A County Durham town councillor has apologised after a Facebook post in which she compared the coronavirus vaccination programme to atrocities carried out by Nazis.
Irene Hewitson, an Independent member of Great Aycliffe Town Council who represents the Byerley Park, Horndale & Cobblers Hall ward, made the comment on her personal Facebook page on Friday night.
She wrote: “Just read that the government are paying for taxis, to take the elderly to go for the vaccine,, how kind,, same kind of gesture that the Nazis gave the Jews, free train ride to the gas chambers.”
Her comments caused upset, with one woman saying it was a “downright disgrace”.
The woman wrote on Facebook: “To compare a vaccine to the atrocities that the Jewish went through at the hands of the Nazis is a downright disgrace. Give your head a shake.”
Mrs Hewitson has since apologised for causing any offence with her comment about Nazis but says she believes the vaccines are dangerous.
She told ChronicleLive that she made the comments in a personal capacity and not as a councillor.
She added: “I do apologise if I have upset anyone or if people were offended. But I was trying to make a point about the vaccines.
“They are giving elderly people a vaccine that hasn’t been around for long and the makers have said they won’t compensate anyone if they die or get ill. It’s just absolutely terrible. People need to wake up and see what’s going on in the world.
“They are sending vulnerable people to their deaths, that’s the point I was trying to make.”
She further added: “These are my own personal views and I’m not speaking as a councillor.”
Mrs Hewitson later followed up her statement with another post on Facebook on Saturday, regretting the fact she made the Nazi comparison but still showing her opposition to the jabs.
She wrote: “My statement about elderly going for the vaccine, has once again upset people who can’t see what’s happening. My heart goes out to the suffering of the Jews, and all the torment and torture they suffered, there’s not a day goes by that any of us could ever forget it, maybe I shouldn’t have made that comparison.
“But in my eyes, taking vulnerable people for a vaccine that could potentially kill them or leave them with lasting illnesses, and if they suffer adverse reactions, not allowing their families to be around to care for them in the last years of their lives, it’s barbaric.
“The deaths will be put down as Covid deaths, bump them numbers up, all the ones in care homes with DNR stuck in their notes, without family being aware, the majority of them won’t even know what they are going for.
“When a vaccine maker says they won’t accept any responsibility for any ill effects, anyone with an ounce of sense surely won’t risk it, these vulnerable elderly aren’t allowed family round to feed and care for them, but strangers can take them for a vaccine, the world has gone mad.
“I apologise to anyone who might be upset by that comment , but I also apologise to all the vulnerable elderly left alone all year without family to love and care for them too, cos people are just sitting back letting this all happen, and stalking every word that comes out of MY mouth, My opinion, not the opinion of any council or councillor, so can you all get over that I’m speaking as me, a person with my opinion.”
Earlier this year, Mrs Hewitson made claims that Covid-19 was a ‘fake virus’. Her comments came during an anti-lockdown protest held at Market Place in Durham city centre in October.
The North East entered Tier 4 restrictions at one minute past midnight on New Year’s Eve.
According to latest data, County Durham has three areas with the highest rate of infection in the region in the seven days leading up to December 27.
Ouston and Beamish has the highest rate of infection, with 606.0 per 100,000 of population according to Public Health England figures.
High Shincliffe and Bowburn have the second highest rate with 600.5, while Coxhoe and Quarrington Hill has the third highest rate at 587.0.
Medics have warned the North is set for a new wave of Covid-19 as the “hugely” more infectious mutant strain continues to spread.