Labour council leader told to resign after spreading ‘misinformation’ about Covid vaccine

James Daly says there is no vaccine supply issue in Bury

Cllr Eamonn O’Brien is facing calls stand down after he claimed the Government was “restricting and limiting vaccine supply in the next couple of weeks”. The Labour leader of Bury council said the council was only receiving “40 percent of what we know we can deliver” for this week and there was uncertainty as to how many doses of the jab would be delivered next week.

In a video shared on social media Mr O’Brien said the situation was “unacceptable” and called on residents of Bury to demand the Government “give us the vaccine”.

However, the NHS has rejected claims of a shortage on the supply of the coronavirus antidote to Bury.

A senior official at NHS England told local MP James Daly: “Having spoken with Bury CCG colleagues on January 12, we are unaware of any supply issues in Bury.

“Within Bury, they have their 4th primary care network designated site at Ramsbottom Civic Hall going live this week.

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“Furthermore, there is significant additional vaccine stock already planned for further deliveries to the existing sites next week.”

Despite the NHS confirming there were no issues with supply on Tuesday, yesterday the Bury North Labour Party claimed victory and said the Government had increased the number of doses available to the local area thanks to their campaigning.

The group said: “After raising merry hell on Tuesday about the proposed cut in Bury’s vaccine supply, we are very pleased to hear today that the government will be increasing our allocation of vaccines for the week ahead.”

The local Tory Party has accused Mr O’Brien of causing unnecessary panic and alarm during a global pandemic.

They are demanding the council leader apologise for his video and consider resigning.

Cllr Nick Jones, Leader of Bury Conservative Group said: “Local leaders need to ensure that they are in possession of the full facts before they share scaremongering stories that could affect the most vulnerable people in our society.

“Whilst a clarification has been posted by Bury Labour just this afternoon, this simply doubles down on the misinformation that was shared yesterday.

“We need to work together to support our excellent frontline workers and ensure this vaccine is rolled out as smoothly as possible, and Cllr O’Brien and Bury Labour have significantly undermined the hard work going on to vaccinate all priority groups by the end of February.

“Cllr O’Brien’s actions over the past 24 hours have fallen well short of the standards expected in public life, and as such he should make an immediate apology and consider if he should continue as Leader of Bury Council at such a critical time for our borough.”

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Mr O’Brien has been Bury council leader since last May, and is already Labour’s third leader of the council in under two years.

The Government has set an ambitious target of getting all four groups of the most vulnerable in England – care home residents, residential care workers, over 80s, and health care workers – inoculated by February 4.

Health Secretary said the NHS was on track to meet the deadline, after which the Government can begin to consider relaxing lockdown restrictions.

Once the four most vulnerable groups have been immunised, deaths from Covid are expected to drop by 88 percent.

The figure will drop by a further 11 percent once all over-50s have been given a vaccine, which the Government hopes to do by the end of April.

Yesterday the UK recorded a record high number of deaths for coronavirus within 24 hours.

On January 13, a further 1,564 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were register.

Bury North MP has praised the rollout of the vital jab in his constituency, saying: “Everybody in the NHS, whether that be GPs, pharmacists, healthcare workers, or everybody involved with the council, are doing a fantastic job of getting local people vaccinated.”

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