Viewers criticised Tarrant, who is the wife of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire presenter Chris Tarrant, after she appeared on the breakfast programme today (17 May) and revealed that she refuses to receive the Covid-19 vaccine but has continued to hug people throughout the pandemic.
Under the government guidelines, hugging friends and family is allowed from today onwards (17 May).
Watch: Jeremy Vine hugs his mum for first time since lockdown
Appearing on GMB, Tarrant spoke in favour of the move, stating that it was “very important” to have physical contact with one another again.
Presenter Adil Ray and studio guest Nick Ede, however, took issue with Tarrant’s comments when she revealed that she is refusing the vaccine.
“I’m very tactile, I think it’s very important. It’s very primal. It’s the first thing we do,” she said.
When asked whether she had been hugging people during the pandemic, Tarrant responded: “I have but I have asked. I haven’t stolen a hug.”
Speaking about her reasons for not taking the vaccine, the 66-year-old said that she has never had the flu and stated that she has a strong immune system.
“No, I am not worried about catching it. That sounds arrogant, doesn’t it? I am clean, I take precautions,” she said.
Asked by Ray whether she would inform people that she has not had the vaccine ahead of giving them a hug, Tarrant replied that she would not.
Ray called her “irresponsible”, to which Tarrant conceded that she would likely let people know in the future.
Viewers at home have taken to social media to criticise Tarrant for her comments, as well as GMB for airing them.
“Honestly, ingrid tarrant is stressing me out. Wanting to hug when she’s not vaccinated? Wonder how many people will be wanting to hug her?” wrote one user.
Another added: “Why on earth do they have people like that lady on? It just validates others to be irresponsible.”
Someone else wrote: “Ingrid Tarrant on #GMB saying she will be hugging people but then admitting she hasn’t had the vaccine.
“The usual crap about vaccines being unproven, herd immunity & belief she has a robust immune system. Weapons grade stupidity & irresponsibility.”
A fourth person commented: “Oh gosh. People like Ingrid Tarrant are the reason that Covid is going to go on spreading “how can hugging someone spread the virus?” It’s worrying this far in she is so clueless. Really @GMB do you think she was a good person to have on today?!”
The Independent has contacted a representative of Good Morning Britain for comment.
More than 150,000 people have died in the UK with Covid-19 on their death certificates.
The UK government guidelines on vaccination state: “The vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).”
The latest figures showed that 36,573,354 people in the UK had been vaccinated by 15 May (69.4 per cent of the adult population) of whom 20,103,658 had received a second dose (38.2 per cent).
Speaking to Sky News yesterday (16 May), health secretary Matt Hancock said that early results from tests at Oxford University gave a “high degree of confidence” that vaccines work against the B1.617.2 strain of Covid-19, commonly referred to as the India variant.
He urged anyone who has not taken up the offer of a vaccine to do so now, warning that the Indian variant can “spread like wildfire” among unvaccinated groups.
Hancock also confirmed that jabs will to be extended to the over-35s over the coming week.
Watch: Mel B discusses domestic violence on GMB