Government health officials have attacked superstar Calvin Harris after he controversially claimed the flu jab is a ‘neurotoxin shot’.
The Scottish DJ, who has 12.7 million followers on Twitter, became embroiled in a row on the social media site after telling them the vaccine contains mercury.
His false allegations were dismissed by various experts, including Mail on Sunday’s resident GP Dr Ellie Cannon, with whom he engaged in a war of words. The posts have since been deleted.
Angry doctors were concerned that his claims may deter millions from getting the flu jab – leaving them vulnerable to the dreaded Aussie flu outbreak that is expected to blight the UK in the coming weeks.
Now Richard Pebody, acting head of respiratory disease at Public Health England, has also addressed the truth behind 33-year-old Harris’ incorrect claims.
The Scottish superstar, who has 12.7 million followers on Twitter, became embroiled in a row on the social media site when he warned that flu jabs contain mercury
Speaking about the false allegations made in the Twitter row earlier this month, Mr Pebody said: ‘All ingredients in the flu vaccine are safe.
‘The main ingredient of any vaccine is the disease-causing virus, bacteria or toxin.
‘But a number of other components are needed to make the final vaccine as safe and effective as possible.’
The blazing battle saw a handful of angry doctors confront Harris’ ‘conspiracy theory’ at the beginning of this month.
The multi-millionaire even claimed that ‘several Government medical papers’ backed him up – only to be shot down by Dr Cannon for his lack of knowledge.
Defending the flu jab
Dr Cannon defended the flu jab in a piece for The Mail on Sunday earlier this month when Katie Hopkins said she wouldn’t let doctors give her son the vaccine.
In the piece, she addressed her social media row with Harris and said his claims are a common misconception driven by a ‘misunderstanding of science’.
‘Some flu vaccines contain thimerosal preservative’, she revealed. The non-toxic compound related to mercury passes harmlessly through the body.
His false allegations were dismissed by various experts, including Mail on Sunday’s resident GP Dr Ellie Cannon, with whom he engaged in the now-deleted battle
Richard Pebody, acting head of respiratory disease at Public Health England, said: ‘All ingredients in the flu vaccine are safe’
Thimerosal, which is present in other vaccines to stop bacterial and fungal growth, isn’t found in the flu jab, Mr Pebody said.
The World Health Organization states there to be ‘no evidence’ to even suggest that the compound poses any kind of health risk.
Dreaded Aussie flu
Health officials are worried about this year’s flu virus, after a particularly aggressive strain blighted the Southern Hemisphere, including Australia and New Zealand.
It is expected the same H3N2 strain will also cause havoc in the UK, as the Northern Hemisphere’s flu season tends to mirror that of its southerly counterparts.
WHAT ELSE DID HARRIS CLAIM?
Harris, famous for his hits Summer, Thinking About You and This Is What You Came For, also tried to diagnose Theresa May in the same Twitter spat.
He suggested that she needed a ‘liver cleanse’ when the Prime Minister coughed at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.
But when doctors stepped in to challenge Harris, he refused to accept their medical understanding – until he deleted the tweets hours later.
Concerns have been raised that it could even pose a similar threat to humanity as the Hong Kong flu in 1968, which killed one million people.
The elderly with their compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible, and a spike in cases among young children has also been shown.
Several experts have warned the jab, made by World Health Organization scientists, won’t match the H3N2 strain because it has evolved.
The vaccines are created in March, based on which flu strains are expected to be in circulation. They are then doled out in September.
The Government urges those deemed at-risk to get their flu jab each winter as part of its immunisation programme which has been running for many years.
But concerns have been raised that the strain is slowly developing immunity to the vaccine, which will be similar to the one given out in the UK.
Flu viruses are constantly changing proteins on their surface to avoid detection by the body’s immune system – making it more deadly.
This transformation is called an ‘antigenic shift’ if it’s large enough, and can lead to a pandemic. This was responsible for the swine flu outbreak in 2009.
The Aussie flu is transforming quickly, but not fast enough for experts to describe it as a shift. However, it is slowly building up immunity.