Police hunt anti-vaxxers who 'ambushed' school kids and showed them pictures of dead children

By Lisa Hodge

Police are hunting a mob of anti-vaxxers who "ambushed" terrified school kids and showed them vile pictures of dead and disfigured children to put them off having the Covid jab.

Around seven protesters gathered outside school gates ahead of its vaccination programme for pupils aged 12-15.

One protester used a loud hailer to spout anti-vaxx conspiracy theories while the rest of the mob handed out leaflets showing shocking and graphic images of dead and dying children.

Police attended the St Thomas More Catholic School in Blaydon, Tyne and Wear, at 8.40am on Monday after receiving dozens of complaints from parents and the headteacher.

Many said their children had been left "in tears" after anti-vaxxers thrust graphic leaflets into their hands showing dead youngsters.

One parent said: "My 13-year-old daughter called me after she arrived at school saying a woman had tried to force her to take a vile leaflet.

"Apparently it showed a colour picture of a young girl covered in blood and the woman told her the vaccine had killed her.

"Others showed pictures of deformed kids. It was very upsetting and she asked me, 'Is the jab going to kill me?'

"Some of her friends were in tears. I told her these loonies like upsetting people and to tell the teachers."

Another mum added: "Our kids shouldn't be getting ambushed by these idiots when they're going to school.

"Luckily my son is pretty savvy and just told one of them to eff off and stop trying to scare the kids. I don't like swearing but I let him off this time."

(Getty Images)

The school caters for 1,495 pupils aged 11-18 and was rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted inspectors in 2013.

Headteacher Jonathan Parkinson, told Radio 4's Today programme that around 60 per cent of students had given their consent to take the vaccine.

He said: "We started our vaccination programme yesterday (Mon).

"We got through about a third of our planned vaccines - we are not quite sure when the rest get done.

"We had just under 60 per cent level of consent from parents for the Covid vaccine, higher for the flu vaccine which was given at the same time.

"They were very and quite comfortable about the idea of them getting the vaccines.

"We had a number of emails from parents asking whether we felt we were doing the right thing.

"We are publicly funded school and we have immunisations running every year - this is just part of that.

"We had six or seven protesters on Monday.

"There were two groups, it seemed one who were leafleting the children and regaling through a loud hailer of their views.

"The children were not really fazed by that.

"There was another couple of protestors who were showing our younger children what appeared to be dead and disfigured children, which they claimed were as a result of the vaccine. This upset quite a few children.

"They stopped doing it when we realised what they were doing and we asked them to stop.

"We were left with quite a few number of upset children yesterday.

"We had to make sure, with our pastoral tutors, that those children who needed support were able to get it.

"We don't know what the next stage of the vaccine programme will be - we don't know whether it occurs in school."

Northumbria Police attended the scene on Monday but the protesters had already fled.

A police spokesperson said: "At 8.40am yesterday (Monday) we received a report of a number of protesters outside a school on Croftdale Road, Blaydon.

"Officers attended the scene but the protesters had already left the area.

"We are continuing to speak with the school in question and enquiries are ongoing to establish whether any criminal offences have taken place."

Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health for Gateshead Council, said: "Police are taking very seriously the issues that happened at the school yesterday.

"Whilst it is okay for people to have different views and different perspectives - and we accept that - what isn't okay is to distress children.

"Police are investigating the incident that happened yesterday.

"If people have stepped out of line in terms of taking more severe action, which like I say is distressing children, safeguarding is our first priority and they will take action.

"The North East has been pretty hard hit in terms of infection rates, we expected this when schools went back.

"Our focus needs to be everything to maximise education and minimise the disruption our schools are facing.

"The vaccine programme is one of our strongest tools do that."

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