A DENTON-BASED GP has hit out at people swamping phonelines to check the Covid-19 vaccines do not turn men gay.
The same goes for women fearing a jab could make them infertile.
And Dr Asad Ali has also slammed two of his own trainees, who have themselves refused to receive an inoculation.
Now enough is enough, he wants efforts to make sure the message can get out there to everyone.
Dr Ali, co-chair of Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group, told a meeting of the Primary Care Group: “There are some people who don’t believe it’s safe.
“There are some women who are worried it will affect their fertility. There’s one rumour that says it will make men homosexual.
“There’s some crazy rumours out there and they are coming to us.
“There are so many misconceptions about the vaccine, there’s fake news out there.
“Just within my own practice, two of my trainees, despite me telling them the vaccine is absolutely an important thing to have, have chosen not to have the vaccine.
“That’s pretty shocking and very disappointing. They’re doctors and trying to work it out with non-doctors clearly is going to be harder.”
Dr Ali, who works at Millgate Healthcare Partnership in Denton, feels more can be done at a local level to make sure the message about Covid-19 vaccines is clear and available.
He added: “We’re getting more and more people ringing up practices and sending e-consult messages in, potentially clogging up capacity simply asking valid questions about Covid-19 vaccines.
“Should I have it? Shouldn’t I have it? Of course you should have it but a lot of people are convinced they should have a conversation with a professional.
“There is a lot of information online but with online information, you have to go to it.
“Some people need to be told, ‘Look it’s fine. I’ve had it. What are you worried about?’
“That 10-minute call might be the difference between someone having the vaccine or not, then there’s a snowball effect.”
However, Dr Ali was told setting up a regional hotline would not answer everyone’s queries or questions.
Angela Osei, head of primary care transformation in Greater Manchester, told the meeting she did not believe a central regional approach would deal with the ‘obscurities and the specifics of the questions’.
She said: “A corporate message would never answer in a million years some of the things I’ve heard.
“So I do think there is something about how localities find a way to really tap into those individuals.”
Karen Huntley, who sits on the CCG governing body as a lay member, added: “Only by listening to people will we understand the barriers to vaccination and then we can do something to overcome these barriers.”
The committee agreed to investigate the possibility of using money from the Covid-19 communications budget for a project around answering vaccine queries.
• Second doses of the vaccine are now being given to care home residents and staff, and those who have had their first jab.
Local GP sites will be offering appointments to residents in these groups.
If you can travel easily, then please attend your appointment at the Etihad but do not worry if you cannot – you will receive an invitation from your GP surgery soon.
Residents can use the national booking system at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccination or call 119 to book.
Residents may have experienced side effects from the first dose and be hesitant to return, but it is important that everyone receives a second dose so they have the highest possible protection from becoming seriously ill or dying from Covid.
Most side effects are mild and will not last long and can be treated with painkillers, such as paracetamol, if needed.
It is anticipated that by the end of April all of the first phase priority groups one to nine, which includes all over 50s, will have been vaccinated in Tameside and Glossop, dependent on vaccine delivery.
You can find out more about the vaccine online at www.tameside.gov.uk/covidvaccine