Colchester: Anti-vaxxers storm hospital to serve 'legal notices'
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Dubbed ‘anti-vaxxers’, people who decline the coronavirus vaccine have become the focal point of much public anger as the Omicron variant emerges and threatens social liberties once more. While freedom of choice is important, there are also those who feel anti-vaxxers aren’t willing to play their part in the battle against the virus and help protect the vulnerable.
Now, as the UK rolls out a much tighter booster campaign than initially anticipated, one doctor has issued a call to anyone who might be changing their mind and want a vaccine.
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “Our latest analysis shows that boosters provide the best protection against the Omicron variant, please go forward when you are called.
“If you haven’t had any vaccine, a first and second dose still gives you protection against becoming seriously unwell.
“Don’t worry about stepping forwards now – you will be warmly welcomed by our vaccination staff and I would strongly advise you to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
Currently, 69.5 percent of the UK population is fully vaccinated.
There is hope that by ensuring any converted anti-vaxxers know they won’t be met with hostility, there might be a surge in people who decide to go ahead and get jabbed to get on with their lives, particularly as restrictions on the unvaccinated tighten.
Under new rules, unvaccinated members of society will be excluded from rules which allow those pinged after contact with a Covid case to test daily, rather than self-isolate for 10 days.
Any changes to travel rules are also expected to punish the unvaccinated.
Are Covid vaccines safe?
According to all the research and studies, Covid vaccines are very, very safe.
Safety testing is rigorous – no steps were skipped in the testing of the Covid jabs, they were just sped up as other projects were put aside.
Approval is only given in the UK if the regulator is happy that a vaccine is safe and effective.
Checks continue after approval to make sure there are no further side effects or long-term risks.
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Independent experts on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation decide how best to use a vaccine and who should get it.
However, nothing comes without risk – from the paracetamol you take for a headache to the suncream you use on holiday – but the risks are entirely negligible.
A scary moment for the vaccine-hesitant came early on in the rollout, when a few people suffered unusual clots after the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, including a type in the brain called cerebral sinus vein thrombosis (CSVT).
But this is not proof that the vaccine is to blame – Covid infection itself can also make clots more likely and they can occur naturally too.
Experts stress the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people but is more finely balanced for younger adults.
As a precaution, regulators are continuing to monitor the situation and advise symptoms, such as unusual bruising or persistent headache after vaccination, should prompt a medical check.
Anyone under 40 in the UK will be offered an alternative vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna.
If you decide to book your jab, head here and join the millions of people in the UK living healthy lives after vaccination.
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