Hancock tells anti-vaxxers that vaccine is 'much less worse than getting the virus’

16 November 2020, 08:20 | Updated: 16 November 2020, 09:03

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Matt Hancock has told anti-vaxxers that taking the Covid-19 vaccine is "much less worse than getting the virus".

The Health Secretary said that getting vaccine "protects you but also all those around you and your loved ones" and dismissed anti-vaccination campaigners as people in the extreme minority.

"It wouldn't be allowed if it weren't safe and that's why we've been doing these trials and why we haven't yet rolled out the vaccine, because we are absolutely determined that it will be safe," he added.

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In an interview on LBC, he also confirmed the Government would be working with social media companies to tackle anti-vaxxer content.

"If you think about it, the vaccine is a tiny bit of the virus in order to get your body to be able to respond - that is so much better and lower risk than getting the virus."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told LBC a vaccine could start rolling out this year
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told LBC a vaccine could start rolling out this year. Picture: LBC/PA Images

Mr Hancock also welcomed the "good news" that the third vaccine in the UK, developed by Janssen, has entered the trial stage.

"It's still six to nine months off being ready for use, so it's not one of the early ones," he said.

"We've obviously got those two early contenders including the Pfizer vaccine - we know that it's effective but we're still waiting on the safety data."

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He said that results from the trials of AstraZeneca's vaccine will also be published in the next few weeks.

While he said that "we're not there yet", the Health Secretary reaffirmed his optimism that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be approved for rollout by Christmas.

He added: "We don't have a vaccine yet but there is that optimism that I think everybody's felt since last week when we heard this good news.

Asked by LBC's Nick Ferrari if the first people in line would receive the vaccine by New Year, he said he "hopes so but I can't promise that".

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"Safety is more important than anything else," Mr Hancock added.

"If that goes well this I hope to be able to have it rolling out this year, but the bulk of any rollout will be, even in the best case scenario, next year rather than this year."