THE anti-vax movement is a “very, very small” fragment of the population and health officials should focus on encouraging other groups to get vaccinated instead, London’s director of public health has said.

Professor Kevin Fenton, of Public Health England, said younger generations and communities unable to navigate the vaccines system for reasons including language barriers made up most of the hospital admissions yet to receive a dose.

Health officials should work with these groups to increase vaccine uptake rather than trying to convince people “absolutely not willing” to get jabbed, he said.

Asked about the impact of anti-vaxxers like Piers Corbyn on vaccination rates, Prof Fenton told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips: “We must remember that that segment of the population is very, very small – people who are sort of very strong anti-vaxxers who hold those views.”

It comes as the Health Secretary Sajid Javid wrote in the Mail on Sunday that “extreme anti-vaxxers” are in the minority of unvaccinated people but that their “dangerous nonsense” should still be called out.

Mr Fenton said that unvaccinated hospital admissions were the main source of pressure on wards across the city and urged Londoners to get a jab.

However, he added that the spread of the Omicron variant was thought to have peaked during the new year period, with case rates remaining high but falling across the capital.

“The first is that it’s an issue of convenience and access, and their ability to navigate the system,” he said.

“Many Londoners do not have English as their first language, so we have to do the work of going into those communities, engaging with those individuals and ensuring they have good access to the vaccines.

“Another reason in London is that many, especially younger people, may have been infected with the virus during the course of the pandemic, so they may feel less inclined to take the vaccine because they believe they’re already protected.

“I think we need to focus on those and work with those individuals and communities rather than trying to convince people who are absolutely not willing to take the vaccine.”

Mr Fenton said despite a fall in infection rates the “critical phase” of the pandemic is not yet over as data showed one in 10 Londoners are still infected with the virus.

“It means we’re not yet out of this critical phase of the pandemic, although we may well be past the peak,” he said.