A CARRICKMORE GP and former MLA for West Tyrone has hit out against "disgraceful, disgusting and downright dangerous" anti-vaccination information circulating online.
Dr Kieran Deeny, who served as an MLA for West Tyrone from 2003 to 2011 having run as an independent, was given the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at Omagh Lesiure Centre recently as part of the vaccination programme for front-line health workers.
And the well-known GP said it is "important to convince the many" who are understandably sceptical about receiving the Covid-19 vaccination that they should indeed accept the invitation when they are called.
Dr Deeny stressed that he had served the community as a "true independent MLA" not associated with any political parties having been elected on the single issue of saving hospital services in Omagh.
He was a member of Stormont’s Health Committee from 2007 until 2011 when he did not seek re-election and subsequently stood down from politics.
Dr Deeny is in his 41st year as a medical doctor, lives in Carrickmore and spent 30 years in Carrickmore Health Centre. He is still working as a GP and is now operating as a locum on weekdays and works out of the Western Urgent Care GP Out of Hours Centres at weekends.
“As a practicing medical doctor for over 40 years, I am totally convinced that all of us, or as many of us that is humanly possible, should get vaccinated against Covid-19 to protect not only ourselves but also our families, our friends, our communities and our geographical areas," said Dr Deeny.
"I’ve personally studied and researched the Covid-19 vaccines and whilst, as with all vaccines, a mild reaction can occur, without any shadow of doubt the major risks from Covid-19 infection far outweigh the very minor risks associated with any of the Covid-19 vaccines.
"As I still do GP face-to-face consultations, I’m so pleased and extremely grateful to have now been given the first of my two vaccinations.
"It’s the number of vaccinations administered/received (and not the number of vaccines available) that will achieve the herd immunity that all of humanity desires and so desperately needs as soon as possible. So let’s all do this and then roll on 2021 when we all can, and will, get our normal lives back again."
The vaccination process was a positive, pleasant and uplifting experience, he said.
Explaining the process, Dr Deeny continued: "Every person vaccinated is given a leaflet as well as advised on the minor reactions that can be expected from the vaccine.
"Finally and before leaving the hall, 15 to 20 minutes are spent just resting up and in close proximity to the many helpful health professionals that are there in case of any unforeseen event.
"There were absolutely no problems whatsoever during the time that I spent in Omagh’s Leisure Centre and I understand that this has always been the case in all of vaccination centres across the whole of Northern Ireland since this programme of Covid-19 vaccinations was started."
He stressed the importance of avoiding misinformation about the vaccination online.
"Please, please do not listen to the disgraceful, disgusting and downright dangerous as well as potentially lethal statements being spewed out by the anti-vaccinations and conspiracy theory individuals that are popping up on social media," he said.
"Many of these statements are downright lies. Concerning this Covid-19 vaccination and other vaccinations, these people should not be given the oxygen of publicity and the ‘big bosses’ of the relevant conglomerates or companies should remove their drivel & lies from their social media platforms as soon as possible.
Honestly, if we were to listen to, and believe these lies and so refuse to have our Covid-19 vaccinations, I have no doubt that 2021 will be an even worse year than 2020.
"We now have the tools and weapons to take down this most nasty and very dangerous virus and so return us all to normal living in 2021.
"Thank God for modern-day science and medicine, and thank God for the Covid-19 vaccines that they have produced."