Anti-vaccine protestors line major road in Cardiff chanting 'don't vax the children'

By Elizabeth Thomas

A group of demonstrators gathered along a major road to protest against the use of Covid vaccines.

The crowd formed outside Newport Road Retail Park, on Newport Road, in Cardiff at about 12pm on Saturday afternoon and stood for several hours.

They could be seen holding placards that read "honk if you're concerned" and chanting phrases including "freedom" and “don’t vax the children”.

Read more: ICU doctor says hospital beds are filling up again but far more seriously ill patients are young people

Other demonstrators held signs saying “honk for freedom" and “say no to vaccine passports”.

It comes during the same week that Wales' infection rate surpassed 500 cases per 100,000 people for the first time since January 4 earlier this year.

The latest Covid infection rate across Wales as a whole is now 522.7 cases for every 100,000 people in the last week (August 30 to September 5).

For several weeks, hospitalisations of patients with Covid have been rising, leading many medical professionals and political leaders to further advise people get vaccinated for the protection of themselves and others.

On Monday, chief executive of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board Len Richards warned that five out of six people in th health board's critical care departments had not been vaccinated.

World Health Organisation director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement on August 25: "We’re not just battling the virus.

"We’re also battling the trolls and conspiracy theorists that push misinformation and undermine the outbreak response."

One protestor, who did not wish to be named, claimed: “We are standing up against what is going on with the lies that our country is being told.”

They continued: “Children don’t get Covid. They’ll be vaccinating newborns if they have their way.”

The protestor said that the group had gathered “for freedom for people to live a normal life without being controlled by the government”.

Another protestor, who also did not want to be named, said that similar protests were happening across the country.

“They’re happening in Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland and other countries - America.”

In response to being asked why they had attended the demonstration, they claimed they were "a free sovereign individual" and "this ‘V’ - whatever it is - is not to our best interest".

Protesters lined themselves up along the road outside Newport Road Retail Park (WalesOnline/Emily Withers)
Protesters said that they had travelled from Pembrokeshire and Llanelli for the demonstration (WalesOnline/Emily Withers)

According to data from Public Health Wales, all local authorities in Wales have seen an increase in Covid infection rates compared to last week.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has said that the number of people needing hospital treatment for Covid will rise dramatically as the third wave of the pandemic peaks in the coming month.

In a public briefing on Friday, Mr Drakeford said the peak of the third wave would come before the end of September and that it would bring a rise in hospital admissions with 100 people a day needing treatment.

Urging people to get a vaccination, he said: "These will include many who will need to be in hospital for a long time and many who will need intensive care."

The First Minister said that officials are still seriously considering giving jabs to 12 to 15 year olds, despite the advice of the JCVI scientific body which advised against it. You can read more about that here.

Protesters said that they had gathered since 12pm (WalesOnline/Emily Withers)

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He said: "The four UK chief medical officers are continuing to discuss and take further expert evidence about whether the vaccine should be available to 12 to 15-year-olds.

"We are expecting a decision next week and, if the roll-out is agreed, the NHS here, will be ready to begin."

Mr Drakeford also said that invitations for booster jabs would soon go out.

"There is emerging evidence from Israel that the effectiveness of vaccines may start to decrease after eight months, making a booster jab important," he said.

"We will start sending invitations out as soon as the announcement is made and our NHS has worked hard to make sure it can start the programme as soon as it gets the go ahead."

In the press conference, Mr Drakeford also revealed that Wales' vaccination programme continues to be one of the best in the world – with just over 90% of people have had their first dose of the vaccine and 84% have had two doses. More than two-thirds of 16 to 17-year-olds have had their first dose.

A decision on whether coronavirus passports will be introduced in Wales is also expected to be made next week. The decision comes after Scottish MSPs voted for them to be made mandatory in Scotland at certain events from October 1.

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