Coronavirus in Scotland: ‘Over 80s are not anti-vaccine' says Jason Leitch
Asked about whether the NHS has seen any resignation from ‘anti-vax theorists’ in getting the jab, Professor Leitch noted that the “true anti-vaccine” community is “very very small” and you do not find them within NHS workers and over 80s.
Speaking at the coronavirus briefing ton Friday, the Clinical Director said: “The true anti-vaccine community is very very small and you don’t find it within NHS workers because NHS workers see the direct result of the millions of lives that have been saved by vaccines across the world and have eradicated some diseases.
"And you don’t meet it in the over 80s either - there are few conspiracy theorists in the over 80s that we are calling in for vaccination.”
However Professor Leitch admitted that there are “vaccine hesitants” among the over 80s group but that hesitancy is “completely legitimate”.
He said: “That question about how have you done this so quickly, is it safe for me to get this one or this one, what about the gap between the doses?
"All of that is completely legitimate and the vaccinators will go through that step by step with everybody who comes.”
The Clinical Director also dismissed misinformation claims that the vaccine affects fertility and pregnancies, after a journalist from Press and Journal noted that a recent study revealed that more than a quarter of 18-34 year old women would not get the jab for this reason.
Professor Leitch said: “It’s factually wrong and biologically implausible for vaccinations to cause any affect on fertility whatsoever so it is not true."
Leitch urged people to avoid getting their news from ‘untrustworthy sources’ and asked people to check ‘trusted sources’ such as The Royal College of Midwives and Young Scot.
He added: “I don’t want to give this kind of conspiracy theory any more creedence than it frankly deserves but I do want to tackle that misinformation in a really intelligent and deep way because those that are young still need the vaccine- they need it for themselves but they also need it to protect their elderly relatives.”
Professor Leitch noted that every household in Scotland got a letter to try and explain how the NHS and the Scottish Government have gone through the vaccination process and said they will continue to put out as much information about the vaccine as they can.
Health secretary Jeane Freeman said that the government will continue to assure people receiving the vaccine that all safety procedures and clearances have been met in delivering the vaccine and ‘absolutely no corners have been cut.’
Agreeing with the clinical director, Ms Freeman said the Government are ‘not seeing any significant numbers’ of people against getting the vaccine and instead the ‘overwhelming majority’ are keen to be vaccinated.
Jason Leitch's comments come as the health secretary announced that as of Thursday, 224,840 people have received their first dose of a vaccine.