Tony Blair Claims Getting Vaccinated Is ‘Civic Duty’

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 06: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a defence think tank, on September 6, 2021 in London, England. Mr Blair, who served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007, reflected on the roots of …
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Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that it is Britons’ “civic duty” to be vaccinated and that the country should be administering 500,000 booster shots every day.

The former prime minister made the remarks after his foundation, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, published a paper on Thursday calling for an acceleration to booster administration and pushing for further vaccination of children and pregnant women.

Speaking to Sky News’s Kay Burley on Thursday, Mr Blair said that the government should be publishing the data on vaccination and its link to public health, claiming: “Your failure to get vaccinated doesn’t just put you at risk… it’s also other people.”

“I understand people’s objections, but at some point, you have to say to people: the evidence is crystal clear. There’s no serious person disputing [the effectiveness of vaccination]. To get vaccinated is almost part of your civic duty.”

The former Labour leader also quoted recommendations from his institute’s paper “Boosting the UK’s Covid Measures: How to Go Further, Faster and Protect the NHS”, saying that the Conservative government should “accelerate” the booster programme, noting that “we’re doing about 165, 000 a day. We think you need to take that up to 500,000 and you could do that if you put in place the right mechanisms.”

“We need to accelerate the vaccination of children. We’re falling quite far behind, now, France, Italy, and Germany in the vaccination of 12- to 17-year-olds,” Blair told Ms Burley.

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change also recommended that the government “make approving vaccination for under-12s a priority” and do more to encourage pregnant women to be vaccinated.

Boris Johnson’s government should also “go further in encouraging mask-wearing”, according to the report, saying that the prime minister should “reinstate mandatory face coverings for crowded indoor public spaces”.

The NHS Confederation and British Medical Association have been pressuring the government in recent days to trigger Plan B of the Winter response to the pandemic, which would include a return to mask mandates on public transport and enclosed public spaces such as supermarkets, to ‘save’ the NHS. Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced on Wednesday evening, however, that restrictions would not be returning, for now.

Plan B could also see the introduction of domestic vaccine passports for entry to large venues with mass gatherings such as nightclubs and sports stadiums, a move that Tony Blair’s institute says needs to be “urgently explore[d]”.

“Urgently explore the option of introducing a Covid Pass, drawing on best practice from countries currently using one, to ensure everyone attending a mass event has been fully vaccinated or at least received a recent negative test,” the recommendations say.

Mr Blair is an early and frequent proponent of vaccine passports, for domestic use and for international travel, saying in January that Britain should use its term as leader of the G7 to create a “Global Covid Travel Pass”.

Writing last month of his support from a domestic vaccine passport, Mr Blair: “A viable Covid Pass, displaying both rapid testing and vaccine status, would mean that, even with higher case numbers, a person free of the virus would be free to move around in public.”

Blair has said before several times that the vaccinated should enjoy greater freedoms than the unvaccinated.

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