‘Brave New World’ — Only Vaccinated University Students Will be Able to Attend Lectures in the UK: Report

OXFORD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Masked students sit in a socially distanced class in the Ex
Laurel Chor/Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly pushing proposals that would mandate university students be fully vaccinated as a requirement to attend lectures.

In the latest measure from the British government to coerce younger people to take the coronavirus vaccine, Boris Johnson is reportedly seeking to require universities to ban students who are not fully vaccinated, with a possible exemption for those who cannot take vaccines for health purposes, The Times reported on Monday.

Mr Johnson has been pushing for vaccine passports in nightclubs and other public venues, as well as requiring the Premier League to check the vaccination status of football fans. The moves are widely seen as an effort to convince younger people — who have taken up vaccinations much slower than other age cohorts — that their only path to freedom will be to take the jab.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain on Monday, Children’s Minister Vicky Ford refused to rule out the plan to require vaccination for attending university lectures but said: “We obviously don’t want to go back to the situation where we had everyone not being able to go to large events or indeed university lectures, so it would be much, much better to make sure that those who are vaccinated can get into our nightclubs etc.

“We do need to make sure that we look at all ways to make university life as safe as possible and making sure that we have a high level of vaccination is really important in protecting all of us in this country.”

Calling on the approximately three million young adults who have not had the vaccine, Ford said that “double vaccination is a really important route to normality.”

The government will likely face legal challenges over any vaccine diktat, as universities are independent of the government and students are guaranteed the right to study under law.

It is also likely that members of the Prime Minister’s own party will rebel against the measure, as has been the case on vaccine passports for public venues.

The Conservative chairman of the education select committee, Robert Halfon said: “This is wrongheaded. It’s like something out of Huxley’s Brave New World where people with vaccine passports will be engineered into social hierarchies — ie those who will be given a higher education and those who do not.

“Where does this stop? Do we fire apprentices who have not had the vaccine? Do we remove older students from FE colleges? Do we close down adult education courses where adults have not had the vaccine? I hope not.”

The Liberal Democrats have also come out against the move, with health spokeswoman Munira Wilson MP saying that the government was trying “antagonise young people into getting the jab” and that requiring vaccine passports for universities would be “crossing a line”.

“Young people are bearing the brunt of this pandemic, and government attempts to strongarm them into getting vaccinated will simply push them away,” Wilson said.

The deputy head of the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, Professor Adam Finn has also warned that the government might be overreaching with the proposal.

“If people begin to feel they are being kind of forced against their will to do something, then in a sense that’s quite a damaging thing because it gives people the impression vaccination is something being imposed on them from outside,” Prof Finn said.

“Nudging can be done but it has to be done in a way that people don’t feel that people are being pushed into something they don’t want to do,” he added.
While government ministers including both Cabinet Minister Michael Gove and Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi have both previously emphatically stated that the notionally Conservative government would not require domestic health passes, the Prime Minister has since u-turned on this position.

Mr Johnson’s government now is advocating that “restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs and takeaway services” require health passes as a means of entry by the Autumn, despite the decline in coronavirus cases and the relatively high vaccination rate in the UK.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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