Top UK Politician: Workplaces, Social Venues, May Ban Britons Without Vaccination Certificates

Chief Scientific Officer Dr Jeff Drew, holds samples of the potential oral vaccine for the
BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

A senior Conservative MP has said it is possible that once mass vaccination is underway workplaces and social venues may ban entry to those who do not have a certificate to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Earlier this week, drugs firms Pfizer and BioNTech revealed that their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90 per cent effective at preventing infection. However, the British government was cautious about the development, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson telling a press conference: “I must stress that these are very, very early days.”

Speaking to HuffPost UK on Thursday, Tom Tugendhat MP, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons, said that if there is a nationwide rollout of a vaccine, he could imagine that employers and social venues such as pubs and restaurants may demand to see certificates of vaccination, comparing it to conditions on entry to certain countries.

“[I]f vaccination works and if we’re confident it’s safe, and all indications so far are good, then I can certainly see the day when businesses say: ‘Look, you’ve got to return to the office and if you’re not vaccinated you’re not coming in,’” Mr Tugendhat told the HuffPost’s Commons People podcast.

The senior MP continued: “And I can certainly see social venues asking for vaccination certificates.

“I remember when I used to travel rather more than I do now – when you go into certain countries you had to show a yellow fever certificate and if you did not have a yellow fever certificate you weren’t allowed in the country and that was that.

“There was no debates, no appeals and no further requests.

“And I can see a situation where yes, of course you’re free not to have the vaccine, but there are consequences.”

On whether public, government-run services may be denied to those who are not vaccinated, Tugendhat said: “It would depend [on] what the public services were, and who and when, so I wouldn’t want to start predicting.

“But I do think that if things are shown to be safe then rejecting them when they have a wider effect on the whole of society is going to have consequences.”

During the first lockdown in April, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that his department was looking into “immunity certificates” for those who had antibodies, so that they could leave restrictions and get back to normal life, as far as that was possible — even suggesting people wear “immunity bracelets”.

Germany had said at the same time that it was considering a vaccine certificate which would allow employees to return to their places of work.

When French president Emmanuel Macron announced curfews in major cities in mid-October, any citizens out after lockdown would need to have permits.

In the United Kingdom a document is not required, but under the second lockdown Britons must have a “reasonable excuse” to be outside or risk a £200 fine.

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