‘Idiots’ or ‘people’s choice’ – Leicester residents split on Covid-19 booster refusals as cases spike again

Vaccines divide people in a way that medical problems rarely do. Like the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine panic two decades ago, many people have been persuaded not to receive their vaccinations despite public health campaigns, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to government figures, more than one in eight adults in the county area and more than a quarter of the city’s population have not received a single Covid-19 vaccination. Total intake of the first dose was 87 percent in Leicestershire, and 71 percent in Leicester.

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This comes as the latest Covi-19 booster vaccinations begin to appear for retirees and people with health issues, with everyone over 50 expected to be invited to get another booster shot by Christmas. An estimated 1.3 million coronavirus infections were recorded in the latest swab test data in the week to September 24, with the Office for National Statistics concerned that the current rise is being driven by more than 70 years and not by young people.

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But not everyone was happy to accept their invitation. We walked around Leicester city center asking people if they felt there was a need – or a duty – to be stabbed again.

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Quite a few people we contacted did not want to talk about Covid vaccines. But those who were happy to express their thoughts were largely in favor of getting all the punches presented to them.

Keith Langham, 80, of Braston said, “To be honest, any knockouts will get you there. I just believe in it.”

When asked about people who refuse to punch, he said, “They should really get it. That’s my opinion.”

Anthony Marshall, 62, of Rushey Mead, Leicester, has been proudly against receiving vaccinations and has managed to avoid the virus. He said, “I didn’t have one. I don’t want her to pump me.”

“I’m just not interested – Covid is man-made, for a start. I’m a chef and I’ve done well during the pandemic and haven’t had positive results.

“I know people who have had it and people who have died from it but I don’t think I risk not getting vaccinated. I might just be one of the lucky ones.”

Andy Bradley believes that people should be able to make their own decisions

Others were eager to get protection for themselves but didn’t want to see vaccinations required for everyone. Andy Bradley, 56, of Brownston said: “I’ve had all three so far, but I think it’s a personal choice for people to make.

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“My opinion is we all had different vaccinations when we were kids and compared to all the other crap I’ve put in my body over the years… any bad side affects.”

Alan Patterson, 70, of Leicester Forest East was not happy that some people still refused to vaccinate. He said, “They are idiots – they posted it for others to get.”

But his wife, Eva, 68, added: “But that’s their decision. I think people deserve their own beliefs. We’ve had three hits and haven’t had any problems with side effects.”

“Some people experience side effects from vaccination and some people get Covid disease when they don’t get vaccinated.”

Alan and Eva Patterson

Aiden Milai, 26, who lives downtown, is now relieved of the virus but has received her first two shots. She said, “I got the first two – I didn’t get the reinforcement because the timing wasn’t good for me.

“But I think people should get their vaccinations. I’m not too worried about Covid right now. I know people who have had it but I haven’t.”

Meanwhile, Rick, a 33-year-old dad from Brownston who didn’t want his surname published, said he got the punches but only because his ex-girlfriend made it. He said: “I think it’s people’s choice and it’s up to everyone to decide for themselves.

“But I had all three so I could see my daughter – her mother wanted me to. I guess I’m immune to most things, though – I’ve been bitten by a dog, I’ve got knuckles and broken my leg but I haven’t had Covid or anything else!”

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