A Stroud man has taken to the high street to protest vaccination skeptics which set up a stall outside his front door.
Peter Twyman, who moved to the High Street last autumn, was shocked to find what he called ‘anti-vaxxers’ among those at the ‘Stroud Information Hub,’ now ‘Info-Hug,’ less than four feet from his doorstep.
Upset by the impact he felt their ideas were having on key workers and grieving families during the pandemic, Mr Twyman made his own sign right next to ‘Info-Hug’ on Friday which reads: ‘Support the NHS, trust your GP.’
“I have to do this. I cannot just stand by and let this awful thing happen on my own front doorstep,” said Mr Twyman, who was joined by friends Jim Pentney (pictured) and Rosie Wingate, who helped make the sign.
“I do hate it. I open my front door and there are their backs four feet away.”
“I wish the anti-vaxxers were aware of how much they were upsetting people.”
Stroud Info-Hug, formerly Vax Info Hub, has been a controversial feature of the high street since last year, apart from during lockdowns, even drawing condemnation from Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie.
Speaking on behalf of the Hub in December, Richard House denied allegations that they were ‘anti-vaxxers’ despite explaining they took “to the streets over the Covid-19 vaccines” and alleging that “people who strongly contest the need for, or appropriateness of, mass vaccination have been given no voice – and indeed censorship on an unprecedented scale.”
The World Health Organisation states COVID-19 vaccines are safe and will help protect recipients against severe and fatal COVID-19 disease.
Reports of serious side effects, such as blood clots affecting a small number of people who were administered the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, are very rare, according to the NHS.
“My message intended to provide reassurance and support to all the people who are upset by the stall,” said Mr Twyman, who owns a backpacking hostel in Scotland but has lived in Stroud for nearly three years.
“You are not alone. You are part of the community of Stroud which is, as far as I can tell, fairly well united against the anti-vaxxers.
He added; “NHS workers, they feel undermined. People who have lost loved ones, they feel insulted.”
As of July 3, 86 per cent of people aged over 18 have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Stroud.
A spokesperson for the Stroud Info-Hug said: “The Stroud Info-Hug will not be responding to this concocted story about our street stall, as we don’t trust that what we say will be fairly represented.
They continued: “We stand by the huge numbers of local people who come to our stall and express their appreciation for someone having the courage to speak the truth in the face of the demonisation and othering to which anyone daring to challenge the official mainstream narrative is subjected.”
Since posting his sign on Facebook, Peter said he has been inundated with hundreds of well-wishes from Stroud residents.