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Boris Johnson says anti-vaxxers are ‘nuts’ during visit to GP surgery

Prime minister made the comments as he met nurses at a GP surgery 

Kate Devlin
Whitehall Editor
Friday 24 July 2020 11:08 BST
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(Reuters)

Boris Johnson has hit out at anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists describing them as “nuts”.

The government has announced that it wants 30 million people to get a flu jab, as the NHS prepares for a possible second wave of Covid-19 later this year.

The plans for free jabs for the over 50s and under 11s are part of what will be the largest ever flu vaccination programme carried out in the UK.

But there are fears campaigners could frighten people into rejecting inoculation, even when studies have shown it is safe.

Scientists are also working around the clock to try to develop a vaccine against Covid-19.

But a new poll, organised by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, found more than one in four Britons said they would not take a coronavirus vaccine or were still undecided.

The prime minister talked of anti-vaxxers, as they are known as, saying “they are nuts” as he spoke to nurses at a GP surgery in London.

Earlier this week health secretary Matt Hancock warned that conspiracy theorists were putting lives at risk as hailed positive results in a trial on a new coronavirus vaccine.

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

He was backed by shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, who hit out at what he described as “poisonous anti-vax propaganda”.

Ministers want to give around half the population a flu vaccine later this year.

They fear the NHS could come under unsustainable pressure this winter if forced to treat a peak in flu cases at the same times as large numbers of Covid-19 cases.

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.

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