Wednesday, 27 Oct 2021

Girl, 15, branded 'lab rat' by anti-vaxxers when she was jabbed

Girl, 15, who was left in wheelchair after bout of Covid is branded ‘lab rat’ by angry mob of anti-vaxxers when she turned up to get jabbed at vaccination centre

  • Frightened teenage girl branded a ‘lab rat’ by a mob of angry anti-vaxxers 
  • Grace Baker-Earle, 15, was intimidated as she travelled to vaccination centre 
  • She has to use wheelchair after Covid left her with chronic fatigue syndrome  
  • The teen says they ‘invaded her personal space’ and it made the experience ‘sad’

A teenage girl who is forced to use a wheelchair following a battle with Covid, was left feeling ‘intimidated’ when a group of anti-vaxxers called her a ‘lab rat’ for being jabbed. 

Grace Baker-Earle, 15, developed chronic fatigue syndrome (ME) which is a long-term illness that is commonly associated with extreme tiredness, after a battle with Covid-19 and now uses a wheelchair.

She was confronted by 15 anti-vaxx protesters outside Cardiff’s Bayside mass vaccination centre after she has been jabbed and her mother was putting her wheelchair in the car. 

Her mum Angela, 44, said protesters accused her of using Grace as a ‘lab rat’ and the ordeal was ‘incredibly unpleasant’.    

Grace Baker-Earle (Above), 15, felt intimidated when a group of anti-vaxxers called her a ‘lab rat’ for being jabbed

The teen (Right) with her mother Angela (Left) who called the ordeal ‘unpleasant’ 

The pair were confronted by 15 anti-vaxx protesters outside Cardiff’s Bayside mass vaccination centre (above)

Angela, who lives in Cowbridge, in the Vale Glamorgan, Wales, said: ‘I said my daughter is using a wheelchair because of Covid.

‘A protestor said: ‘She’ll have immunity, you shouldn’t be getting the vaccine since you have natural immunity. You shouldn’t be using her as a lab rat’.

‘It was incredibly unpleasant.’

The teenager had fallen ill with pneumonia last November and after contracting covid earlier this year, she developed Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).

A steward quickly came and checked the pair were safe and ushered the demonstrators away from their car.

The teen admitted she had been looking forward to getting the vaccination before the confrontation and was left ‘sad’ because she has to face the realities of Covid every day.

She said: ‘I think I was sad more than anything because it’s something I still live with, it takes up every second of my day.

‘I was excited to have it done – to have people tell you as you come out that what you’re doing is wrong and to have people invading your personal space, it wasn’t nice.’

Police chiefs and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has now condemned the anti-vaxxers for leaving the teenager feeling ‘intimidated.’ 

South Wales Police say a 61-year-old man from Newport, South Wales, has been arrested in connection with the incident.

First Minister Mr Drakeford said: ‘People are entitled to protest, people are entitled to express their view. They’re not entitled to do it in a way that intimidates others.

The teen admitted she had been looking forward to getting the vaccination before the confrontation outside the centre

The 15-year-old had fallen ill with pneumonia last November – but when she contracted the coronavirus this year she developed Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)

NHS Wales has been offering the covid-19 vaccine to 12 to 15-year-olds since October 4

‘When you’re talking about harassment, it’s not what the person who is making the protests thinks about it, it’s the impact that has on the individual.. Very clearly in this case, that young woman felt intimidated.’ 

She had fallen ill with pneumonia last November – but when she contracted the coronavirus this year she developed Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). 

South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael said: ‘I’m very angry about the attitude of these particular protesters, because what they’re protesting about is crazy nonsense.

‘It could put some people off being vaccinated and clearly it’s unacceptable in the sort of example that’s mentioned.

‘It’s a difficult balance because it’s a matter for the whole of society.

‘Why is it that we have this group of individuals who are completely ignoring the evidence about vaccination? But the responsibility of the police is to keep that balance right.’   

NHS Wales has been offering the covid-19 vaccine to 12 to 15-year-olds since October 4. 

The main reason is to try to prevent outbreaks leading to disruption in learning and school closures, rather than concerns about children’s health. 

Having a significant proportion of pupils vaccinated is likely to reduce the probability of local outbreaks associated with schools, the CMOs said. 

The NHS in England has been asked to prepare vaccines for all 12 to 15-year-olds, to be administrated largely through the school vaccination programme. 

Vaccinations will be given in suitable areas such as school halls by immunisation teams that often include nurses, healthcare support workers and administrative staff.

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