ITV’s Lorraine Kelly and Dr Hillary Jones have been blasted by Ofcom after broadcasting fake vaccine information to millions of viewers in December.
The broadcaster was told to take “greater care” after Dr Hilary Jones falsely claimed that up to 90% of COVID-19 hospital admissions were people who had not been vaccinated.
The ‘Lorraine’ programme attracted 3,833 complaints from viewers over a discussion about the number of unvaccinated Covid-19 patients in hospital.
The segment, on December 6 2021, saw host Lorraine Kelly and resident medical expert Dr Hilary – dubbed ‘Dr Shillary’ encourage viewers to accept the offer of a coronavirus vaccination.
Dr Hilary said: “Those people who haven’t been vaccinated, we’d really love you to think again and be vaccinated because 90% of people in hospital are unvaccinated right now with Covid.”
A clarification was broadcast on the show two days later, explaining the statistic related to patients in intensive care units rather than the proportion of unvaccinated Covid-19 patients in hospital.
On Monday, media watchdog Ofcom ruled it would not be launching a formal investigation, but has issued ITV with guidance.
In a statement, Ofcom said: “This programme incorrectly referenced the proportion of unvaccinated Covid-19 patients in hospital.”
“We have told ITV that greater care should be taken by trusted medical experts when presenting facts and figures on public health issues.”
“However, given official statistics and research have consistently shown that vaccination against Covid-19 offers greater protection against serious health consequences, we do not consider that the error was sufficient to materially mislead viewers on this main point of discussion.”
ITV declined to comment.