A scientist from East Lancashire is aiming to dispel some of the Covid-19 myths currently circulating on the internet while also promoting the benefits of vaccinations.

Dr Daniel Patten is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy at the University of Birmingham.

Earlier in the year, the 33-year-old, who is originally from Colne, volunteered for the national Covid-19 testing efforts, working for a number of weeks in the country’s first ‘lighthouse lab’ in Milton Keynes.

And now, he is taking to social media to try and better inform the general public of the importance of the Covid-19 vaccines and the benefits of vaccination in general.

Lancashire Telegraph: Dr Daniel Patten Dr Daniel Patten

Dr Patten said: “In order to begin the process of bringing the Covid-19 pandemic to an end, it is vital that as many people as possible make the choice to get vaccinated when offered the jab.

“However, there is currently a bewildering array of information and a number of worrying myths being circulated on the internet, particularly on social media, which means that a large majority of people are extremely hesitant in their confidence of the vaccine(s).

“In my 15 plus years as a scientist, I have learned to digest large amounts of complex information, confirm the reliability and validity of that information, and then accurately summarise it to others in a way that makes it understandable to non-scientists.

“Using these skills, I have written a paper to better inform people of the scientific facts behind the Covid-19 vaccines and dispel some of myths being spread.”

Dr Patten says that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine currently being rolled out in the UK has been developed and approved for use in just 10 months and, as this process normally takes 10 or more years, has caused a high level of concern in regards to its safety.

Lancashire Telegraph: Dr Daniel Patten Dr Daniel Patten

However, he explains that the Covid-19 vaccine has gone through the exactly same level of research and safety testing procedures that it would do under normal circumstances.

He continued: "The technology used in Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine has actually been in development for a number of years already and has simply been ‘repurposed’ to focus on preventing Covid-19, thus considerably speeding up the research process.

“Also, the fact that these vaccines have been prioritised worldwide means that significant funding has been made available to drive the research forwards on an accelerated timeline.

“Furthermore, the clinical trials, which test the vaccines on tens of thousands of people, were significantly streamlined, as much of the ‘empty time’ normally spent recruiting volunteers or applying for funding was considerably condensed to expedite the process.”

Another major concern being expressed on social media, that Dr Patten is quick to debunk, is that the current vaccine(s) will no longer be effective against the new variant or mutant strain of the Covid-19 virus, which has recently emerged in the UK.

Explaining that this is not necessarily the case, he adds: “The new Covid-19 variant has a series of mutations in the spike protein, the part of the virus that the majority of the vaccines are using to trigger an immune response.

“However, the body’s immune system will recognise multiple ‘sites’ on the Covid-19 spike protein, and the vaccine(s) will elicit immunological memory to each of them.

“A number of these sites are unaltered in the new variant; therefore, the immunological memory generated in response to the current Covid-19 vaccine(s) should still remain highly effective against the new variant.”

Mr Patten's full paper discusses these and other common myths in further detail and can be viewed by visiting: drdanpatten.wordpress.com