'Our position is quite clear' - public health chief debunks claims of anti-vax 'truthpaper'
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An anti-vax newspaper with links to Manchester has been circulated in a town centre street in Hitchin.
The rag, which goes by the title 'the Light', is known to have been distributed to buildings and businesses in Sun Street.
The free and people-funded paper - which calls itself a 'truthpaper' - is believed originate in Manchester, and is distributed in its thousands by volunteers, according to founder and editor Darren Smith.
The Comet was alerted to the 24-page hand out by an environmental health marshal in North Herts, who branded the paper "worrisome" and "dangerous propaganda".
The paper that surfaced in Hitchin is the 12th issue the Light has distributed since its foundation in September 2020.
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The issue brands medical research "corrupt" and discusses the "COVID Nazification of the NHS", while also questioning the safety and efficacy of coronavirus vaccines.
It encourages people to stop mask wearing and disobey ongoing coronavirus guidance from local authorities and national government.
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With COVID cases spiking in and around North Herts, COVID marshals and local government officials are still encouraging businesses and their customers to remain vigilant and stay safe.
In a statement to the Comet, Jim McManus, director of public health at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “Vaccines are much better and safer way to build immunity from COVID than natural infection.
"There is still a huge amount of misinformation circulating on and offline about vaccinations and COVID-19. Polls consistently show over 95 per cent of the British people intend to get vaccinated. Fewer and fewer people are listening to anti-vaccine disinformation in any way.
“Our position on vaccinations is quite clear. Please get vaccinated if you are eligible, it remains the best way of keeping yourself and others safe. Immunity from vaccination is far better than immunity from infection.
"The vaccines have already saved thousands of lives and stopped many more people from getting seriously ill. However, we do understand that some people will be anxious about them."
Professor McManus directed those with queries to covid.healthierfuture.org.uk for the most up-to-date information.
Business and workplace advice can be accessed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
He added that the British Society for Immunology guide for the public is "by far the most up to date and accurate guide", and is freely available online at immunology.org/public-information/guide-vaccinations-for-covid-19.
“COVID-19 has not gone away and we can still do things that will keep us and other people safe," he said.
"Get jabbed, give people space, wear face coverings in crowded indoor areas, ventilate your workplaces and social spaces, take regular rapid tests if you don’t have symptoms, even if you’ve been vaccinated, and if you have symptoms get a PCR test and self-isolate.”