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Devi Sridhar blunders (again)

Channel 4

The antics of Scottish Covid advisor Devi Sridhar have been one of the few bright spots throughout the pandemic. During the last fifteen months, Sridhar has become something of a pin-up girl to the SNP’s online army of so-called ‘cybernats.’

This has been due to her repeated jibes at the Westminster government, her demands for more power which Holyrood already had and her effusive praise for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘wise words’ and ‘strong leadership’. Not to mention of course her suggestion that an independent Scotland would have done better against Covid.

More seriously, Sridhar has also been accused of spreading misinformation about the Oxford vaccine. Back in March, as government ministers on both sides of the border sought to dispel scepticism over the AstraZeneca jab, Sridhar appeared to cast doubt on its effectiveness. 

Arguing for a blanket international quarantine, Sridhar tweeted that ‘our main vaccine (AZ) doesn’t work against’ the South African Covid variant, even though the evidence was clear by that point that the jab was working to cut hospitalisations and deaths, while being less effective against milder symptoms. Sridhar’s response? To block anyone who pointed this out online.

Now Sridhar has managed to combine doubts about her impartiality with her penchant for social media gaffes. Sridhar claimed on Tuesday that ‘unionist bots’ were trying to ‘discredit’ her – somewhat redundant, given the professor’s own action online. Following an online backlash she has now deleted her tweet which claimed: ‘The reassuring daily consistency of unionist bots & trolling. You get a shout-out in my book – don’t worry. Your creative efforts to discredit & spread misinformation haven’t gone unnoticed.’

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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