British PM Boris Johnson has labelled the rising number of people opposed to vaccinations "nuts", urging residents to get a flu jab.
Boris Johnson has issued a dig at the rising number of anti-vaxxers, labelling them "nuts".
Urging the British public to take advantage of an expanded flu jab programme – intended to ease pressure on the National Health Service (NHS) if there's a second wave of Covid-19 as the UK moves into winter – the PM didn't mince his words over people opposed to vaccinations.
"There's all these anti-vaxxers now, aren't there? They are nuts, they are nuts," he told nurses at a London GP surgery.
While coronavirus measures are now being rolled back across the UK, the nation was hard hit by the pandemic, which has killed as many as 45,672 Brits and infected almost 300,000.
Johnson said he wants "everybody to get a flu jab in the run-up to this winter" in order to "protect the NHS in the winter months because obviously we have still got Covid, we have still got the threat of a second spike on Covid, and it's vital therefore to keep that pressure off the NHS by everybody getting a flu jab and I really hope everybody will".
Similar to the situation in Victoria, Australia, the compulsory wearing of face masks for almost all adults in England in shops, banks and takeaway food shops has been employed to keep another outbreak at bay.
Johnson said the use of masks, along with social distancing and other protective measures, "really does depend on our ability collectively to get the pandemic right down and keep it down".
"I'm not going to make a prediction about when these various social distancing measures will come off. Obviously we have been able to reduce some of them. We no longer ask people to stay at home, we're trying to get back much closer to normal, but our ability to dispense with the social distancing measures will depend on our continued ability to drive down the virus."
Asked if members of the public who disobey mask-wearing orders should be "shamed", Johnson said: "I think we should rely on the massive common sense of the British people that have so far delivered the results that we've seen, and that's going to work."
The world has bore witness to the messages from a rising tide of anti-vax – and now anti-mask – conspiracy theorists over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the UK, a YouGov survey in late June revealed one in six respondents said they "definitely" or "probably" would not get vaccinated for Covid-19 should a vaccine become available.
Closer to home, and the sentiment hasn't been much better, with everyone from NRL players and reality TV contestants to celebrity chefs speaking out against a coronavirus vaccine and declaring face masks an infringement upon their freedom.
Australian Medical Association vice president Dr Chris Zappala said at the end of May it was crucial to challenge baseless claims about vaccination to halt the spread of misinformation online.
"It's really worrying – they're getting inexplicably some airtime," Zappala said of anti-vaccination advocates in an interview on 2GB radio.
"I'm all for patients having info to make their own informed choices, but critical in that the information they're basing those choices on is accurate and true.
"That's why, if people have any concerns around vaccination, they need to go and have a chat about it with their GP and not listen to all of these false and misleading reports and social media."