Protestors did not close Bristol vaccination clinic ‘for the foreseeable future’

6 October 2022
What was claimed

A vaccination centre in Bristol was closed “for the foreseeable future” by protesters.

Our verdict

The centre was closed early because of the protesters but reopened as scheduled three days later.

A video circulating on Facebook and Instagram shows a man in what appears to be a military uniform explaining that his group has just “closed” a vaccination centre.

In it, the man claims that “we’ve come down to the University of West England jab centre and a small dedicated team of people have closed it”.

Later, he says: “When the police rocked up, the centre was closed and the centre will be closed for the foreseeable future.”

While it’s true that the vaccination centre did close early for the day, it reopened as scheduled, three days later.

NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire confirmed to Full Fact that the vaccination centre at the University of the West of England (UWE) was closed on Saturday 1 October because of a protest and that this decision was taken by NHS staff.

The integrated care board also told us that the vaccination centre opened the next Tuesday as planned, because clinics aren’t run there on Sundays or Mondays.

A spokesperson for NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire’s Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “We were disappointed to close Saturday’s vaccination clinic at The Vaccination Centre @ UWE Bristol due to a disruption from anti-vaccination protesters. 

“Staff and patients at the clinic were able to safely leave the premises and we’re grateful to police and security for their support.”

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police said: “Officers were called to attend the NHS Vaccination Centre at UWE Bristol's Frenchay Campus on Saturday 1 October at 10.10am, following reports of a protest involving around 12 people.

“Officers attended to facilitate a peaceful protest and to ensure the safety of all parties involved, working closely with the university's security team.

“A decision was made by the vaccination clinic organisers to close the centre at around 1pm, for the remainder of the day. At around 1.30pm, the protestors departed the site. No arrests were made.”

At the end of the video, the man also gives a “crime reference number” of 5222236390, claiming a number of offences have been committed. 

The same number appears in the captions of the Instagram and Facebook posts too.

We have written before about protestors falsely claiming that because they have received a crime reference number following the report of vaccination as a “crime”, that means there is an ongoing investigation into the matter. 

If you report a crime, a crime reference number should be given to you by the police, though it doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a full investigation.

It is not a crime for vaccine centres to provide the Covid-19 vaccine.

We have asked Avon and Somerset police what the status of the report with that crime reference number and whether it is being investigated and will update this if they respond.

The Facebook post’s caption says that “​​irrefutable evidence was given to Avon and Somerset police of the harms and dangers of these injections”. 

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency says that the expected benefits of the Covid-19 vaccines in preventing the disease and serious complications associated with it far outweigh any currently known side effects in the majority of patients. The agency adds that the safety of the vaccine is being continually monitored.

We have written many fact checks on false claims about vaccine safety.

Picture courtesy of Nathan Riley

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