Anti-vaxxers block-book vaccine appointments at UK's Wembley to hamper booster roll-out

Vaccine centres report people not attending appointments

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Anti-vaccine activists in the UK have been accused of trying to block-book vaccine appointments in a bid to prevent people from receiving their Covid-19 booster injections.

Health authorities in London suspect the tactic was used at London's Wembley Stadium at the weekend.

NHS England told The National the block-booking incident was a “very localised issue with the local booking system” and is not an issue nationally.

The North West London Integrated Care System, which is managing the vaccine roll-out in the area, said the “suspected” disruption has been cancelled out by walk-ins.

“Any suspected disruption has been offset by the number of walk-ins, including thousands of local residents, many of whom have made a big step in coming forwards to start their vaccination journey, as well as very high numbers of boosters,” a representative told The Telegraph.

However, research has revealed London is lagging behind the rest of England in its take-up of vaccines, with a third of people not having received an injection.

Experts believe it could be due to its transient population that lacks personal links to GP surgeries.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed that 58 per cent of those still unvaccinated had concerns about side effects.

Globally, those who are anti-vaccine have been making fake bookings to disrupt vaccination programmes.

In Australia, doctors put out a warning about the tactic in October.

“Unfortunately, some GPs have reported people not showing up to bookings in the hope that the doses will be thrown out,” Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Dr Karen Price said.

Last week, the Prince of Wales joined the vaccine push when he spoke out against anti-vaccination conspiracy theories on a visit to a makeshift clinic in Kennington, south London.

The suspected block-booking came a day after anti-vaccine protesters demonstrated in London over new Covid-19 measures.

Police were injured during the demonstration, which saw thousands of people attend.

Updated: December 20, 2021, 3:57 PM
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