A BOROUGH doctor abused by anti-vaxxers said that speaking about the effectiveness of a jab made him a target.
Dr Henry Walters, who works for a surgery in the borough, said that revealing his name could lead to protests outside his workplace.
After spending 18 months with colleagues on the frontline of the pandemic, Dr Walters said that the last thing he wants is for his team to be abused as they arrive for work, or targeted by email.
Wokingham.Today has changed his name because of this.
Last week, anti-vaxxers protested outside Costa Coffee, at Showcase Cinema, Winnersh.
The chain has been targeted in recent weeks for complying with the law in the Republic of Ireland.
It requires all eateries to ask for proof of vaccination or immunity status before customers can dine-in.
Dr Walters said that vaccines are a choice, much like speeding or acquiring a gas certificate.
“There are lots of things in life you have a choice over,” he said.
“You have a choice to speed, but doing so puts yourself, your loved ones, and others at risk.
“You have a choice to get a gas certificate, but not doing so puts yourself and others at risk.
“There are certain basic minimums that are required to protect ourselves, loved ones, and society,” the doctor said. “Vaccines are the same.”
He added: “If you’re not prepared to protect yourself and others, then society will say, ‘Hold on, we need a different relationship with you’.”
He said that people who choose not to have a vaccine could be putting others in real danger.
“I’ve seen people die from Covid-19,” Dr Walters said. “I’ve lost colleagues,
I’m seeing others still affected by long-covid.
“There are still people with covid in hospitals, and there are still people dying.”
Dr Walters said that lockdown, face masks and increasing handwashing were the first steps to help curb the spread of Covid-19.
Vaccines are the second, he said.
“The vaccines are amazingly effective,” he said. “They are the progression of hundreds of years of science.”
Dr Walters said that the covid vaccines might be some of the most tested and monitored in history.
With the world watching, medical groups knew they had to be safe and effective, he said.
“Yes it was done in a short timeframe,” he said. “That’s because they ran the trials concurrently, gambling a lot of money in the process.”
But the cost does not lead to automatic approval, he explained.
“There have been some Covid-19 vaccines that haven’t passed the tests, with only those found to be effective approved,” he said.
Dr Walters said that there is also more real-time data than ever before.
He said that researchers look at the vaccine data for everyone that tests positive for the virus via PCR test.
“Did they have one jab, two, or none?” he said. “Which one did they have? When did they have it?”
These are questions asked of all those who test positive, in a bid to create a growing pool of data. But for some people, data is not enough, Dr Walters said.
“There are some people who, no matter how much reassurance you give them, have a fixed position,” he said. “They won’t budge. And often these are fairly irrational approaches.”
Dr Walters explained that anyone with logical concerns would be willing and open to change their mind based on the data.
“I’ve been a doctor more than 30 years,” he explained.” There will always be some people with a fixed position.
“I have no toleration for people who have no real reason why they can’t have a vaccine, who go out without face masks, and come into healthcare settings without masks.
“They’re putting staff, loved ones, and even themselves at risk.”
The doctor encouraged anyone who is unsure about the vaccine, and would like to talk about its effects, to speak to their own GP or another healthcare professional who will guide them through the process.
Jabs are still available across the UK, and open to anyone who may change their mind.
For more information, visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine