Can we cure anti-vaxxers’ fear in time for a coronavirus vaccine?

As scientists around the world rush to find a vaccine, age-old fears, scepticism and mistrust are giving a third of Britons pause. Evie Breese speaks to some of the people who would refuse a vaccine, and the health professionals hoping they can change their minds

Monday 24 August 2020 15:21
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Protests against lockdown, masks and vaccines have swept the country
Protests against lockdown, masks and vaccines have swept the country

Ed had never questioned the government. He even voted for them. During the Brexit debate, he was “a bit 50/50”, explaining that in his view, “once we decided we were coming out, I thought that was it. If you live in a democracy, you have to go with the general view.”

When Ed and his family holidayed in Vietnam and Morocco, they didn’t bat an eyelid at the necessary vaccinations. “The biggest issue was how brave (the children) were going to be while having them,” he recalls. “Which turned out to be not very!”

But in recent months, Ed, who is in his fifties and works in social housing, has completely changed his view of the British government. It was after seeing drone footage of people breaking lockdown guidelines in the Peak District, posted online by Derbyshire Police in an act of public shaming, that the Yorkshireman started to feel uncomfortable.

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