Esther Rantzen has gone viral on social media today after suggesting that people who refuse to get vaccinated against coronavirus or get the booster jab should make the decision “not go to hospital’ and “take up crucial space in ICU” if they become ill.
Speaking on GB News in a debate with singer Cheryl Baker about whether over 65s should be penalised if they do not get booster jabs, the journalist and presenter sparked controversy by saying those who don’t get the third jab or any at all should make the personal choice to refuse “resource from the NHS” and “stay at home” – however ill they get – to reduce pressure on the health service.
She started by saying: “People are going down like ninepins... The numbers are still enormously high.
“People like me you see, if I got this horrible disease, I’m likely to take up really crucial space in ICU which I don’t want.”
After adding that NHS staff are “exhausted” by the demands put upon them, she added: “If we oldies are prepared to say ‘OK, if I get Covid, I won’t take any resource from the NHS, I shall stay at home and fall off my perch here’... then, OK, you have the right to say you refuse all medical help, be it a vaccine or be it the ICU.”
‘If you expect nurses and doctors to look after you, you must protect them. You must make sure they can prioritise… https://t.co/1SSjLQfUCr
Her comments come as the French government have announced that those over 65 who do not have a booster jab risk being barred from indoor venues.
Meanwhile, health secretary Sajid Javid has hinted that the UK government is considering a similar scheme, by refusing to rule out making it part of a Covid pass needed to get into certain venues as part of the government’s not yet enacted ‘Plan B’ response to rising infections.
Rantzen went on to say that unjabbed people risk passing on the disease to others. She added: “If you expect nurses and doctors to look after you, you must protect them and you must make sure they can prioritise people.”
Quizzed by presenter Dan Wootton on whether this meant she wanted to “ban the unjabbed from being able to access health services”, she clarified that she wanted people to make that decision for themselves rather than there being an outright ban. She said:
“No, I’m saying you’ve got to make that decision yourself... it’s your choice. If you decide that you don’t want a vaccine or a booster, then you can decide not to go to hospital, however ill you get. And that is your right.”
“So you would leave the unjabbed at home to die if they had a heart attack, if they suffered from a stroke,” Wootton challenged.
Rantzen nodded and said: “That’s their choice. If they’re unjabbed – if they take the decision they’re not going to use the medical evidence, follow the science as we say, recognise – because what the boosters do is not only protect you, but they protect other people, because you transmit the infection far less.”
Reacting to her comments, some people thought it was a bad take:
Esther Rantzen on @GBNews says ‘Anyone who refuses the vaccine, should not be able to use the NHS if they become il… https://t.co/8HCyIfDs9Z