Boris Johnson made the comments today after more than 1,000 Covid deaths were reported in the UK for the second day in a row.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, he shared details on the country’s vaccine rollout, including the aim to get all elderly care home residents inoculated by the end of this month.
When asked what he would say to coronavirus conspiracy theorists, Johnson said: ‘The kind of people who stand outside hospitals and say Covid is a hoax, and this kind of stuff, really I do think need to grow up.
‘I think you’ve heard eloquently now from the head of NHS England the pressure the NHS is under and we’ve all got to do our bit responsibly to protect it and for a lot of us – for the vast majority of the country – that means making sure we stay at home and protect the NHS. For people who are getting invited to get a vaccine – go and get the jab.’
His remarks were echoed by the chief executive of the NHS, who hit back at claims online that hospital wards are being left empty.
Sir Simon Stevens said: ‘Let’s just be completely straight forward about it, when people say that (hospitals are empty), it is a lie.
‘If you sneak into a hospital in an empty corridor at 9 o’clock at night and film that particular corridor and then stick it up on social media and say “this proves the hospitals are empty, the whole thing is a hoax”, you are not only responsible for potentially changing behaviour that will kill people but it is an insult to the nurse coming home from 12 hours in critical care, having worked her guts out under the most demanding and trying of circumstances, there is nothing more demoralising than having that kind of nonsense spouted when it is most obviously untrue.’
The Prime Minister pledged that the vaccine will reach ‘hundreds of thousands of people’ every day but January 15, as the army is deployed to aid the rollout.
He said he had ‘no doubt’ that the most vulnerable people in the country would receive the jab by mid-February.
Johnson said nearly 1.5million people have already been vaccinated already – 1.26million people in England, 113,000 in Scotland, 49,000 in Wales and 46,000 in Northern Ireland.
He said there will be more than 1,000 GP-led sites, 223 hospital sites, seven mass vaccination centres and a first wave of 200 community pharmacies administering jabs by the end of the week.
The PM added: ‘If all goes well, these together should have the capacity to deliver hundreds of thousands of vaccines per day by January 15.
‘And it is our plan that everyone should have a vaccination available within a radius of 10 miles.
‘It follows from that that the limits will not be on our distribution power but on the supply of vaccines.
‘I have no doubt that we have enough supply to vaccinate these four groups by the February 15 deadline and we also have the distributional network to do it and to continue an expanding programme down that priority list.’