Anti-vaxxers protest outside Morecambe school as pupils have Covid jabs
A group of anti-vaccine campaigners protested outside a Morecambe school as students went for their Covid jabs.
David Wood, who owns Promenade Music, photographed a protest on the prom just before 8.50am last Tuesday, where several campaigners held yellow banners up to passing motorists which listed alleged side effects of the Covid vaccination.
David said the scenes on the prom were "peaceful".
The group then moved to a spot outside the entrance to Morecambe Bay Academy in Dallam Avenue, where youngsters were due to have their vaccinations.
Heather McClurg, head at Morecambe Bay Academy, said: "I can confirm that there were no interruptions to the vaccines arranged and administered by the NHS at the academy.
"There were a small number of vaccine protestors at the gate in the morning as there have been at other schools."
Sam Ud-din, Lancaster & Morecambe's National Education Union Secretary (NEU), said he had received a report from one staff member at Morecambe Bay Academy saying that the protestors were "right up in your face".
"This was clearly aimed at causing distress and to try to intimidate people into rejecting use of the vaccine," he said. "The NEU does not support the harassment of staff or pupils but does support the widest possible roll-out of vaccination not just to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on young people, but on all those in their family, in the community, and all the members of staff, that are daily forced into contact with young people.
"Protestors may claim the ‘right of free speech’ - but not if they spread lies. Those lies have consequences.
"It's those protestors who must accept 100 per cent responsibility for the consequences if just one child, or adult, who fails to take their Covid, or any other, vaccination, and then suffers the actual illness from the virus or causes someone else to be much sicker than they might have been.
"Law enforcement need to treat this as a threat to children’s safety, as well as public health. Yes, they should 'investigate' - but then also report on that investigation to the public and take action."
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said.this week councils should be able to stop anti-vaccination protestors from demonstrating outside schools by using exclusion orders, according to the BBC.
Sir Keir said it was "sickening" that protestors were spreading "dangerous misinformation" to children.
And he urged the government to "urgently" update the law so exclusion zones can be rapidly set up around school gates.
Ministers have also expressed concern about such protests.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said freedom to protest was a fundamental part of democracy, but told the Daily Telegraph: "It is completely unacceptable for children, teachers or parents to be intimidated and harassed outside their school by protestors peddling misinformation and dangerous lies about the life-saving vaccine programme."
Almost eight in 10 schools said they had been targeted by anti-vaccine protestors in a recent survey by the Association of School and College Leaders union.