Leading anti-vaxxer finally admits COVID is real after being taken to ICU with virus

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MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Piers Corbyn speaks as protesters forcibly enter the theatre to protest against cashless transactions and vaccine passports joined by Piers Corbyn on December 29, 2021 in Milton Keynes, England. Protesters are demonstrating against further Covid restrictions and perceived medical apartheid with a march to Milton Keynes main shopping centre. (Photo by Martin Pope/Getty Images)
John O'Looney was due to appear at the 'Freedom Rally' event in Milton Keynes alongside Piers Corbyn. (Getty)

A leading British anti-vaxxer has admitted COVID is real after being taken to an intensive care unit (ICU) with the virus.

Funeral director John O'Looney, 53, had claimed coronavirus was “just a common cold” and refused to be vaccinated.

He was due to appear at the 'Freedom Rally' event in Milton Keynes last Wednesday, alongside fellow anti-vaxxer Piers Corbyn, where protesters stormed a pantomime and NHS test site.

But O'Looney could not attend after being struck down with COVID last month and hospitalised. 

In a written statement to his followers, shared last Friday, he admitted the virus was “an enemy to face”.

He wrote: "I was initially sceptical about COVID but I can confirm its validity and it is very nasty.”

Read more: Unvaccinated student, 22, 'had to learn to walk and talk again' after COVID coma

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Piers Corbyn speaks to protesters as they gather on December 29, 2021 in Milton Keynes, England. Protesters are demonstrating against further Covid restrictions with a march to Milton Keynes main shopping centre. (Photo by Martin Pope/Getty Images)
Piers Corbyn speaks to protesters as they gathered last Wednesday. (Getty)

O'Looney, from Milton Keynes, remained sceptical about vaccines despite his stay in hospital, questioning the need for “endless bouts of injections”.

He claimed doctors offered him a trial drug to help him recover but he "declined and stuck to my guns" before discharging himself against doctors' advice.

The funeral director has become a figurehead for anti-vaxxers with his social media videos that make unproven claims about the pandemic and vaccines.

In a video shared with followers just weeks before he was hospitalised with COVID, he falsely claimed that the Omicron variant was just a cold.

He said: "We're in winter and there are colds and flus about at this time of the year. These people [who have been vaccinated] can't fight it off. The government were very quick to label it as Omicron, a new variant."

Read more: COVID cases in over 60s rise sharply in England

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: A protester grabs medical equipment as anti-vaccine protesters disrupt the Covid-19 testing centre on December 29, 2021 in Milton Keynes, England. Protesters are demonstrating against further Covid restrictions and perceived medical apartheid with a march to Milton Keynes main shopping centre. (Photo by Martin Pope/Getty Images)
A protester grabs medical equipment as anti-vaccine protesters disrupt a COVID-19 testing centre. (Getty)

O'Looney also falsely claimed COVID-19 vaccines stop immune systems from fighting off the Omicron variant and compared this alleged effect to chemotherapy, a treatment for cancer that can hinder immunity due to reducing white blood cells produced by the bone marrow.

Comparisons of the effects that vaccines and chemotherapy have on the immune system are not based in fact.

COVID-19 vaccines do not weaken immune systems and leave recipients more susceptible to the common cold or flu.

Corbyn and other anti-vaxxers stormed a pantomime show at the Milton Keynes Theatre on Wednesday in the latest “freedom” stunt.

There was also an anti-vaccination protest at a test and trace centre in Milton Keynes on the same day.

Dozens of marchers entered the facility and appeared to damage testing equipment in videos shared on social media.

O’Looney and Corbyn were among a group of anti-vaxxers who filed a case at the International Criminal Court (ICC) last month, making unfounded claims COVID vaccines were deadly and part of a great conspiracy, the Telegraph reported.

Watch: Piers Corbyn breathes fire at Downing Street anti-lockdown protest

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