HEREFORDSHIRE health experts say Covid-19 vaccines will be safe when they are finally rolled out.

Ross-on-Wye GP Simon Lennane said the jab will be first offered to those people who are most at risk of dying from the disease.

Speaking live on a Facebook event organised by Ross-on-Wye Community Development Trust, he said the vaccines are currently going through a rigorous tests.

“It’s very important that we know the vaccination is safe,” he said.

“For any medical intervention we are trying to weigh up the risks against the benefits.

“Vaccines are generally very, very safe. It’s going to take a while before we get a lot of experience with this.

“But these vaccines are already in phase three trials and are being tested.

“People have been having them for months and they will only be released if there are no signs of serious side effects from it and if they are effective.

“It’s not a question about being guinea pigs. We are very grateful to volunteers who have been true guinea pigs for the initial studies because they are going ahead for us to check these things are safe.

“At present we believe the vaccination to be safe. I am certainly going to have it when it comes out.”

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Herefordshire’s public health director Karen Wright said a vaccine will not be released until it meets safety standards.

“In terms of vaccinations there are safety processes in place,” she said.

“I will be making sure my mum gets her vaccine as she’s in that age group that would.

“And will certainly be having mine.”

Dr Lennane said the vaccine will be rolled out to people at highest risk first as they are the ones that will get the most benefit.

“It’s likely to go to people with chronic conditions and the elderly first of all.

“It will then be progressively rolled out to younger and younger people as more stock comes online.

“We are preparing for a huge vaccination program. We are hoping it won’t be long before we have the vaccine and can begin delivering them.”

Dr Lenanne also said there are no plans mandatory vaccination.

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“We would encourage people to have it, particularly in the at-risk population.

“But I’m not aware of any plans for mandatory vaccination and people will have their own reasons.

“What I don’t want is to be in a situation where there is misinformation around it.

“That has been one of the issues during the coronavirus pandemic where people have been pushing out things that aren’t necessarily based in the evidence.”

Ms Wright said it was important that evidence based accurate information is shared.