Tory MP refuses to have COVID vaccine because he's scared of needles – 'I'm in a difficult position'

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·3 min read
British Conservative politician Charles Walker gestures as he walks outside the Houses of Parliament in London on March 13, 2019. - British MPs will vote Wednesday on whether the country should leave the EU without a deal in just over two weeks, after overwhelmingly rejecting a draft divorce agreement. The House of Commons is expected to vote against a
Conservative MP Sir Charles Walker (Isabel Infantes/AFP via Getty Images)

Milk-protesting Conservative MP Sir Charles Walker has said he won’t have a coronavirus vaccine due to his phobia of needles.

The backbencher, fresh off his announcement during Thursday’s debate about draconian coronavirus laws that he will protest around London with a pint of milk, said his fear of needles puts him in a “difficult position”.

He did, however, say he will have a vaccine if alternative methods of administering them are approved.

He explained on Channel 4 News: “Anybody who brings a needle near me is met with a raised fist, so I’ll have to wait ’til there’s a nasal vaccine.

Watch: Charles Walker's full astonishing speech as he announces milk protest during COVID law debate

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“And of course when a nasal vaccine appears next year, I’ll more than happily take my shirt off for the cameras as everybody seems to want to do. But I’m afraid I don’t do needles: never have done, never will do.”

Kate Bingham, the former head of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, told MPs in January that vaccines via needle are the least ideal option due to the logistics of administering them.

She said the UK needs to develop vaccine formats that can be taken orally, nasally, or even through a patch that could be sent in the post.

Read more: Boris Johnson admits 'concern' over people entering UK from France

On Thursday, the University of Oxford announced its scientists will study the effectiveness of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine when delivered using a nasal spray.

Walker added he had applied to take part in a trial for nasal vaccines, but dropped out when he was reminded a needle would be needed to check his blood for an immune response.

He continued: “I’m in a difficult position but really excited about vaccines, happy to have a nasal vaccine. I think there’ll be a pill vaccine next year.

Sir Charles said:
Sir Charles Walker said: 'Anybody who brings a needle near me is met with a raised fist, so I’ll have to wait ’til there’s a nasal vaccine.' (PA)

“If people… are worried that I’m vaccine-phobic, I’m more than happy to have any number of Moderna vaccines, Pfizer, AstraZeneca… on a brioche or Jaffa Cake. I’ll stuff them in my mouth until I’m either sick from vaccine or sick from Jaffa Cake. There’s nothing more here than I don’t do needles, and many people don’t do needles.”

Walker had appeared on TV interviews carrying a pint of milk following his bizarre announcement in the House of Commons on Thursday.

The lockdown sceptic, who didn't explicitly say he was protesting against coronavirus restrictions, had claimed his protest “will simply be about the price of milk”, despite not being sure if it’s “too high or too low”.

He told the Commons: “There might even be people with their pint of milk quietly protesting that the route out of lockdown is too slow, or perhaps even too fast. You see the point is these people can project what they like, what concern they have, on to their pint of milk."

Walker added: "That pint shall remind me that the act of protest is a freedom, a freedom, not a right and unless you cherish freedoms every day, unless you fight for freedoms every day, they end up being taken away from you.”

Watch: How England is leaving lockdown