Forcing Brits to have mandatory Covid jabs would be 'unworkable', Sajid Javid warns
MANDATORY Covid jabs would be unethical and unworkable, claims Sajid Javid.
Boris Johnson opened the door to the idea after saying social distancing measures cannot continue “indefinitely”.
The PM said we need a "national conversation" on the best ways to control future waves of the pandemic once restrictions are ditched.
But the Health Secretary said forcing the public to get vaccinated against their will was a non-starter.
Around four in five Brits over-12s have had two doses of the jab.
UKHSA Chief Medical Advisor, Dr Susan Hopkins said "vaccination is critical to help us bolster our defences against becoming severely ill from this new variant".
Adults are urged to accept their booster vaccine invite as soon as it arrives from the NHS.
Austria is set to enforce vaccination from February, while over-60s in Greece will face monthly fines from January if they refuse the jab.
Mr Javid said mandatory immunisations for all is "unethical and also at a practical level it wouldn't work".
He added: “If you ask me about universal mandatory vaccination – as some countries in Europe have said that they will do – at a practical level I just don't think it would work because getting vaccinated should be a positive decision."
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Social care and NHS workers are required to get their Covid jab.
Speaking on Wednesday, the PM said he did not wasn’t “a culture where we force people to get vaccinated”.
But admitted we cannot endlessly impose restrictions “just because a substantial proportion of the population still sadly has not got vaccinated”.
Mr Johnson’s spokesman said he was making a "broader point" during the press conference on Omicron.
He added: “I think he was clear that he didn't want us to have a society and culture where we forced people to get vaccinated.
"I think he was making a broader point on the intention to keep developing further mitigations against coronavirus and any subsequent mutations, be that polyvalent vaccinations or further therapeutics, like the antivirals that we're rolling out."
However, some scientists said compulsory Covid jabs do help boost uptake.
Sage member Professor John Edmunds, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said vaccine passports forced young French to get immunised.
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He said: “There are still millions of people who are eligible to be vaccinated and haven't been vaccinated in the UK millions and this is a real, real problem.
“The fact that you might have to be vaccinated in order to access certain venues might help improve vaccine coverage, in particularly younger age groups. It certainly did in France.”
Mr Johnson said the "most important thing" was for Brits to get their booster jabs after previously praising the Sun's Jabs Army campaign.
Several European nations are debating whether to make them compulsory for all citizens.
It came as Mr Johnson last night told Brits to work from home and use vaccine passports for nightclubs and footie matches in a fresh Covid squeeze.
He announced he was toughening the rules as scientists warned the NHS could be swamped by 1,000 daily patients infected with the super-strain.
Flanked by top docs Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance, the PM relayed sobering evidence that the mutation is doubling between every 2.5 and three days.
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