Edinburgh residents have been urged by officials to be wary of ‘very worrying’ Covid-19 leaflets being delivered door-to-door in the capital.
The leaflet was bought to our attention by a concerned resident of the Dumbiedykes area of the city, who is part of our Ferret Underground network.
They received the leaflet through their door on April 4 and contacted us after spotting it had no named contact or organisation detailed.
The Edinburgh resident, who has asked not to be named, said: “At first I took it to be an election leaflet, since we’ve had a few through in the last week or so.
“I thought it looked so professionally produced it must be a professional campaign with some serious money behind it. I expected to be able to see clearly which organisation it was from but I couldn’t.”
“Concerned this is the next campaign of misinformation in the lead up to the May elections. Who is behind it?”
The anonymous leaflet, which The Ferret has decided not to publish, promotes a number of common conspiracy theories linked to Covid-19.
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It encourages people to “take the time to study” three websites that carry misleading content about Covid-19.
The sites share unproven treatments for the virus, as well as fringe views on the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines and common public health responses that seek to keep people safe.
Two of the three websites also ask readers for money.
After seeing the leaflet, MP for the area Tommy Sheppard said: “This leaflet is very worrying.
“It undermines confidence and seeks to encourage folk to break the necessary restrictions. Even worse, it is aimed at putting people off getting the vaccine.
“This will cost lives. There’s no doubt that the vaccines work. The side effects are negligible. The risk is minimal. Get the jab. Get both doses.”
Katie Dee, interim director of public health at NHS Lothian, urged people to visit official websites for accurate information on Covid-19.
“Having access to accurate information is vitally important in enabling individuals to make informed decisions about their own health, or the health of people they care for,” she said.
“It is therefore deeply concerning that leaflets containing inaccurate information and false claims about Covid-19 are being circulated across parts of Lothian.
“The public is reminded that information about Covid-19 is available on nhsinform.scot, Scotland’s national health information service.”
Official data shows that at least 16,600 people have contracted Covid-19 in the City of Edinburgh council area alone, since the start of the pandemic.
600 people have died from Covid-19 in the capital to date.
Have you seen misleading Covid-19 information in your neighbourhood? Let our fact-check team know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: iStock/PhotoLondonUK