An education minister today refused to rule out vaccine passports for college students who want to return to personal lectures and live in dorms.
Boris Johnson is said to be “furious” at the relatively low uptake of Covid vaccines among young people and suggested raising rates.
It would see students not allowed back on campus until September if they can prove they were double stabbed.
Vicky Ford, the Secretary of State for Children and Families, was repeatedly asked about the policy during an interview round this morning.
She told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme: ‘So obviously I can’t comment on things that haven’t been announced.
‘But you have to look at all the practicalities to ensure that we can get students back safely and ensure that we can continue to prioritize education.’
Mr Johnson’s spokesman also declined to rule out the radical policy.
He said: “You have heard what the Prime Minister has said before, in particular that the pandemic is not over and as he said last week we are still looking at the options for vaccination certification and as we said last week I am not going into individual sectors or institutions.
“We reserve the right, of course, to protect the public and reduce transmission, which is why, as I said, we are still looking at the scope of vaccine certification.”
If given the green light, the policy would mark another chaotic U-turn from Mr Johnson, who previously promised vaccine passports would only be applied for overseas travel.
The prime minister sparked anger last week when he announced that the documents will be a legal requirement for nightclubs to enter.
Outraged Tory MPs labeled the push for vaccine passports in universities as “unjust” and warned it could create a “social hierarchy.”
Labor also attacked the plans today, with leader Sir Keir Starmer warning: ‘To be very clear on this, I don’t want vaccine passports to be used on a daily basis.’ Deputy leader Angela Rayner called the plans “unworkable.”
In a Sky News speech this morning, Children’s Secretary Vicky Ford declined to rule out that students must have both doses of a Covid vaccine to return to college this fall
Latest figures from NHS England show just 58.6 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds have had one Covid shot, compared with rates of over 90 per cent in most older age groups
The prime minister is said to be ‘furious’ at the low number of young people coming forward to get the jab and hopes the move puts pressure on them to come forward, according to The times.
The latest figures from NHS England show that just 58.6 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds have had one Covid shot, compared with rates of over 90 per cent in most older age groups.
At the same time, the virus is sweeping younger age groups, with the number of cases among those over 20s higher than any age group since the start of the pandemic.
But Johnson will likely be challenged by those within his own party who oppose vaccine passports, comparing the proposals to a dystopia.
British expats with double jab ‘can return to UK from August 1 to visit family quarantine-free’
British expats who have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine will be able to visit relatives in the UK without quarantine from next month, it was claimed today.
According to The Telegraph, the British government will formally recognize jabs administered abroad from August 1.
That means Britons living abroad who have been fully vaccinated can avoid a 10-day stay in self-isolation when returning from an amber-listed country.
The government currently only recognizes vaccinations administered by the NHS when it comes to international travel regulations.
As a result, British expatriates living in amber-listed countries have faced the barrier of quarantine, even if they’ve had both doses.
Ministers are now reportedly planning to change the rules to allow Britons to register a foreign jab with their GP.
That should pave the way for double-punched people to be able to visit the country without isolating themselves.
It is also thought that quarantine-free travel to the UK for double-stabed foreigners could be opened ‘very soon’ as the government continues to seek reciprocal agreements with countries that agree to recognize the NHS vaccine app.
Current travel rules on the Amber List state that Britons who have been ‘fully vaccinated under the UK Vaccination Programme’ will not need to self-isolate when they return.
However, people who are not ‘fully UK vaccinated’ will still have to quarantine for 10 days.
Formal recognition of foreign jabs will make it much easier for UK expats to return to the UK, with hundreds of thousands in the major EU countries alone.
It came amid reports that travel restrictions from France are likely to be lifted next week if the government’s traffic light system is overhauled.
Tory MP Robert Halfon, chairman of the Education Selection Committee, told the paper: “This is wrong.
“It’s like something out of Huxley’s Brave New World where people with vaccine passports will be manipulated into social hierarchies — those who will get higher education or those who won’t.”
Mr Johnson suggested that all students – except those with medical conditions that prevent them from being stung – should be forced to get vaccinated.
He made the comments last week in virtual meetings with colleagues while isolating himself in Checkers after coming into close contact with Health Minister Sajid Javid who tested positive for the virus, according to The Times.
Ms. Ford did not deny that the plans could go ahead.
She said on Sky News this morning: “What we have always done during this pandemic is to prioritize access to university.
‘And one of the things we really want to do is encourage young people to get that double vaccination, so that you hinder your own university career as little as possible.
And I will certainly encourage both my college-age sons to get their second vaccination before going back to college to become a requirement.
“We need to make sure that we continue to prioritize education and if they want to avoid the self-isolation, as we’ve said for other adults, the double vaccinated adults by August 16 if you haven’t tested positive, if you don’t have any symptoms, you don’t have to.” you do not isolate yourself.
‘So that is very important for students returning to university.’
The prime minister announced last week that from September, nightclubs will ban people from their venues if they have not been double stabbed, as well as from “other venues where large crowds gather.”
Mandatory vaccinations will come into effect later this year for people who work in care homes.
The government is also in talks with the Premier League about allowing double-shot fans only into stadiums.
Visiting the co-working space Impact Hub, in central London, Labor deputy leader Ms Rayner said: “We think it’s actually unworkable and we need to encourage people to get the vaccine as soon as possible, and also encourage people to take regular tests as well. Because that’s how we keep the virus under control.
“Of course you can still get Covid even with the two vaccines, so that’s why testing has to be an important part of that schedule.”
She had previously said about vaccine passports: ‘The bureaucracy should not fall on companies. A lot of companies, the practicalities, whether it’s in the hospitality industry or in other organizations, they’ve absolutely struggled during this pandemic and there’s absolutely no way these companies can get by and check if these vaccine passports are legit.”
Sir Keir said he wants to be “pragmatic” about proposals on the use of Covid passports.
The Labor leader was asked on LBC about the use of certification at mass events such as the European Championship final at Wembley.
He said: ‘I think tests are actually more useful than double vaccinations, as the health minister has shown. Of course he got Covid about 10 days ago now, I know he’s through it now, but he was double vaccinated. So I actually think tests are much more useful.
“I think the idea that we can go back to mass sporting events or other events without checks is not something I would subscribe to.”
Asked if he would support the government in a vote, he said Labor would “barely look at the proposals” and added: “What I don’t want to see, to be very clear about this, is that I don’t want to see vaccine passports used on a daily basis to access critical matters such as health, dentistry, food, etc.
‘So for sporting events, I look at what the government puts on the table. I want to be pragmatic, because we all want all business sectors and sports sectors to return as soon as possible. But not for everyday use.’
Professor Adam Finn, deputy head of the Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee, told LBC on Sunday that ministers should be careful about how they promote Covid vaccines.
He said: ‘Nudging can be done, but it has to be done in a way that people don’t feel like people are being pushed into something they don’t want to do.
“We’ve had people under 30 in our intensive care unit who also needed high-level oxygen therapy. This is not always trivial in young adults.
‘There are younger people who get really seriously ill, so that’s a good reason to think about the vaccine. But these vaccines, clearly, not only reduce the risk of getting the infection, but also of passing it on to other people.
“Getting vaccinated reduces the risk of spreading this infection among young people and allows them to return to normal.”