NEIL Oliver has described the idea of vaccinating children against coronavirus as “nothing less than grotesque.”

The archaeologist and television presenter, who previously described lockdown as “the world’s biggest mistake”, made the comments during his live show on the new controversial channel GB News.

Speaking on Saturday, he said the idea of vaccinating children is “a fork in the road for our society”, adding “we will be judged, we should be judged as human beings, by what we do next.”

He claimed: “Never before in medical history has there been a proposal to vaccinate children against a disease that poses them no measurable harm.

“Added to this is the undeniable fact these vaccines for Covid are experimental, in that no data is available concerning long term effects.”

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The issue has been focus of intense debate.

Some academics have said it would be morally wrong to offer vaccinations to children, who are at relatively low risk of Covid-19, while vulnerable people in other countries are yet to receive their first dose of vaccine.

Others have said it is important to offer the jabs to teenagers to stem the spread of infection and prevent further disruption to education.

The UK’s medicines regulator, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for use among children aged 12 and over but the JCVI is yet to decide whether they should receive it.

Several other countries, including the US, have already begun to vaccinate their under-18s.

In a recent survey, more than half of parents with children were willing to have them vaccinated if jabs were offered to those under 18.

A YouGov poll of 938 parents with children aged 17 or under found that 53% would get their child vaccinated, rising to 59% of parents who have already had, or were planning to get, the jab themselves.

However, one in five (18%) of all parents said that they would not vaccinate their children, while another 29% were unsure.


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Even among those having the vaccine themselves, 29% of parents were uncertain about jabbing their offspring, while 12% said they would not do it.

Among those parents refusing the vaccine for themselves or who were undecided, 2% would get their children vaccinated, 24% were unsure and 74% would not.

Mr Oliver pointed to vaccines currently being offered to children against things like HPV, measles and the flu – stressing that in those cases “the vaccines had been in development and rigorous testing for many years before any syringe ever got near any human flesh.”

He continued: “That we are even contemplating giving these vaccines to our children at this time – this time when so much remains unknown – strikes me as nothing less than grotesque.

“The apparent justification is that children may spread the virus and that by vaccinating them such risk is curtailed – that risk being primarily towards adults.

“But what of the risk to the children in receipt of a vaccine – the long term effects of which must remain unknown for years to come?”

Eir Nolsoe, data journalist at YouGov, said: “This new research shows that there is support among parents for getting their children vaccinated against coronavirus if a vaccine does become available.

“If the Government does decide to roll out vaccines to children and young teenagers, they will have to work to reassure parents and alleviate concerns in the same way they have with other groups.”

The latest figures show that across the UK, 78,889,449 Covid jabs have been given so far.

That is broken down into 45,274,497 first doses – a rise of 137,389 on the previous day – and some 33,614,952 second doses, an increase of 196,209.