Europe

UK premier calls anti-vaccine campaigns 'mumbo jumbo'

Boris Johnson urges people to get their booster shots as environment secretary says omicron peak nearing an end

Muhammad Mussa   | 07.01.2022
UK premier calls anti-vaccine campaigns 'mumbo jumbo' British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

LONDON

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson criticized anti-vaccine campaigners Thursday, accusing them of spreading misinformation and lies, and urged people to get their vaccine booster shots. 

Speaking at a vaccination center during a visit to the city of Northampton, Johnson said “anti-vax” campaigns are dangerous and misleading to the public but reminded the country that his government is maintaining a “voluntary approach” despite his European counterparts opting for “coercion.”

“You've got people out there spouting complete nonsense about vaccination. They are totally wrong, and I think it is time that I, the government, call them out on what they are doing.

"It is absolutely wrong, it is totally counterproductive, and the stuff they're putting out on social media is completely mumbo jumbo,” he added.

Johnson also spoke of the importance of receiving a booster shot of the vaccine and the increased immunity it provides against the now dominant omicron variant of the coronavirus.

He also acknowledged the pressures the National Health Service (NHS) faces from the rapid spread of the highly transmissible variant. Johnson, however, reassured the public that the NHS does have sufficient numbers of staff to cope with such pressures.

"The saddest words in the English language are 'too late.' When you're in an ICU and you haven't been vaccinated, sadly it's too late to get vaccinated, so get boosted now,” he added.

Despite his reassurances, NHS leaders have warned of a “staffing crisis” faced by the NHS after an alarming 24 health trusts declared critical incidents after reporting a record number of staff absences and shortages.

Up to 4.5 million people aged 18 and over have not yet received their first dose of a vaccine, with more than 6 million not having received their second and up to 9 million not having had their booster jab.

‘Omicron peak close to an end’

On Thursday, Environment Secretary George Eustice said the omicron peak in the UK will near its end “relatively soon” and that the pressures faced by the NHS would be short-lived.

In an interview with Sky News, Eustice said the current situation surrounding omicron and its rapid spread was difficult but assured the public that its end is near and that the government has taken the step to reduce the isolation period and redeploying resources to the NHS in the meantime.

"It will be quite short lived because obviously we will get past this peak of infections relatively soon. But in the meantime, we've taken that step to reduce the isolation period and we're doing all we can to make sure we can redeploy resources (in the NHS),” he said.

On Jan. 6,179,756 people had tested positive for the virus. In the week beginning Dec. 31, 1,272,131 people had a confirmed positive test result, representing a 29.3% increase compared to the previous week.

In addition, 231 people were reported to have died Thursday and 1,094 fatalities were reported within a month of testing positive for the virus, a 56.1% increase compared to the previous week.

Some 51,874,548 people have been administered their first dose of a vaccine with 47,565,340 receiving their second by the end of Jan. 5, while 34,834,288 have been administered a booster or third dose.

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