid-19 vaccination on fertility are speculative and not supported by any data.

"There is no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would cause any impact on women's fertility.

"Evidence has not been presented that women who have been vaccinated have gone on to have fertility problems."

9. Do you need an NHS number to get a jab?

"No," Dr Lovelock added.

"Having your NHS number to hand does help when you go to your vaccine appointment but healthcare staff can find you through your name, address and date of birth too."





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