SCOTS TV historian Neil Oliver has stirred up new controversy after stating that he and his wife will not let their three teenage children take the Covid vaccine.

The archaeologist, author, TV presenter and former National Trust for Scotland president spoke after calls were made for him to be 'cancelled' after stating he would "cheerfully risk catching Covid" in the name of personal freedom.

The Renfrewshire-born 54-year-old who was described as “divisive” by senior SNP members for his well known pro-Union anti-independence said: "The government and their scientists want 16 and 17-year-olds to have the vaccine.

"I won't let my children be vaccinated. My wife won't let our children be vaccinated, not while we have breath with which to say no."

He spoke out after UK experts recommended all 16 and 17-year-olds should be offered a Covid vaccine.

UK and Scottish ministers have accepted the recommendation and 1.4 million teenagers will be included in the new rollout but it is not known when the jabs will start.

READ MORE: Bid to 'cancel' GB News's Neil Oliver over 'I'd risk catching Covid’ in name of freedom stance

They had previously been offered to those over-12s who have underlying conditions or live with others at high risk.

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Some countries, including the US, Canada and France, are routinely vaccinating people aged 12 years old and over.

Officials close to the programme said that under current UK guidance, if a child is able to understand the risks and benefits of any medical treatment then they can legally give consent without their parents' say-so.

And Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), confirmed that 16-year-olds were able to get the jab without parental consent.

Children will receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which has been approved for use in the UK for people aged 12 and over.

But Mr Oliver has said that as the vaccines were new the country cannot have for years yet, information about the long term effects of vaccines on children and teenagers.

"It seems to me and to many experts included, that the potential threat to teenagers from the vaccines must be greater than the threat from the virus," he said.

Mr Oliver, whose eldest child is 17, said: "Essentially for me, it all boils down to one question. Do I want to stand behind a wall of shields borne by children. My answer is no I don't. For me there is no war, into which I would enlist children, not for any reason.

"Children can be brave, are often braver than adults. But this fight should not be theirs."

But his comments were met with criticism on social media.

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Wendy Arrowsmith said:" Neil, what has happened to you? Whilst the vaccine itself is a new one, the research process and the basis on which the vaccines are working rely on tried and tested approaches! So do you propose homeschooling/shielding your teens long term? Good luck with that."

Another said: "At 16 and 17 they are old enough to go to war, have sex legally, have a passport without your permission and even vote in many countries. What gives you the right to stop them having the vaccine if they wish?"

Andy McKellar added: "Understand the push-back against freedoms being removed & the desire for normality but cannot fathom the anti-vaccine stance."

Mary Griffin added: "Thank God the parents who had their children vaccinated against smallpox, polio and diphtheria were more forward thinking than you."

Another stated: "I admire much of what you say but disagree entirely with your anti-vax sentiment."

And Matt Zomeal was more blunt: "What a pillock. 16 and 17s can just go and get one, they don't need crazy dad's permission."

His latest monologue on the GB News channel, comes after a continuing backlash over this last, in which he said: "If your freedom means I might catch Covid from you, then so be it.

"For the sake of freedom, yours and mine together, I will cheerfully risk catching Covid. That is a chance one among many that I am prepared to take and happily. Life is not safe. Freedom is not safe. For the sake of freedom, yours and mine together all freedoms being of equal value, I will cheerfully risk much else besides."

Mr Oliver has previously branded lockdown “the biggest mistake in world history”.

In 2017, the TV presenter best known as a presenter of several BBC documentary series, including A History of Scotland, Vikings and Coast revealed he quit using social media after being subjected to “vicious” abuse from pro-independence supporters. He later returned.

 

What Neil Oliver said in full

The government and their scientists want 16 and 17-year-olds to have the vaccine. 
I won't let my children be vaccinated. My wife won't let our children be vaccinated, not while we have breath with which to say no. 
I've read over and over again that children face a tiny threat from the virus. The vaccines have been rolled out under a form of emergency use authorization. The vaccines are new, we do not have, cannot have for years yet, data about the long term effects of injecting those products into the still developing unformed bodies of children and teenagers. 
It seems to me and to many experts included, that the potential threat to teenagers from the vaccines must be greater than the threat from the virus. 
As I must always, I concede that is how I understand what I have read and being told by the government's experts from the beginning. But it's not only about science is it. 
I don't want to venture any further back into the science of it all.  The claims, and the counterclaims. 
By now it is, anyway beyond that for me. For me it's about ethical behaviour, and also morality. 
The balance of risk between virus and vaccine is contested. 

Some will argue it is worth giving children the jab. Essentially for me, it all boils down to one question. 
Do I want to stand behind a wall of shields borne by children. My answer is no I don't. For me there is no war, into which I would enlist children, not for any reason.
In my understanding of parenthood, indeed, of adulthood, the children stand behind us safe from potential harm for as long as possible, in the centre of a circle made of adults faciing outwards. Adults, for whom the most precious gift on Earth is the privilege, the honour and privilege to stand between those children, and any possible danger. 
Children can be brave, are often braver than adults. But this fight should not be theirs. 
This story played out over the last year and a half, and likely a long, long way from   finished is touching now on epic themes, the rights of individual freedom...children.
There are polarised views about who has the meaningful say on those rights that freedom, our children. 

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It shouldn't be like this for so many people in this country we share, so much overlooked, loneliness and hopelessness, so many people bullied and made to feel bad just for being alive in the world. 
For what it's worth, I want to say to all those people who have been in touch with me, that none of us needs to feel alone, not really. And at least not entirely. 
And to everyone feeling the same emotions of loneliness, fear and confusion and that sense of having been betrayed, and cut adrift by those we thought were meant to have our best interests at heart, I say there are millions that will stand by you, shoulder to shoulder. It turns out we were together all along, even though we didn't know it.
Though we may not meet in the real world, we are united by the feelings we share separated, though we are from one another in the flesh, we are still a community united by common bonds.  Within that community there are people who have different opinions, and who have made different choices as is their right. There are those that have taken injections and those that have not.



I wish we could all meet somewhere, because then we would see that we're not alone, that in fact we are millions of people standing together. 
No matter what happens next. We hold common values, values that we hold dear. We are a community, we are companions, we are family. I will continue to dream about a day when we might break bread together.