PUBLIC health bosses have revealed a concerted campaign of positivity is being used to build confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the Covid vaccines, amid concerns over the take-up.

Darlington public health principal Ken Ross said positive action was needed to counter the large volume of “crazy” misinformation which had been spread across ethnic communities in the borough by members of those communities.

Mr Ross was speaking after a national study last month found while over 90 per cent of adults in Britain have received or would be likely to accept the Covid-19 vaccine if offered, there was much greater vaccine hesitancy among people from ethnic minorities, including black, Bangladeshi and Pakistani populations.

A report in the British Medical Journal said the most common reasons for hesitancy are concerns about side effects and the long-term effects on health, and lack of trust in vaccines.

It stated: “Some have capitalised on these concerns to spread misinformation, adding to the historical mistrust of government and public health bodies that runs deep in some ethnic minority groups.”

Mr Ross told a meeting of the council’s health and housing scrutiny committee public health bosses recognised a lot of the reasons why some groups of individuals and communities were not having the vaccine was because they are not confident in the vaccine.

He said: “The amount of misinformation that been circulated by groups within their community - we need to start tackling that in a more positive way rather than try to directly address some of the crazy things that have been put forward.”

The meeting heard the launch of a mass vaccination centre last week at the Northern Echo Arena was helping as members of different communities attending for a jab had agreed to be filmed sharing their views.

The meeting heard public health officials use of more positive language seemed to be making a difference and written advice had been produced in a number of languages.

Mr Ross said: “Undoubtedly there is still more work to do to make sure they have the same opportunity to be vaccinated and their concerns are addressed in a respectful and open way so they have the confidence to come forward.”