AN alliance of anti-vaccine campaigners was last night blasted for slamming the brakes on Freedom Day.
A dangerous coalition of high-profile names face a huge backlash, with Boris Johnson now poised to delay England’s June 21 re-opening.
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More than 90 per cent of the country’s Covid cases are currently due to the Indian variant, also known as the Delta strain.
And figures show that since February, two-thirds of those admitted to A&E with this variant have been unvaccinated.
Just five per cent of Delta variant infections are in people who have had both vaccines.
Of the 42 deaths from the Delta variant, 23 people were unvaccinated and a further seven had only had one dose.
Public Health England (PHE) says that out of the 33,206 cases since February 1, just 1,785 were people who had been fully vaccinated and only 62 of those were admitted to hospital compared with 397 unvaccinated people.
Just 83 people — seven per cent — who attended A&E between February 1 and June 7 with the Delta variant were more than 14 days after their second Covid vaccine dose.
Cases of the Indian variant jumped from 9,426 last week to 33,207, and now make up 96 per cent of all infections.
But experts warned that the large increase is due to cases being detected using a new form of test which has cut the results time of up to three weeks to just 36 hours.
Now, as the PM considers a month-long delay to his proposed road-map ending of June 21, anti-vax crusaders are on the receiving end of major criticism.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Those who spread falsehoods are undermining the national effort and putting lives at risk.
“Fortunately we have one of the highest vaccine uptake rates in the world with over half the population having the fullest protection from two doses, and over three-quarters receiving at least one dose.
“The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic so when you get the call, get the jab.”
Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labour leader Jeremy, is among the prominent anti-vax campaigners.
Ex-Coronation Street star Sean Ward, 33, is helping to spread false anti-vax myths and even celebrated an expectant mother not taking the jab, which flies in the face of NHS advice.
Reality TV star Leanne Brown, 44, who is married to former Man Utd defender Wes Brown and appears on ITV’s The Real Housewives Of Cheshire, told The Sun on Sunday this week that people should drink pine needle tea instead of having the jab.
The mum of three added: “It’s mind-blowing how many don’t realise the vaccine is in its experimental stage. It frightens me how many people have lined up to get it without doing any research.”
Former Towie star Dan Osborne, 29, and 2018 Love Island contestant Alexandra Cane, 30, have made it clear they are against the vaccine.
Simon Hughes, one of the country’s leading virologists, last night warned: “All incorrect information regarding vaccine safety and effectiveness is dangerous, especially at this time.
“Anyone with a high profile or large social media following has a particular duty to act responsibly and be careful with what they say and what information they pass on.
“If they get it wrong, that could influence hundreds of thousands or even millions of people.
“And for every person who declines the vaccine without good reason, the risk of new variants with troublesome characteristics grows.”
New figures show the North West of England has seen a massive surge in cases amid the spread of the Delta variant, with rates in Blackpool alone tripling in a week.
NHS data reveals 81 per cent of areas recorded a rise last week, while only 18 per cent saw a fall.
Experts are increasingly warning that we now face a life-and-death “vaccines versus the virus” race.
However, six per cent of us are still vaccine hesitant, according to new ONS figures. This rises to 14 per cent in men aged 16 to 29 and 12 per cent in women the same age.
Twenty-one per cent of black Britons were hesitant about the jab, making them the most concerned ethnic group.
Imran Ahmed, boss of the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, fired a warning shot at social media companies over the issue, saying they “have failed to deal with anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists polluting their platforms with lies, and we’re all now paying the price”.
He added: “Anti-vaxers now have an audience of 62million followers across social media, worth millions of pounds to them and the tech giants who profit off every click.
“Their failure to act has cost lives and now our freedoms.”
Tory MP Dr James Davies, who sits on the Commons Health Select Committee, last night said: “The rising rate of infections is mostly affecting those who haven’t had the vaccine.
“I would strongly encourage everyone who is entitled to the jab to take it up at the earliest opportunity.”
The GP added: “Anti-vaccine campaigners have helped spread mis-truths about the jabs and ultimately this risks our Freedom Day and a return of the liberty we are all desperate for."
A spokesman for Dan Osborne said: “Dan only ever said he didn’t want it.
"He’s never preached or told people not to have it themselves.
“It was just in his opinion it wasn’t for him.”
Jezza refuses to confirm jab
JEREMY CORBYN is yet to reveal publicly whether he has had a Covid jab – despite being eligible for one since February.
The ex-Labour leader’s office has so far failed to respond to requests from The Sun on Sunday over the inoculation after FOUR requests.
The 72-year-old’s Parliamentary office said he “doesn’t normally comment on personal health matters”, it was reported last month.
It comes as his anti-vax brother Piers last month taunted thousands of people queuing for a vaccine in Chinatown, central London, urging them not to get the jab.
Jeremy is sitting as an independent MP after saying the problem of anti-Semitism in Labour had been “overstated”.
Current Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer and PM Boris Johnson both invited cameras when they got their jabs. Diane Abbott, a key Corbyn ally, received hers in February, saying she was “so grateful” to NHS workers and volunteers involved.
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