Covid Anti-Vaxxers 'Thrive On Attention' Says Downing Street

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Anti vaccine and anti vaccine pass protesters joined by opponents of Covid 19 restrictions clash with police at Parliament Square. (Photo: SOPA Images via Getty Images)
Anti vaccine and anti vaccine pass protesters joined by opponents of Covid 19 restrictions clash with police at Parliament Square. (Photo: SOPA Images via Getty Images)

Downing Street took a fresh swipe at the anti-vaxxers today, saying they “thrive on the attention”.

It comes after the prime minister last week made his strongest intervention yet, accusing anti-vaccine campaigners of speaking “mumbo jumbo” over coronavirus jabs.

Asked if we could expect more rhetoric from ministers laying into the anti-vaxxers, Boris Johnson’s spokesman replied: “I think it’s important, as Professor Whitty has said before, there is a balance to be struck between not giving oxygen to those anti-vaxxers who thrive on the attention.

“But it is important to note that those individuals that are refusing to get vaccinated, they [are] putting themselves at risk and we have the hard data to back that up and they’re putting others at risk as well.

“So the approach we are taking in this country is to provide reassurance and answer questions for those that have genuine concerns, those that might be hesitant, and we’ve been largely successful in that approach.

“That’s indeed why we have among the highest levels of vaccine enthusiasm of any country in the world.”

Last week Johnson said those spreading false information on social media were “totally wrong” and it was time for him “to call them out”.

Some European countries are making vaccination mandatory, however the UK is maintaining a voluntary approach.

Watch: COVID-19: Boris Johnson attacks anti-vax 'mumbo jumbo' as minister says Omicron peak will be over 'relatively soon'

But from April, front-line NHS staff in England will need to have the Covid jab - or be moved to another role.

It comes as the Archbishop of Canterbury today urged people to get vaccinated “to look after their neighbours”.

Justin Welby said that, while he is not in favour of compulsory jabs, he believed in an approach of encouraging and incentivising as opposed to condemning those who have not yet had the vaccine.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think we need to be encouraging rather than condemnatory, because condemning people doesn’t do much good, apart from anything else, but also it increases the general sense of anger that comes at a time of insecurity and fear and grief.

“I think we need to be encouraging to people to look after their neighbours.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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