London Assembly member has been accused of spreading anti-vaccination propaganda after encouraging people not to take the Covid-19 jab.
In a tweet David Kurten accused the “MSM” — mainstream media — of downplaying any side effects of the jab, and said he would not be taking it.
It is thought Mr Kurten, who earns almost £60,000 a year as an assembly member for the Heritage Party, was referring to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which has been approved for use in countries including the UK and the US after regulators found it was 95 per cent effective.
His comments were roundly criticised by fellow London politicians including Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, who described them as “irresponsible and reckless”.
In his tweet on Monday, Mr Kurten said: “I will not be taking an experimental Covid vaccine and I am not recommending it.”
In safety trials, the US Food and Drug Agency found the proportion of those receiving the Pfizer jab to suffer “serious adverse effects” was 0.6 per cent, compared to 0.5 per cent in the placebo group.
Earlier this month, people in the UK with a history of significant allergic reactions were advised against receiving the Pfizer vaccine, and similar guidance has been issued in the US.
Len Duvall, leader of the Labour Group on the London Assembly, said Mr Kurten, a former chemistry teacher, was “acting irresponsibly”.
He told the Standard: “What about the tens of thousands of people who have lost their lives and the thousands more who will die if they do not take the vaccine?
“No one is being forced to have the vaccine and freedom of choice is important. But he should keep his views to himself rather than thinking he knows best rather than the experts.”
Mr Bailey said: “I am horrified by this tweet spreading anti-vac propaganda across Twitter. This is irresponsible and reckless – and most importantly this puts both lives and livelihoods at risk.
“We must all play our part in defeating this virus. The vaccine allows us to get Covid-19 under control, and allows us to get our economy moving again.”
On December 21 Boris Johnson revealed that more than 500,000 people in the UK had received the Pfizer vaccine.
Mr Kurten is a former UKIP Parliamentary candidate who left the group in January to found the Heritage Party. The Standard has tried to contact him for comment.
The Heritage Party’s website reads: “We stand for free speech and liberty, traditional family values and financial responsibility.”
According to the Government’s Covid dashboard there were 21,286 people in hospital with coronavirus on December 22. This is slightly less than the 21,683 recorded on April 12.
The 7,918 calls received by London Ambulance Service (LAS) on December 26 was up more than 2,500 on the 5,217 received on the same day last year, and medics are receiving support from other ambulance services in the South.
LAS said in a statement: “Like NHS organisations across the country, demand for our services has risen sharply over the past weeks and we are now taking up to 8,000 999 calls a day compared to 5,500 on a typical ‘busy’ day.
“Our colleagues in emergency departments are also under pressure receiving our patients as quickly as they can.”