HEREFORDSHIRE people choosing to remain unvaccinated say they feel pressured, as public health officials say we could go into a winter lockdown.

In Herefordshire, as of September 15, 87% aged over 16, have had at least one dose of the Covid vaccine.

At a Covid briefing this week Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, said there are now five million people eligible for the vaccine who haven't yet had it, and that convincing them to do so will be key to controlling the virus over the winter.

Annabelle Jones, aged 23, is a young woman from Ludlow, fears the pressure placed on people by the government.

"It is not that I am anti-vaccine, I have just had this gut feeling to not have it at the moment and would rather stick with that. I don't like the fact it’s not EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) - I'd rather wait to see the affects and take my time making that decision.

“The fact we have now been blackmailed to get the vaccine is disgusting - to have that choice taken away from us is frightening. We've been so patient and followed the guidelines, had so much of our prime time taken away from us now to have this news.

“It just sums up out government. Disgusting. It has made people angry and not want the vaccine even more. We should not have to be blackmailed and controlled into getting a jab injected into us. We are living in scary times," she said.

One 30 year old Herefordshire woman has decided against it because she fears for her hormones.

She chose to remain anonymous.

"I don't want the vaccine because I have a lot of trouble with my hormones, which I am really trying to work on and I do not want to put anything artificial, and something that has come out so quickly into my body, I also have a friend that contracted multiple sclerosis (MS) from a vaccine.

"I just don't feel like it is the right thing for me at this moment. I also think it is an absolute joke how much peer pressure there is being put on people, to make a choice about their own body and their own health, I don't think it is ethical at all," she said.

In March, Wargrave House Surgery GP Clare Jones sent a letter to Hereford and South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman and the Lockdown Sceptics website, said: "Like most other people who decline the vaccine, I'm not an 'anti-vaxxer'. My son is fully vaccinated; I have travel vaccines.

"But I weigh up the pros and cons of vaccines in a more informed way than most other people and have decided for now I don't want it (likewise the flu vaccine).”

Rebecca Howell-Jones, acting director of public health for Herefordshire urges people to get the vaccine so we can be safe throughout winter, she said: "Covid vaccines have been through rigorous trials and approval systems based on safety and effectiveness data.

"Millions of doses have been administered around the world and, as with all medicines and vaccines, safety monitoring continues.

"Through all of this, the vaccines have been shown to be extremely safe.

"On the contrary, we know that Covid-19 causes serious disease and death and can have longer term impacts (long Covid). And whilst the risk of serious disease and death are lower for younger people, they do remain and by getting vaccinated you can protect yourself against them.”