Boris Johnson has described anti-vaxxers as “nuts”, as he urged everybody to get a flu jab ahead of the winter months.
Speaking to nurses at a GP surgery in London, the Prime Minister said: “There’s all these anti-vaxxers now.
“They are nuts, they are nuts.”
It comes as Mr Johnson said he wants “everybody to get a flu jab in the run-up to this winter” to help protect the NHS.
Speaking to Sky News, he said: “We want everybody to get a flu jab in the run-up to this winter and that’s why we’re rolling out the biggest-ever programme of flu immunisation.
“And we’re aiming first of all for schoolchildren up to year 7, for pregnant women, for people over 65, for people who are shielded, but then we will be extending it to people who are 50 to 65.
“Now the reason for doing this is to protect the NHS in the winter months because obviously we have still got Covid, we have still got the threat of a second spike on Covid, and it’s vital therefore to keep that pressure off the NHS by everybody getting a flu jab and I really hope everybody will.”
He added: “It is something you can do to protect yourself against flu but it’s also something that we can all do to protect the NHS.”
Speaking to the media during his visit to the GP surgery, Mr Johnson said the length of time social distancing measures will need to stay in place will depend on how well the spread of coronavirus is controlled.
“The use of face masks, the use of all the social distancing measures really does depend on our ability collectively to get the pandemic right down and to keep it down,” he said.
“I’m not going to make a prediction about when these various social distancing measures will come off.
“Obviously we have been able to reduce some of them. We no longer ask people to stay at home, we’re trying to get back much closer to normal but our ability to dispense with the social distancing measures will depend on our continued ability to drive down the virus.”
Mr Johnson was also asked about whether he thinks it is a good idea for the public to be “shaming” people who are not wearing masks in places where they should be wearing them.
“I think we should rely on the massive common sense of the British people that have so far delivered the results that we’ve seen, and that’s going to work,” he said.
He said people understand the value of face masks in confined places.
Mr Johnson was later asked who or what has been his biggest enemy as Prime Minister, and he said: “This whole planet has faced a very nasty new foe in the form of a bug that we didn’t know about before.”
He added: “I think that by the middle of next year we will be well on the way, we will be well on the way past it.
“But I must be, I must be clear with people, I do still think that we have tough times ahead in keeping this virus under control.
“We have tough times ahead in coming through economically, but I have absolutely no doubt that we are going to, and this country is going to bounce back stronger than ever before.”