Matt Hancock hits out at ‘dangerous’ anti-vaxxers and says he received death threats over jab rollout

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Watch: Matt Hancock's coronavirus pandemic controversies

Matt Hancock has revealed he received death threats from anti-vaxxers over the government's Covid jab rollout.

The former health secretary, who resigned after breaking coronavirus rules during an alleged affair with an aide, made the claim in an article describing opponents of vaccines as "blinkered and dangerous" and "miserable anti-scientific gloomsters".

He added that anti-vaxxers were trying to stop the progress made over the last nine months and urged everybody who has not yet been vaccinated to "do the right thing and get the jab".

"I'm incredibly grateful to each and every person who got the jab because they have played their part and made Covid so much easier to manage," he wrote in the Mail on Sunday.

However, almost unbelievably, there is still a persistent yet thankfully small and shrinking group of people determined to try to stop this progress. In all my time in public life, I have never come across a group so blinkered and dangerous as the anti-vaxxers."

He added: "The people I reserve my vitriol for are those who promote anti-vax lies. I find it hard to believe, but it's a shocking fact that there is a small number of aggressive, noisy, threatening people who think it is right and fair to try to stop others from getting vaccinated.

Watch: Professor Chris Whitty slams anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists

"The lengths to which these people will go are extraordinary. They pump out scaremongering material and videos, with discredited arguments. They try to play on people's fear of the unknown. They create conspiracies and spread misinformation. They've even sent me death threats just because I played a prominent part in the vaccines rollout.

"Thankfully, they are losing the argument. The overwhelming number of people who've had the jab is testament to that."

Mr Hancock said getting the jab was "a social and moral obligation" and called on the public to persuade their unvaccinated friends with science and "reassuring facts".

"I understand that some people are hesitant," he wrote. "It's ok to be unsure and ask questions. But vaccinations have been available to all adults for months now. The evidence that they work is overwhelming.

"Yes, you can get a sore arm or a headache for a day or two. But more serious side effects are very rare indeed. They don't affect fertility, they don't insert tracking devices in your blood, and no, it's not a conspiracy masterminded by some sort of all-powerful lizard-men.

"Unless you have a medical condition, there's simply no excuse to stay one of the unjabbed. You're putting the health of the nation at risk. How can it be right that people who have refused the jab put such a burden on the NHS?"

Mr Hancock also applauded celebrities for publicly coming forward to get their jab, including England manager Gareth Southgate and Sir Elton John.

"Every last one of us that takes the vaccines puts the odds firmly in our favour in the race between vaccination and infection," he added.

"So let's finish this off. Protect the nation's health and the freedoms we love. Get the jab."

Watch: Anti-vaccine protesters storm ITN headquarters

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