Covid: Anti-vax protesters intimidate teen outside jab centreon October 9, 2021 at 3:21 pm

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Grace, 15, who uses a wheelchair after having Covid last year, was at a centre to receive a jab.

Anti-vaccine protesters

Image source, Angela Baker-Earle

A 15-year-old girl and her mum say they were intimidated by anti-vax protesters outside a Covid vaccination centre.

Grace Baker-Earle, who uses a wheelchair after contracting Covid, was confronted after receiving the jab at Cardiff’s Bayside mass vaccination centre.

Her mum Angela said protesters accused her of using Grace “as a lab rat”.

South Wales Police said officers attended a protest in the area at 10:50 BST and remained in attendance.

The force said no arrests had been made.

The vaccine has been offered to 12 to 15-year-olds in Wales since 4 October.

Grace Baker-Earle

Image source, Angela Baker-Earle

Ms Baker-Earle said the confrontation was “just horrible” and “incredibly intimidating”, and happened while getting her daughter’s wheelchair into her car – something she needs since developing Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).

The 44-year-old said a protester claimed it was “ridiculous” to get the jab.

“I said my daughter is using a wheelchair because of Covid,” Ms Baker-Earle said.

“[A protestor] said: ‘She’ll have immunity, you shouldn’t be getting the vaccine since you have natural immunity. You shouldn’t be using her as a lab rat’.

“It was incredibly unpleasant.”

Grace Baker-Earle

Image source, Angela Baker-Earle

Ms Baker-Earle, from Cowbridge, in the Vale Glamorgan, said the 15 protesters walked in front of her car and she had to tell one man to “step back”.

“He was within two feet of me, looked at me as if I was stupid. I told them: ‘You have literally surrounded my car’.”

She said a vaccination centre steward then came out and checked she and her daughter were safe.

Grace said the confrontation “hit a spot” because of how much Covid has affected herself and family.

“I think I was sad more than anything because it’s something I still live with, it takes up every second of my day,” she said.

“I was excited to have it done – to have people tell you as you come out that what you’re doing is wrong and to have people invading your personal space, it wasn’t nice.”

Angela and Grace Baker-Earle

Image source, Angela Baker-Earle

Ms Baker-Earle said she was in hospital with Covid and pneumonia last November, around the same time Grace also had the virus.

“Grace was very unwell for a couple of weeks, she lost half a stone and was really poorly – she weighed 6.5 stone (41kg) to begin with.

“A cardiologist has said although Grace had a virus earlier in March, having Covid pushed it over into having ME.”

ME is a chronic neurological condition which means day-to-day tasks can be “exhausting” for Grace, she added.

“People were so dismissive of such a serious thing we are dealing with, which makes my blood boil,” she added.

“There are 12-year-olds going down there to be faced with that – a whole line of people, it is disgusting.”

Grace Baker-Earle

Image source, Angela Baker-Earle

“Now she has to use a wheelchair to go more than 50 yards, and has an extremely elevated heart rate,” she said.

“It has been lifechanging for Grace, we are hoping she will get better. This is all off the back of Covid in November.”

The UK’s four chief medical officers (CMOs) have said healthy children aged 12 to 15 should be offered one dose of a Covid vaccine.

The advice, they say, reflects evidence on the mental health and long-term prospects for young people, the effect on education and the marginal benefit to health.

The Welsh government has emphasised that the vaccine is a choice for each individual to make.

It said all children aged 12 to 15 in Wales will be offered a Covid vaccine by the end of October.

Wales’ Health Minister Eluned Morgan said studies showed children were at some risk of developing long Covid despite low hospital admission rates.

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