Prince William warns social media is 'awash' with coronavirus vaccine misinformation

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·5-min read
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made calls to vulnerable families to speak about the vaccine. (Kensington Palace)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made calls to vulnerable families to speak about the vaccine. (Kensington Palace)

Prince William has warned that social media is "awash" with coronavirus vaccine misinformation as he thanked people from vulnerable groups for stepping up to get their jabs.

William, 38, and his wife Kate, 39, called clinically vulnerable families and heard about their experience of shielding and having the vaccine.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke to Fiona Doyle, who has asthma, and Shivali Modha, who has type 2 diabetes, and their families on Tuesday, in calls which were released on Saturday. 

The two women have been eligible for the vaccine as they are in priority group six in the UK wide rollout.

During the call, the duke urged people to keep getting the vaccine when it's their turn so that "younger generations" will feel “it’s really important for them to have it”.

And he warned about "rumours and misinformation" on social media. 

Shivali Modha (front left), Hiren Modha (front right) and their daughters Shyaama (top left) and Jyoti (top right) spoke to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge about vaccines. (Kensington Palace)
Shivali Modha (front left), Hiren Modha (front right) and their daughters Shyaama (top left) and Jyoti (top right) spoke to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge about vaccines. (Kensington Palace)

Mrs Modha, from Barnet, north-west London, revealed she had been worried about the jab after seeing some things on social media, but had been reassured by vaccinated family members and medics from the charity Diabetes UK.

William told her: “Catherine and I are not medical experts by any means but if it’s any consolation, we can wholeheartedly support having vaccinations. It’s really, really important.

“We’ve spoken to a lot of people about it and the uptake has been amazing so far. We’ve got to keep it going so the younger generations also feel that it’s really important for them to have it.

“So it’s great that Shivali you’re taking the time to work it out and come to the conclusion that ‘I need to do this’ because social media is awash sometimes with lots of rumours and misinformation, so we have to be a bit careful who we believe and where we get our information from.

“Especially for those who are clinically vulnerable as well, it’s so important that those vaccinations are done, so good luck.”

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Joined on the call by her her husband Hiren and their daughters Shyaama, 11, and Jyoti, nine, Mrs Modha said: "I guess it’s just the unknown and I think that’s the case for most people. It’s just something that is unknown right now. And by the time you’ve had it, it will be A-OK."

She added: “I think it’s important that we now move forward and I’m hopeful that more and more people do realise how important it is that they get their vaccination. 

"And how lucky we are that we’re even able to access it... Just like this condition, this virus, the idea of this vaccination is new. But the more people that get it you realise that actually it is helpful.”

Kate told her: “I hope it comes as a huge relief in the end. I know there’s maybe the anxiety and the worry leading up to it, but I hope for all of you it will add a bit of normality back to your lives and confidence as well as we go forward into the spring, that would be great.”

Thanking the duke and duchess for calling, Mrs Modha told them: “It’s really nice to have you in our home, I wish I could offer you a cup of tea!”

“Same here!” laughed Kate.

Fiona Doyle and her daughter Ciara spoke to William and Kate about the vaccine. (Kensington Palace)
Fiona Doyle and her daughter Ciara spoke to William and Kate about the vaccine. (Kensington Palace)

Doyle, 37, was joined on the call by her daughter Ciara, seven, who have been shielding at home in East Finchley, north London.

She said Asthma UK had been a "source of support" for her as they dealt with shielding. 

Asked by William how she felt about getting the jab she said: "I can’t wait! I’m priority group six, so any day now I’m really hoping to get called up.”

“I think I’m trying to not see it as a magic cure. I’m not going to go out licking lampposts or anything straight away!”

William laughed as he replied: “Did you used to do that before?”

“I’m probably going to do what I do normally,” said Doyle. 

“I’ll still wear my mask, I’ll still keep my hand gel, still social distance.

“But it’s nice to know that mentally you have that layer of protection and that if you do end up being unfortunate enough to catch it, it won’t be as severe as it might have been without having been vaccinated.”

During her call, Doyle said: “I have always been somebody who truly believes in vaccines, and I truly believe in science and medicine. I think that it’s the best way to look ahead to have a much brighter future and go back to normality. 

"I really hope that as many people as possible, when they get called up for it, take it."

The Cambridges have not yet had their vaccines but William has said he will when it's his turn. (Kensington Palace)
The Cambridges have not yet had their vaccines but William has said he will when it's his turn. (Kensington Palace)

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The Royal Family has been supporting the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, with the Queen even making a rare personal comment about receiving hers.

The Queen, 94, said it "didn't hurt at all" as she urged people to "think of others" when considering if they should get their vaccine.

And it was revealed that Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, has been volunteering delivering the vaccine with St John Ambulance.

Prince Charles and Camilla have also been making visits to coronavirus vaccine facilities, with Camilla particularly expressing her wish to see her grandchildren again, and the role vaccinations will play in that. 

Diabetes UK and Asthma UK along with other health charities in the country have joined together to promote vaccine uptake among vulnerable people. 

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