British government sources believe bosses will be able to use Health and Safety regulations to sack workers who do not get vaccinated.
Nadhim Zahawi, the government minister for vaccines, suggested back in December that “restaurants, bars, and cinemas, and other venues” could end up demanding some sort vaccine passport or other documentation before providing services, and anti-Brexit magnate Charlie Mullins has recently said he would introduce a “no vaccine, no job” policy, terminating workers who do not get vaccinated.
The Boris Johnson administration, including Zahawi, have since walked back any suggestion that they will make vaccinations compulsory, claiming “that’s not how we do things in the UK”. and said they “have no plan of introducing a vaccine passport — although in fact they are already trialling one.
Civil liberty activists have expressed concern, however, that if the government allows businesses to refuse service to the unvaccinated and fire unvaccinated workers, assisted by the existence even of technically non-compulsory government-backed virus passes, that people will have no real choice in the matter — and a Telegraph report which shows officials believe firings, at least, would be legal will do little to allay their concerns.
"We see very much probably an annual or booster in the autumn and then an annual [jab], in the way we do with flu vaccinations." https://t.co/OrIcmHDqOo
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 8, 2021
“If someone is working in an environment where people haven’t been vaccinated, it becomes a public health risk,” a government source claimed in comments to the Telegraph.
“Health and safety laws say you have to protect other people at work, and when it becomes about protecting other people the argument gets stronger,” the source continued.
“If there is clear evidence that vaccines prevent transmission, the next stage is to make sure more and more people are taking up the vaccine.
“If people have allergies or other reasons for not getting jabbed, then of course they should be exempt, but where it’s an unjustified fear, we have got to help people get into the right place.”
The Telegraph reported that some Tory Members of Parliament are concerned by the prospect of bosses being allowed to throw staff out of work in an already difficult economic climate — but gave the fact that “a disproportionately large percentage of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people are against getting jabbed” as the reason, not concern over personal freedom and civil liberties.
Research indicates that so-called BAME people are far more reluctant than white people to be vaccinated, with the the UK Household Longitudinal Study indicating that some 72 per cent of black people are unlikely to submit to jabs in January.
“I do think that we are going to be in a position where we have to have an annual coronavirus vaccine, and that annual vaccine will be tailored to the variant strains in the UK at that particular moment." https://t.co/BNrl698bfA
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 2, 2021