Fact Check-Misleading video and social media posts about temporary closure of COVID-19 vaccination centre in Bristol

A COVID-19 vaccination centre in Bristol was temporarily closed on Oct. 1 following a demonstration by protesters. It reopened as scheduled on Oct. 4. A video being shared on social media misleadingly claims the centre was “closed for the foreseeable future”.

One Facebook user (here) captioned the clip: “Large Vaccine Centre, University of West of England, Bristol Closed Down, By The People. If the police are incompetent in their duty in law then we the people have the right to take that power back.”

In the footage, which was recorded on Saturday, Oct. 1, a man in military uniform tells viewers that he and other protesters had “closed” a vaccine centre at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE).

“When the police rocked up the centre was closed and the centre will be closed for the foreseeable future,” he tells the camera.

Similar posts can be seen on Facebook (here, here and here), Twitter (part one here and part two here), where together the videos have been viewed more than 118,000 times, and Instagram (here).

A spokesperson for NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (NHS BNSSG) COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, told Reuters via email that the vaccination centre only closed on Oct. 1 due to the disruption.

The spokesperson said the centre reopened after the weekend, as scheduled, on Oct. 4.

“We were disappointed to close Saturday’s vaccination clinic at The Vaccination Centre @ UWE Bristol due to a disruption from anti-vaccination protesters,” the spokesperson said.

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

“The COVID-19 Seasonal Autumn Booster programme is under way and we are busy vaccinating people at the highest risk from a COVID infection, including everyone aged 50 and over, and people aged 5 and over with underlying health conditions.”

An archived version of an NHS BNSSG webpage – which lists the dates, opening times and locations of vaccination centres in the region – acknowledges the temporary closure (here) and shows the next scheduled UWE listing as Oct. 4.

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police told Reuters via email: “Officers were called to attend the NHS Vaccination Centre at UWE Bristol’s Frenchay Campus on Saturday 1 October at 10:40am, 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.”


Misleading. The vaccination centre was closed for the day and reopened as scheduled after the weekend.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.