Parents angered at ‘syringe pens’ distributed by Peterborough City Council aimed at promoting Covid vaccines to youngsters

Some parents have expressed anger and concern at promotional pens commissioned by Peterborough City Council.

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 5:57 am
The pens commissioned by Peterborough City Council

Green highlighter pens shaped like syringes have been used by Peterborough City Council to promote vaccine take up in the 12-16 age bracket. The pens have caused a stir with parents and residents.

Some have described the pens as ‘horrifying’ and ‘distasteful’ and have suggested they could be mistaken for drug paraphernalia.

Concerned resident Phillipa Millard had raised the issue of the pens with her ward councillor. 
She said: “My issue is that these are aimed at 12-16 year olds to persuade them to get the vaccine.

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“I work in the city centre and I know how bad the drug problem is there.

“We have a lot of issues with drug abuse and having to clear up needles is a daily occurance, giving these away sends the wrong message.

This sort of marketing, in light of that, is bizarre.

“They aren’t even recyclable. They are distasteful and grotesque. It’s the most offensive thing I’ve seen.”

Phillipa, who works in retail, said her staff were ‘horrified by them’ and wouldn’t use them. #When contacted, Peterborough City Council confirmed they have pulled the promotion aimed at younger people.

A city council spokeswoman said: “As Covid infection rates are beginning to rise even faster in Peterborough than in other parts of the country, putting us back into the top 20 of highest rates in England this week, we have to redouble our efforts to get as many people as possible to get their vaccinations. This is the single biggest thing that we can do to reduce rates of Covid-19 in Peterborough, keeping our essential public services running, our economy open and us all free from restrictions and serious illness.

“The pens were just one way that we were trying to attract younger people to say yes to the vaccine – but this promotion has now finished.”

Peterborough City Council were asked of the cost of the pens and if they had received any similar negative feedback to the campaign but did not provide a response to this.