Prince William: Don’t believe jab misinformation on social media

Barney Davis
·4-min read
<p>Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge smile during a video call to people with health conditions about the positive impact of the COVID-19 vaccine. </p> (AP)

Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge smile during a video call to people with health conditions about the positive impact of the COVID-19 vaccine.

(AP)

The Duke of Cambridge has warned against “rumours and misinformation” on social media about coronavirus jabs.

The prince also urged people to keep on taking the Covid-19 vaccination so “younger generations” will feel “it’s really important for them to have it”.

William and Kate discussed vaccines on a video call with two clinically vulnerable women who have been shielding since last March.

Government data up to February 26 shows that of the 20,450,858 jabs given in the UK so far, 19,682,048 were first doses – a rise of 504,493 on the previous day.

Some 768,810 were second doses, an increase of 32,773 on figures released the previous day.

The Duke’s comments came after the Queen encouraged those hesitant about vaccination to “think about other people rather than themselves”.

Shivali Modha, who has type 2 diabetes, and severe asthma sufferer Fiona Doyle are both now eligible for the vaccine as part of priority group 6, and were preparing to have their jabs when they spoke to the royals on Tuesday.

The Cambridges heard how Mrs Modha, a mother-of-two, had been anxious about the Covid-19 jab after reading things on social media, but has since been reassured by vaccinated family members and medics from the charity Diabetes UK.

William told her: “Catherine and I are not medical experts by any means but if it’s any consolation, we can wholeheartedly support having vaccinations. It’s really, really important.

“We’ve spoken to a lot of people about it and the uptake has been amazing so far. We’ve got to keep it going so the younger generations also feel that it’s really important for them to have it.

Britain's Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge smile during a video call to Shivali Modha, front left, Hiren Modha, front right, and their daughters Shyaama, top left, and JyotiAP
Britain's Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge smile during a video call to Shivali Modha, front left, Hiren Modha, front right, and their daughters Shyaama, top left, and JyotiAP

“So it’s great that Shivali you’re taking the time to work it out and come to the conclusion that ‘I need to do this’ because social media is awash sometimes with lots of rumours and misinformation, so we have to be a bit careful who we believe and where we get our information from.

“Especially for those who are clinically vulnerable as well, it’s so important that those vaccinations are done, so good luck.”

The royal family have been supporting the NHS in its rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, visiting vaccination centres and thanking staff and volunteers for their efforts.

Some of the UK’s leading health charities, including Diabetes UK and Asthma UK, have formed a coalition to promote vaccine uptake among people with long-term health conditions.

Mrs Modha, 39, from Barnet in north-west London, was joined on the call by her husband Hiren and their daughters Shyaama, 11, and Jyoti, nine.

She replied: “I guess it’s just the unknown and I think that’s the case for most people. It’s just something that is unknown right now. And by the time you’ve had it, it will be A-OK.”

Kate told her: “I hope it comes as a huge relief in the end. I know there’s maybe the anxiety and the worry leading up to it, but I hope for all of you it will add a bit of normality back to your lives and confidence as well as we go forward into the spring, that would be great.”

Thanking the duke and duchess for calling, Mrs Modha told them: “It’s really nice to have you in our home, I wish I could offer you a cup of tea!”

“Same here!” laughed Kate.

Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge smile during a video call to Fiona Doyle and her daughter CiaraAP
Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge smile during a video call to Fiona Doyle and her daughter CiaraAP

The duke and duchess also spoke to Fiona Doyle, 37, and her seven-year-old daughter Ciara, who have been shielding at home in East Finchley, north London, since the Covid-19 crisis began.

She said the charity Asthma UK had been a “real source of support” in dealing with her situation.

Asked by the duke how she felt about the vaccination, she replied: “I can’t wait! I’m priority group six, so any day now I’m really hoping to get called up.”

Ms Doyle added: “I think I’m trying to not see it as a magic cure. I’m not going to go out licking lampposts or anything straight away!”

“Did you used to do that before?” laughed William.

“I’m probably going to do what I do normally,” said Ms Doyle. “I’ll still wear my mask, I’ll still keep my hand gel, still social distance.

“But it’s nice to know that mentally you have that layer of protection and that if you do end up being unfortunate enough to catch it, it won’t be as severe as it might have been without having been vaccinated.”

Additional reporting by PA

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