An appeal has been made in the Dáil for a major campaign to combat anti-vaccination misinformation after revelations that leaflets that “look exactly like” HSE advice sheets are being distributed in north Dublin.
Sinn Féin enterprise spokeswoman Louise O’Reilly said she was “deeply, deeply troubled” that these “very slick” leaflets were being dropped in Balbriggan in her Dublin Fingal constituency, The Irish Times reports.
She said the pamphlets say “there’s no need for a vaccine” and “there’s no virus”.
“A lot of money went into them. They look exactly like the HSE leaflets, like the advice we get in the door.”
As preparations continue for the roll-out of the vaccine once approval is given by the European Medicines Agency, Ms O’Reilly said that “anti-vaxxers” are targeting working-class areas.
Imploring Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to create a comprehensive vaccination awareness and uptake campaign, she said “there’s no point in us all saying ‘well you should just get the vaccine’ and wagging our fingers at people”.
Ms O’Reilly was speaking during a Dáil debate on the Covid-19 vaccination taskforce at which some TDs were criticised for their public scepticism about the vaccine.
Fianna Fáil TD James O’Connor said: “It is absolutely outrageous that we have members of this House who are willing to come in here and pander to message of anti vaxxers. It’s disgusting.”
But Independent TD Michael Collins said a “very serious vaccine” had become a “political football by immature politicians”.
He said he told media when asked if he would take the vaccine that he would not “until I knew what I was taking and I am still strongly of that view.”