A group of anti-vaxxers have been criticised by market traders after they shouted at people queuing for COVID jabs in Nottingham.
Around 15 people were shouting "we want our freedom back" and sharing leaflets with people at Bulwell market on Tuesday morning.
The group made unfounded claims about the coronavirus vaccine and authorities during the protest, which started at 10am and ended around three hours later.
The protest comes as recent data shows that positive vaccine sentiment in the UK has been very high since the rollout began.
Overall positive vaccine sentiment among the British population rose to 94% in March from 78% in December, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Government data up to 19 April shows that 43,457,910 COVID jabs have been given in the UK so far, while vaccine take-up for people aged over 50 stands at 94.8%, according to NHS figures.
Stallholders at Bulwell market were quick to criticise the protest, which took place outside a vaccine bus.
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Andy Savage, a retired NHS worker who was assisting his friend, said: "They are complaining that the vaccine is killing people, but what they do not realise is that the virus has already done so."
Savage, 58, added: "I think that having the vaccine is a risk that most of us are willing to take, and these protests will not influence people.
"I do not feel threatened by them and I do not think that a lot of people do.
"The only thing I would say is that one bloke was shouting at people who were queuing to have the jab – that could be intimidating to some."
Another stallholder, Melissa, 37, said protesters may discourage people from getting their jab.
She added: "There were many people in the queue this morning waiting to have their vaccine, and some left because the crowd was intimidating.
"It has affected the atmosphere in the market today, definitely.
"You would usually see so many people smiling here, but today a small group is just shouting about COVID."
Stallholder Ian Astil, 48, said the group were “spreading misinformation and scaring people”, and added that “it is up to everyone’s free will” to decide whether to have the vaccine.
The local NHS had worked closely with Nottinghamshire Police to plan for such incidents and police supported the staff on site.
No arrests were made following the protest, the force said.
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