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The Leader of the Council challenges anti-vax peddlers

The leader also reveals that "anti-vax" activists are targeting vulnerable residents.

Published: 20 January 2021

The leader of Westminster City Council is tonight (Wednesday Jan 20th) expected to criticise groups and individuals who spread anti-Covid vaccination material as “peddlers of conspiracy fantasies”  whose activities cost lives.

Cllr Rachael Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, will use the authority’s full meeting to call for faith leaders, councillors and the wider community to challenge anti-vaccine publicity.

She also revealed that anti vaccination activists were deliberately targeting vulnerable residents with print and online anti-jab material.

Cllr Robathan will say:

“I have been extremely troubled to see dangerous narratives around the vaccines emerging within our communities. 

“Anti-vaccination propaganda is being deliberately targeted at some of our more vulnerable residents in print and via social media. As the death toll soars, peddlers of conspiracy fantasies are trying to stop those uncertain about vaccination from getting it.

“The community is fighting back with local people countering the false stories - our job as a council is to reinforce that with basic facts.

“It is so important that that these conspiracies do not take hold. This is not about restricting free speech or a legitimate debate about the effectiveness or otherwise of lockdowns. We have to challenge the anti-vax peddlers because their conspiracy theories will cost lives. 

“It is our job as a Council and as elected Members to reassure our residents and ensure that they are aware of the facts around vaccination by supporting local groups. 

“Lord Mayor, we know that these anxieties are circulating in some of our most vulnerable wards and communities, which why we are working with faith groups to ensure broad community support is behind our vaccinations campaign. I met the Faith Exchange last week, and on Monday cabinet colleagues met faith leaders together with health officials. Our community groups have a huge role to play in countering these dangerous ideas and we must support them in doing so wherever possible.

“Tonight, I am asking each and every one of my colleagues in this Council to take this issue up as a matter of urgency. Help us make sure that our residents are well informed about the safety and science, and that they understand what’s at stake with this vaccine. Reach out to your local leaders, your neighbourhood forums, your community groups. Let us know what’s working, if we’re being heard, and if we aren’t, how we can better get this message through. This must be a cross-party effort, together with our local MPs, to protect the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities.”