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Panel of experts at Bolton University to reveal truth behind Covid-19 vaccine conspiracy theories

They’re tackling misinformation around the vaccines

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Keir Starmer / Flickr

A panel of experts at the University of Bolton are busting myths around the coronavirus vaccine that have been circulating online.

The university is working with a number of specialists to encourage people to get their jabs by finding the truth behind some of the claims about the vaccine.

The panel includes Dr Abhishek Kumar, a consultant interventional cardiologist who will chair the online seminar ‘Know the truth! Understand the advice, have the vaccine, protect yourself and your loved ones’, alongside other experts and community leaders.

Dr Kumar has explained that some on the Muslim community are concerned animal produce is found in the vaccine meaning it is not halal.

But the doctor encourages everyone to get the vaccine, explaining that this is simply not true.

He said: “There are these online conspiracy theories and people ask how do you know the vaccine is safe. People say it has microchips in it, that it contains animal products or that it can turn you sterile.

“Overall I think in the UK population about 15 million people have been vaccinated but there are concerning reports from different parts of the country that particularly in the BAME community there’s been a reluctance in vaccine uptake.

“In Bradford they’ve had similar issues. There have been reports from different parts of the country and the government did come out advice and various communications to try and dispel the myths and reassure people.”

Keir Starmer / Flickr

He added: “I and my colleagues with whom I work see the vaccination as a way out to the future.

“Everybody’s been suffering, people on the frontline, behind the scenes, people cooped up inside their house and children in particular. They can’t go to school, play or mix with their friends.

“This has had significant affects on the mental and physical wellbeing in general of most people. So we ought to move together in a direction where we try and help each other as a society so that we can come out of this series of lockdowns and that vaccine is the only way we have at the moment.

“There are no animal products in this vaccine, it’s safe to use, it’s efficient and it’s effective.”

Keir Starmer / Flickr

The panel includes Prof Sanjay Arya, medical director at Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh Teaching Hospital; Dr Wirin Bhatiani, chairman of Bolton’s Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Helen Lowey, Bolton’s director of public health, and Prof John Lumley, founding dean for the School of Medicine at the University of Bolton.

Professor George E Holmes, president and vice chancellor at the university, said: “We are delighted to host this fascinating and extremely important webinar.

“As a university that values all the diverse communities we serve, it is so important that the facts are presented to help people understand why getting the vaccination is so crucial. I would like to thank the eminent panel for agreeing to take part.”

The webinar will take place on February 17th at 3pm and is open to everyone. Register here

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Mum opens accessible chippy so autistic son ‘has a job for life’

She opened the chippy after a stranger made a comment about her son online

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ITV News

A mum from Lancashire has opened up a chippy so that her autistic son ‘has a job for life’, after a stranger’s comment online. 

Gillian Jervis opened Oliver’s Chippy in Warton, near Blackpool, after a stranger’s comments on a forum online – calling her son Oliver ‘a burden on the state’ – prompted her to prove them wrong.

About the comment, Gillian told ITV News: “I sometimes think I dreamt the comment and that I made it all up, because why would you say something like that?

“Have I read it wrong? I went through all of those emotions – it knocked me sideways.”

ITV News

The mum-of-four decided to start a business in her son’s name and opened Oliver’s Chippy in 2021 – where Gillian is already training the 12-year-old so that he can take over when he grows up.

On why she chose to open a chip shop business for Oliver she said: “It gives him his structure, it’s a bit like school; his daily routine that he has to have.

“What you end up doing everyday – prepping the food, serving the food, making up the food, stocking the fridges… he’ll learn all that before he starts at sixteen.”

Oliver’s autism means he has some communication difficulties though he is able to express himself in other ways.

ITV News

The chippy is built with facilities to help people with communication and accessibility issues by using visual screens on the tills instead of words and phrases.

As Gillian explains: “You’ve got people with a stutter, so I’ve looked at it this way. Before people start to speak, they look at pictures don’t they?

“It’s better to see a picture of what you want, it gives you the confidence to come into my shop and order what you want without saying it.”

Not only do these images help Oliver, they also help customers who may communicate better with visual aids. Not only this, the chippy also offers services to help make it easier for all neurodivergent people to place their orders.

ITV News

Gillian said: “We do have a disability point access, we do have a ramp, we do have a visual menu.

“If you came in and you want your order all separate and you said ‘jigsaw’ we know that it means everything’s separate.” The chippy can make sure different food isn’t touching others by offering cartons with separated sections.

Since opening, the chip shop has fed more than 1,300 children and supported other families across the Fylde Coast. This includes giving away a family holiday, an iPad, air fryer and over 100 competition meals.

ITV News

She continued: “We had the cost of living crisis, fuel shortages, the after effects of Covid and people not working as they were, with people losing their jobs due to Covid as well.

“So I just said to Arran, ‘shall we feed the kids for free?’ He said ‘yes – but how are we going to do it?’ I said ‘I don’t know, but we’ll find a way of doing it’.”

Opening in 2021 during the pandemic, the first Easter holidays saw the chip shop take a financial hit as it gave out free meals for children in the area.

But during the summer holidays later that same year, the business was supported by Bryning with Warton Parish Council as a Go Fund Me was started to raise the funds.

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Elderly woman, 82, dies after being hit by vehicle on main road

Sad news

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An 82-year-old woman has sadly died after being hit by a vehicle on a main road in Tameside yesterday.

The elderly woman was critically injured in the collision which happened on Manchester Road, in Audenshaw, at around 5.55pm on Monday, November 20th.

Emergency services rushed to the scene, close to the Snipe Retail Park, and an ambulance took her to hospital.

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The driver of the vehicle, a 31-year-old woman, remained at the scene and has continued to assist police with enquiries.

Greater Manchester Police have confirmed the woman has now died from her injuries and are appealing for witnesses of the collision to come forward to help them with their investigations.

Confirming the tragic update in a statement, the force said: “At around 5.55pm on Monday November 20th, Greater Manchester Police were called to reports of a road traffic collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian on Manchester Road, Audenshaw.

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“An 82-year-old woman who was taken to hospital in a serious condition has since sadly died from her injuries.

“The driver of the vehicle, a 31-year-old woman, remained at the scene and is continuing to assist police with enquiries.

“Police would like to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the collision – and are continuing to appeal for anyone with relevant mobile, dashcam or CCTV footage to please come forward.”

Members of the public can submit information and footage by calling 0161 856 4741 quoting log 2797 of 20/11/23. You can also report information online using the LiveChat function on the website: www.gmp.police.uk.

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‘Brutal’ cold sweeping across UK that ‘lasts for weeks’

People have said it ‘feels worse’ than the usual winter bugs

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PxHere / stock photo & Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

A nasty cold virus is sweeping across the UK and it’s leaving sufferers feeling ill for weeks.

Winter is here and the countdown to Christmas is on, but what would the festive season be without the fear of catching a seasonal bug and it ruining any plans you have over the coming weeks?

According to reports, a nasty virus is going about and sufferers have reported symptoms including fever, aches, chills, headaches, blocked noses, coughs and extreme fatigue. 

Not only does it come with a list of rather unpleasant symptoms, it is also being said to go on and on, leaving those affected housebound for weeks.

PxHere / stock photo

Those who have had the pleasure of experiencing the brutal cold have taken to Reddit to spread the word – and hopefully not the virus.

In a thread on social media site Reddit, one person wrote: “Just coming off the back end of a brutal cold that’s lasted about 3 weeks, during which my sinuses have been almost completely closed, relaxing only for brief periods while also producing mucus at an alarming rate.

“Emerging from my bed this morning, I could breathe through my nose again. I could smell things.

“It still feels like somebody poured Ready Brek into the back of my face, but it’s finally over and life is beautiful again.”

Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

Another who also caught the nasty cold said they were still housebound the following week, as they said: “I caught it in October, I was bedridden for days and then spent another week housebound, constantly looking at my phone to see if it had been 4 hours since my last dose of paracetamol.”

They went on to add how it felt ‘worse than any winter bug I’d had before 2020’.

A third person also felt the lasting effects saying: “It’s been a total b******, had me in bed for a couple of days and feeling s*** for a couple of weeks now.

“I can totally recommend Otrivine nasal spray for the blocked nose/sinus bit though.”

Dave Deploige / Wikimedia

Another added: “Currently on day 5 of it. . Feel absolutely lousy. So much mucus it’s ridiculous. Already feeling anxious about having to call in sick again tomorrow but I refuse to go back to work until I’m well enough.

“Won’t get thanked for going in and certainly won’t get thanked by colleagues if I spread this around. Just hoping I’m all clear for Christmas. Get well soon everyone.”

However, experts are saying there is no evidence to suggest that viruses which cause colds are any more severe than they were pre-pandemic. 

One reason may be because we’ve forgotten how rotten they really can make us feel after not catching them as much throughout the Covid lockdowns, social distancing and wearing face masks.

Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

Speaking to ABC News in February, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, said: “All of us have forgotten about what common colds used to be like, and we’re getting them now again.

Lack of exposure to viruses that cause cold symptoms may also be playing a role. People who haven’t had a cold in a while won’t have as much immunity to viruses, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist at UCSF, also told the publication.

“Lack of exposure to viruses over time might make a cold seem much worse than before, because you haven’t been exposed a little bit along the way,” he said.

The NHS’s advice for sufferers of a winter cold virus is to get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. You can also drink a hot lemon with honey to help soothe a sore throat.

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