BORIS Johnson has today blasted anti-vaxxers as “nuts” and urged everyone to get the flu vaccine this summer.
The PM lashed out at those who don’t get their jabs as the Government launched a huge new drive to try and protect the NHS this winter ahead of a possible second coronavirus wave.
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Speaking to Sky News on a visit to a GP centre today, he said:
There’s all these anti-vaxxers now.
“They are nuts, they are nuts.”
The Government is aiming to double its winter flu vaccination programme in England – with free shots for those aged 50 and over and 11-year-olds.
Last year, around 15 million people received a jab against seasonal flu but ministers hope this will rise to 30 million this winter.
Experts are concerned about the impact of a double whammy of Covid-19 cases and seasonal flu potentially overwhelming the NHS.
There are also worries that people could suffer both seasonal flu and Covid-19 at the same time.
He said today: “We want everybody to get a flu jab in the run-up to this winter and that’s why we’re rolling out the biggest-ever programme of flu immunisation.
“And we’re aiming first of all for schoolchildren up to year 7, for pregnant women, for people over 65, for people who are shielded, but then we will be extending it to people who are 50 to 65.
“Now the reason for doing this is 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.”
The Prime Minister said getting a flu jab is something that can help to “protect the NHS”.
He told Sky News: “I just urge everybody in those groups to do it.
“It is something you can do to protect yourself against flu but it’s also something that we can all do to protect the NHS.”
In the same interview he:
Speaking on the first anniversary of becoming PM today, he said he believes that by the “middle of next year” Britain will be “well on the way past” COVID-19.
He previously had said he hoped by Christmas things would be almost back to normal.
He said: “But I must be clear with people, I do still think that we have tough times ahead in keeping this virus under control,” he said.
“We have tough times ahead in coming through economically.”
The PM refused to say when social distancing guidelines would be able to stop.
He added: “The use of face masks, the use of all the social distancing measures really does depend on our ability collectively to get the pandemic right down and to keep it down.
“I’m not going to make a prediction about when these various social distancing measures will come off.”
Boris Johnson was asked about whether he thinks it is a good idea for the public to be “shaming” people who are not wearing masks in places where they should be wearing them.
He replied: “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.”
He said people understand the value of face masks in confined places.
The PM was asked about suggestions the Government may ban junk food adverts before the watershed, and said: “I’m not normally a believer in nannying… type of politics.
“Losing weight is, frankly, one of the ways that you can reduce your own risks from Covid.”
It came after reports that a new obesity strategy to tackle Britain’s weight problems was on the way next week.
It was reported that a ban on junk food adverts before the watershed at 9pm were to be on the cards to stop kids from seeing unhealthy food.
Obesity has a link with many patients being severely affected by coronavirus, various medical studied have shown.
He revealed that he’s lost a stone and a bit thanks to exercising more and eating less.
He told Sky: “I’m on the way, I’ve lost about a stone and a bit.
“Primarily by eating less, but also by a lot of exercise.”