Ben HaywardJuly 23rd
2020

The Prime Minister has openly criticised anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists during a visit to a GP’s surgery.

Speaking to nurses at the surgery in London, Boris Johnson described the anti-vaxxer community as ‘nuts’. 

His statement comes following the government announcing that it wants 30 million people to receive the flu jab this year fear amid fears that the NHS could come under unsustainable pressure this winter if it has to treat a peak in flu cases at the same time as a second Covid-19 wave.

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The newly publicised plan for free jabs for the over 50s and under 11s will form part of the largest ever flu vaccination programme carried out in the UK, reports The Independent

There are also concerns a bad flu season could hamper the NHS track and trace service, making it harder to identify patients suffering from coronavirus.

However, there are mounting fears that anti-vax campaigners could frighten people into rejecting inoculation despite many, many studies showing it to be safe.

Concerns come after the results of a new poll, organised by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, found that over one in four Britons said they would not take a coronavirus vaccine or were still undecided.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that 'conspiracy theorists’ are putting people’s lives at risk as he spoke about the positive results of a trial of a new coronavirus vaccine, produced in Oxford. 

“Those who promulgate lies about vaccines that are safe and have been approved, they are threatening lives,” he told MPs.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, echoed Mr Hancock’s feelings, also criticising what he described as the ‘poisonous anti-vax propaganda’.

This isn’t the first time Mr Hancock has spoken out against the anti-vax community.

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Last year the health secretary warned that parents who refuse to vaccinate their children could risk having them turned away from school.

Mr Hancock refused to rule out the move after Unicef data showed that over 500,000 children in the UK have not had the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination with cases of measles nearly quadrupling in England over the preceding twelve months.

Appearing on TalkRadio, Mr Hancock also hit out at fake stories and blamed social media for its role in the spread of the anti-vaccination movement.

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He said: “I'm not relaxed about this at all. One of the things I am particularly worried about is the spread of anti-vaccination messages online. Vaccination is safe, it's very, very important for the public health - for everybody's health - and we're going to tackle it."

When asked if banning unvaccinated children from school was being considered Mr Hancock replied: “I wouldn't rule out anything but I don't think we're there yet.

"In America they tried to do this and the courts stopped them so it can be complicated, but really it's people's responsibility as a parent to do the right thing - the right thing for their own children as well as, of course, the right of the community that everybody lives in.”

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