Vaccine minister suggests those who don’t get Covid jab could face restrictions from sports events and cinemas

April Roach
·2-min read
<p>Nadhim Zahawi said the vaccine will not be compulsory</p> (PA)

Nadhim Zahawi said the vaccine will not be compulsory


People who do not have a coronavirus vaccination could be severely restricted when it comess to accessing sports venues, bars and restaurants, a minister has suggested.

Health minister Nadhim Zahawi, who is responsible for the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines in the UK, said jabs will not be compulsory.

But he told BBC Radio 4’s the World At One that service providers will likely want people to prove that they have been vaccinated.

When asked if that meant people who did not have a vaccination would be severely restricted in what they could do, Mr Zahawi said: “I think people have to make a decision.

“But, I think you’ll probably find many service providers will want to engage with this in the way they did with the app.”

The minister also adressed reports that those who receive the Covid-19 jab will receive some kind of “immunity passport” to prove that they have been vaccinated.

“We are looking at the technology," said Mr Zahawi. “And, of course, a way of people being able to inform their GP that they have been vaccinated.

<p>Boris Johnson appointed Nadhim Zahawi as vaccine minister</p>PA

Boris Johnson appointed Nadhim Zahawi as vaccine minister


“But, also, I think you’ll probably find that restaurants and bars and cinemas and other venues, sports venues, will probably also use that system – as they have done with the app.

“I think that in many ways the pressure will come from both ways, from service providers who’ll say ‘look, demonstrate to us that you have been vaccinated’.

“But, also, we will make the technology as easy and accessible as possible.”

He added that the Government intends to send a strong message that “it’s good for your country” to be vaccinated.

“I think it is right that it is voluntary," he said. “People have to be allowed to decide for themselves whether they want to be vaccinated or otherwise.

“But, I think the very strong message that you will see, this is the way we return the whole country, and so it’s good for your family, it’s good for your community, it’s good for your country to be vaccinated.

“And, ultimately people will have to make a decision.”

Pressed on how vaccines would begin to be distributed, Mr Zahawi said: “The health and social care workers, care home residents, then, obviously, starting with the over-eightes and then moving down the age scale. That is the advice."

It comes as a primary analysis for the final phase of the Moderna vaccine trial suggested the jab may offer very high levels of protection against Covid-19 and there appears to be no evidence efficacy is worse at older ages.

The UK has secured seven million doses of the jab from the US firm – enough for around 3.5 million people in the UK.

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