Threat of Vaccine Passports Just ‘a Little Bit of Coaxing and Cajoling’, Claims Senior Minister

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrives for a meeting of the cabinet at 10 Downing Street in central London on February 25, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

A senior minister appears to have admitted that the government is using the threat of vaccine passports to pressure young people into being inoculated against the Chinese coronavirus.

On the day that most restrictions were finally lifted, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the shock announcement that from late September, vaccine passports would be mandatory for entry to nightclubs, with reports days later that they could be required for in-person university attendance.

In further remarks showing the government actively pressuring young people, Johnson suggested on Wednesday that proof of vaccination may be needed for travel and festivals. However, insiders speaking to several media outlets in the past few days have suggested the prime minister, “raging” over the relatively low uptake of vaccinations by young Britons, was only threatening to bring in vaccine passports as a means to encourage under-25s to get the jab.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who also as First Secretary of State is the de facto deputy prime minister, appeared to admit on Thursday that such claims were true, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the threats were “a little bit of coaxing and cajoling” and that domestic vaccine passports may not even be introduced if uptake of vaccination increases.

Mr Raab also stated that the British government had taken inspiration from French President Emmanuel Macron, who threatened to impose such wide use of the domestic vaccine passport that more than one million French people had registered for their vaccination on the day after Macron made the announcement.

“I was in France earlier this week. We’ve seen how they signalled in various different areas that you would need double-vaccination in order to proceed in one or other area. They got a big surge of people getting the double vaccination,” Mr Raab said, remarking of the technique to threaten to ban citizens from everyday activities: “So it’s a little bit of coaxing and cajoling.”

Asked if he meant that Britain would go as far as France in its rollout of vaccine passports — including bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, and some public transport — Raab clarified that France had only provided an example of how threats ensure sufficient compliance.

“No, I wasn’t bringing it up because we’re following the French model; I was bringing it up to demonstrate that what you can actually do in some areas, if you’re careful, is encourage takeup of the vaccination,” he said.

Raab then added that if there is an increase in the population that is vaccinated, then the “wider questions of vaccine certification become much less relevant and much less salient”, suggesting the passes may not be instituted at all.

The foreign secretary essentially admitting that the promise of vaccine passports may only be a threat to frighten young people into being vaccinated comes after a Conservative member of parliament implied that if the country if forced into lockdown again, it would partly be the fault of the unvaccinated minority “winding up in hospital”.

Tom Hunt said on Wednesday: “I imagine the vast majority of these individuals who are refusing the vaccine, if they did get Covid as a result and got badly ill, I think they’d be in the hospital, putting pressure on our NHS services that need to be applied.”

Earlier this week, senior minister Michael Gove thought that he could encourage people who have not been vaccinated to get the jab by calling them “selfish” and telling them that certain events and venues “will be barred” to them.

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