Thousands of anti-vaccine protesters descended on London today calling on the government to scrap its plans to give the Covid jab to children.
Anti-vaxxers were seen marching past Camden Town station and heading through Leicester Square before arriving at Downing Street on Saturday as they protested against mandatory vaccination passports and the vaccination of teenagers.
Protesters held signs reading ‘stay away from our kids’, ‘I’m not an experiment’ and a young boy held a card with the words, ‘Leave us alone, I’m a child, I can’t consent’.
It comes after the school rollout of jabs for children aged 12 to 15 was given the go ahead last week, with the vaccinations set to start on Wednesday.
The event was being held as part of the World Wide Rally For Freedom, a worldwide effort to ‘denounce Covid-19-related policies and restrictions on movement and activity’.
An anti-vaxxer was seeing throwing red eggs that looked like fake blood at police officers outside Downing Street during the demonstration.
This afternoon at 2:48pm, the Metropolitan Police tweeted: ‘There is currently a march in the Euston area, which is heading towards the West End. Officers are with the march, which is moving through the area causing a minor disruption to traffic.’
In further updates, the Met Police presence followed the march as it reached Oxford Circus, Trafalgar Square and headed towards Whitehall.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Covid outbreak is continuing to flat line despite the return to schools with new daily infections increasing week-on-week for the first time in ten days, according to official statistics.
Department of Health bosses posted 30,144 new cases today, up two per cent on the 29,547 recorded last Saturday.
The number of people dying within 28 days of a positive test also increased 5.1 per cent to 164, up from the 156 seen last week.
But hospitalisations are continuing to fall, with 932 people admitted with the virus on September 14 — the most recent day data is available for.
In vaccine uptake, NHS staff and volunteers dished out 19,605 first vaccine doses yesterday, taking the country’s total number of partly vaccinated people to 48.5 million people — 89.3 per cent of the adult population.
Some 59,032 second doses were administered, taking the fully protected population up to 44.4million (81.6 per cent).
Despite the country continuing to reap the rewards of jabs, a Government advisor admitted the vaccine would not have been recommended for children in normal times until it had been fully investigated.
Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said scientists did not have the ‘luxury’ of time to research the possible risks of jabbing children and would usually have collected more evidence before recommending their use on teens.
The governemnt recommendation is for healthy children aged 12 to 15 in the UK to be vaccinated against Covid this winter.
But Professor Finn said parents were justified in waiting an extra three to six months to get their children jabbed until the risks were made clearer with further research, the Times reported.
Professor Finn added the decision on whether to vaccinate 12 to 15-year-olds is not black and white, adding that while it is not ‘essential’ for them to have a coronavirus jab, it is also ‘perfectly sensible’ for them to do so.
He told Times Radio: ‘It’s a finely balanced decision. It’s not a black and white decision. It’s not essential that these children receive the vaccine, but equally it’s a perfectly sensible thing to do.
‘It’s being offered because the benefits do outweigh the risks, and it’s available for people who want it. And I’m afraid that’s the truth of the situation.’
He said the reason the process for deciding whether to vaccinate the age group has been ‘convoluted and complex’ is because there ‘isn’t a completely clear, straightforward answer’.
But he added that people should not become too ‘agonised’ about it, adding: ‘Because the risks on either side are not that high. It’s not like these children are at great risk from Covid, or indeed that they’re at great risk from the vaccination.’
He also called on the NHS to spell out the potential long-term consequences of the jab for children, warning vaccinating children without properly discussing the potential risks could undermine future take up and fuel anti-vaxx scepticism.
Around one in 100,000 children suffer heart inflammation and scarring after the jab, putting them at higher risk of arrhythmia and sudden cardiac arrest, current research suggests.
Vaccines are usually tested rigorously before they are rolled out to the general population, but the Covid jab was developed at such speed the research for possible risks for children is still catching up.
Parents are therefore justified in waiting three to six months for more evidence on the possible long-term effects before getting their children vaccinated, Finn said, describing delaying the decision as ‘perfectly legitimate’.
The scientific community had been split over vaccinating healthy children against Covid because the virus poses such a low risk to them.
No10’s own advisory panel said earlier this month that immunising healthy under-16s would only provide ‘marginal’ benefit to their health, and not enough to recommend a mass rollout.
The decision was left with Professor Whitty and chief medical officers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, who looked at the wider benefits to society, including keeping classrooms open.
The decision to offer teens the jabs was ‘unanimously approved’ by the UK’s four chief medical officers earlier this week.
The chief medical officers said that even though Covid poses a small risk to children’s health, the negative impacts of school closures on their life prospects and mental wellbeing tipped the balance in favour of vaccination.Internet Explorer Channel Network