Boris Johnson hints jabs could be compulsory and more use of Covid passes if a ‘substantial proportion of the population’ continues to refuse vaccinations
- Boris Johnson said there will be a ‘national conversation’ on living with Covid
- He said ‘substantial proportion of the population’ has still not got vaccinated
- He hinted jabs could be made compulsory or Covid passes rolled out further
Boris Johnson today hinted coronavirus jabs could eventually be made compulsory or Covid passes could be rolled out in wider society if a ‘substantial proportion of the population’ remains unvaccinated.
The Prime Minister announced the Government is now triggering its Plan B to reimpose work from home guidance, make masks compulsory in more indoor settings and require people to show a Covid pass to go to nightclubs.
The measures are being rolled out across England in a bid to slow the spread of the new Omicron variant of the disease.
But Mr Johnson said a ‘national conversation’ is likely to be needed in the future on how the nation will live with the virus.
He said he does not believe the Government can ‘keep going indefinitely with non-pharmaceutical interventions’ in a hint that jabs could be made compulsory or restrictions could be targeted at the unvaccinated.
Boris Johnson today hinted coronavirus jabs could eventually be made compulsory or Covid passes could be rolled out in wider society if a ‘substantial proportion of the population’ remains unvaccinated
Mr Johnson said a ‘national conversation’ is likely to be needed in the future on how the nation will live with the virus
Hosting a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson was asked by a member of the public if the Government could follow the lead of some European nations by making vaccinations compulsory.
Mr Johnson said that ‘as soon as we were really talking about vaccinations seriously’ at the start of the pandemic he had made clear that ‘I didn’t want us to have a society and a culture where we force people to get vaccinated’.
The PM said ‘I don’t think that has ever been the way we do things in this country’ and the vaccine rollout had demonstrated much of the population’s ‘willingness to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated’.
But he said a ‘national conversation’ on the way forward will be needed if the vaccines are proven to be effective at tackling Omicron.
He said: ‘I think that there is going to come a point if we can show that the vaccines are capable of holding Omicron… I do think that we are going to have to have a conversation about ways in which we deal with this pandemic because, I want to be absolutely clear with you, I don’t believe we can keep going indefinitely with non-pharmaceutical interventions, I mean restrictions on people’s way of life, just because a substantial proportion of the population still sadly has not got vaccinated.
‘I think we are going to need to have a national conversation about the way forward and the other things that we can do to protect those who are hard to reach, who haven’t got vaccinated for one reason or another, medical reasons why they can’t get vaccinated, other ways of protecting them.’
Mr Johnson said he believes ‘that is a stage that I think we will come to if and when we establish… that the booster is effective against Omicron’.
He added: ‘It is at that moment that I think we will have to talk seriously about moving on from the way we, from thinking about further NPIs and thinking about other ways in which we protect people.’