'I listen to science': City folk hit back at anti-vax protests

Police watch over an anti-vaccine protest in Norwich

Police watch over an anti-vaccine protest in Norwich - Credit: Emily Thomson

Anti-vaccine protests in Norwich have been met with bemusement by members of the public who have said they back the jab rollout.

On Saturday afternoon, around 200 people gathered to take part in a protest against the vaccine rollout in All Saints Green.

The demonstrators were also spotted close to the vaccine centre at City Hall, which has this week been offering walk-in booster appointments as part of a week-long 'jab-a-thon'.

It brought a heavy police presence to the city centre with more than a dozen officers curtailing the protest to prevent any disorder.

But people visiting the city have taken aim at the demo, giving their backing to the fight against the pandemic.

Lukasz Smolarczyk, a 41-year-old support worker

Lukasz Smolarczyk, a 41-year-old support worker - Credit: Archant

Lukasz Smolarczyk, a 41-year-old support worker, said: "I saw the protest but that stuff doesn't affect me at all - people just believe anything they read on the internet.

"Anybody can make a picture, put some words on it and post it online - that doesn't make it a reliable source.

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"I always listen to doctors and proper experts - I listen to science."

Ruth Bartlett, 76 from Cromer

Ruth Bartlett, 76 from Cromer - Credit: Archant

Ruth Bartlett, 76, from Cromer, who works in the city, said: "I am very hard line about vaccines.

"My father was a doctor and he made sure all seven of us children were always vaccinated. Vaccines are so safe, I don't understand people who argue against them."

Joe Oates, 59, from Norwich

Joe Oates, 59, from Norwich - Credit: Archant

Joe Oates, 59, who lives in Norwich, added: "I am happy for people to protest about anything they believe in.

"I believe in freedom of speech and don't think it should be denied in any way.

"However, quite why these people believe the things they do is just beyond me."

It comes at the end of a week which saw the Norfolk and Waveney CCG ramp up the region’s booster programme with additional walk-in appointments for third doses of the jab.

In the past month, more than 220,000 people have received booster doses in Norfolk and Waveney.

It means that 83pc of those eligible for boosters have now had one.

Cath Byford, chief nurse at NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, said:  “We strongly encourage people who are eligible to come forward for their booster and it’s never too late to have your first or second dose either."