In March 1885, more than 80,000 people paraded through Leicester carrying a child’s coffin and an effigy of the scientist and vaccine pioneer Edward Jenner.
Though he’d been dead over 50 years, Jenner was still the focus of their ire. Jenner had created the smallpox vaccine, kickstarting an arm of medicine that would save hundreds of millions of lives. And they were part of the Anti-Vaccination League. Leicester, it seems, was a stronghold.
The reasons for opposition were mixed; some were on religious grounds, some people didn’t trust the medicine and some felt it curtailed their personal liberties.
And here, 135 years later we stand in a very similar place. The anti-vaxxer movement grows and the fertile fields of Facebook and other parts of social media allow groundless conspiracies to take root and go global in seconds.
If your concern about the Covid vaccine comes because you have an underlying health issue, or a member of your family has auto-immune issues, then you are justified in asking what is right.
I’d much rather listen to one of Jonathan Van-Tam’s strangled metaphors about trains than the inheritors of Andrew Wakefield’s shameful and dangerous legacy
If your concern comes because the cousin of a bloke you know said on Facebook that he’d heard the factory where they’re making the vaccines normally deals in sheep dip and besides it’s clear this is all about government and Bill Gates mind-control, then you have no position. If you’re against it because you ‘just know’ the vaccine has come too fast, then you have no position. Get out of the way. Keep that nonsense for closed WhatsApp groups.