has opened up about informing the nation on Good Morning Britain during the pandemic, revealing he was ‘surprised’ by some reactions.
The 69-year-old was a key figure on our screens during the health crisis as the country entered several national lockdowns in order to curb the spread of Covid.
However, despite being a qualified doctor and reporting the facts of the coronavirus, the medic and other broadcasters were often blasted by viewers for ‘scaremongering’, particularly when they called for tougher measures.
Dr Hilary, who is urging Brits to get their flu jabs, told Metro.co.uk he was surprised by the accusations and how quickly misinformation and conspiracy theories about the respiratory disease spread.
He explained: ‘I was aware of the misconceptions and the downright ridiculous conspiracy theories.
‘It was clear that people didn’t trust the science. They didn’t trust doctors, they didn’t trust the government, there was so much mistrust in a small proportion of people, I have to say.
‘[There were] lots of people with not a single O level [qualification] in biology to their name who were ready to tell people how to behave and there were there were some outright dangerous bits of advice that were going around on social media and elsewhere.’
Dr Hilary said, as a medical broadcaster, it was his job to ‘simply state the facts, keep it accurate and to look at the evidence.’
He continued: ‘It’s really important that people look at the qualifications and credentials of people giving the advice that people are exposed to. But yes, I mean, it was a surprise.
‘These pandemics threaten us all and it’s important that we understand the science.’
Dr Hilary, who began appearing on our screens as a TV doctor in 1989, said he was used to receiving strong reactions and backlash from viewers.
He said: ‘We invite people to take part in the program so I suppose we’re giving them carte blanche to give their opinions.
‘What I do find is that people don’t properly listen to the programme; they hear one thing in one ear as they’re making breakfast for the kids or they’re preparing to go to work, and they pick up on something which incenses them and often they don’t really hear the full comprehensive program.
He continued: ‘We invite them in as a family – just like people have discussions and arguments around the family table they think it’s their right to do the same with breakfast TV, which is fine because we need to know what people are thinking. But we also need people to listen and to be a little bit more tolerant of other people’s opinions.’
Dr Hilary is also campaigning for Brits to get their flu jabs ahead of the winter, when the virus tends to spread.
The NHS states the jab is ’ and say it’s ‘important’ for those eligible to get both the free flu vaccine and a Covid-19 booster.
Dr Hilary said it was sensible to ‘take every precaution’ because catching the flu and Covid-19 at the same time is ‘pretty nasty.’