A teenage girl who is forced to use a wheelchair after a fight with Covid says she was left ‘scared’ when a group of anti-waxers called her a ‘lab rat’ at a vaccination center.
Grace Baker-Earle, 15, developed chronic fatigue syndrome (ME), which is a long-term illness usually associated with extreme fatigue, after a battle with Covid-19 and now using a wheelchair.
She was confronted by 15 anti-waxx protesters outside Cardiff’s Bayside mass vaccination center after she was stabbed and her mother put her wheelchair in the car.
Her mother Angela, 44, said protesters accused her of using Grace as a ‘lab rat’ and the ordeal was ‘incredibly unpleasant’.
Angela, who lives in Cowbridge, in Vale Glamorgan, Wales, said: ‘I said my daughter uses a wheelchair because of Covid.
‘A protester said:’ She wants immunity, you should not get the vaccine as you have natural immunity. You should not use her as a lab rat ‘. It was incredibly uncomfortable. ‘
The couple were confronted by 15 anti-waxx protesters outside Cardiff’s Bayside Mass Vaccination Center (above)
Grace Baker-Earle (pictured), 15, felt intimidated when a group of anti-waxers called her a ‘lab rat’ for being stabbed
The teenager had become ill with pneumonia in November last year, and after getting covid earlier in the year, she developed Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).
A trustee arrived quickly and checked that the couple was in good condition, leading the protesters away from their car.
The teenager admitted that she had looked forward to being vaccinated before the confrontation and was left ‘sad’ because she has to face the realities of Covid every day.
She said: ‘I think I was more and more sad because it’s something I’m still living with, it fills every second of my day.
The teenager (right) with her mother Angela (left), who called the ordeal ‘unpleasant’
‘I was excited to get it done – to get people to tell you when you come out that what you’re doing is wrong, and to get people to invade your personal space, it was not nice.’
Police chiefs and Welsh Prime Minister Mark Drakeford have now condemned the anti-waxes for making the teenager feel “scared”.
South Wales Police say a 61-year-old man from Newport, South Wales, has been arrested in connection with the incident.
Prime Minister Mr Drakeford said: ‘People have the right to protest, people have the right to express their views. They have no right to do so in a way that frightens others.
Since October 4, NHS Wales has been offering the covid-19 vaccine to 12- to 15-year-olds
The teenager admitted that she had been looking forward to being vaccinated before the confrontation outside the center
‘When you talk about harassment, it is not what the person making the protests thinks about it, it is the impact that has on the individual. Very clearly in this case, the young woman felt intimidated. ‘
She had contracted pneumonia in November last year – but when she contracted coronavirus this year, she developed Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).
South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael said: ‘I am very angry at the attitude towards these particular protesters, because what they are protesting about is insane nonsense.
‘It can deter some people from being vaccinated and it is clear that it is unacceptable in the kind of example mentioned.
‘It’s a difficult balance because it’s an issue for society as a whole.
‘Why do we have this group of individuals who completely ignore the evidence of vaccination? But the responsibility of the police is to keep the balance correctly. ‘
Since October 4, NHS Wales has been offering the covid-19 vaccine to 12- to 15-year-olds.
The main reason is to try to prevent outbreaks that lead to disruptions in learning and school closures, rather than concerns about children’s health.
Having a significant proportion of students vaccinated is likely to reduce the likelihood of local outbreaks associated with schools, the CMOs said.
The NHS in England has been asked to prepare vaccines for all 12- to 15-year-olds, to a large extent to be administered through the school vaccination program.
Vaccinations will be given in suitable areas such as the wholesale of immunization teams, which often include nurses, health care workers and administrative staff.