Pushing young to get vaccine 'risks damaging trust', expert warns

Pushing young to get vaccine ‘risks damaging trust in jab’: Strong-arming people into getting Covid shot could undermine rollout, expert warns

  • Government considering barring not fully vaccinated fans from football matches
  • Warnings proposals to make vaccine passports mandatory could cause ‘chaos’
  • Boris Johnson yesterday faced further criticism from backbench Conservatives 

Ministers risk damaging trust in the vaccine if they strong-arm young people into getting jabbed, a government adviser warned yesterday.

Under plans being considered by the Government, football fans who are not fully vaccinated could be barred from attending Premier League matches from October.

Fans warned that a proposal to make vaccine passports mandatory for events with more than 20,000 attending could cause ‘chaos’. Health experts also cautioned that a heavy-handed approach could have an adverse impact.

Professor Adam Finn, of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said people could be ‘nudged’ to get jabbed but must not feel they are being forced into it.

Asked if the Government should use vaccine passports as a way of encouraging younger people to have their jabs, he told radio station LBC: ‘It has to be done really quite carefully.

Ministers risk damaging trust in the vaccine if they strong-arm young people into getting jabbed, a government adviser warned yesterday (stock image)

‘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 to do because it gives people the impression vaccination is something being imposed on them.

‘Nudging can be done but it has to be done in a way that people don’t feel they are being pushed into something they don’t want to do.’ The professor of paediatrics at Bristol University warned that young people are getting ‘seriously ill’ from coronavirus and he urged them to have their jabs.

He said there have been close to 200 admissions, with an average age of 40, in the city during the current wave caused by the spread of the Delta, or Indian, variant. ‘We have had people under 30 on our intensive care unit and also requiring high-level oxygen therapy,’ he added.

Boris Johnson yesterday faced further criticism from backbench Conservatives who were already opposed to plans to introduce vaccine passports for entry into nightclubs this autumn.

Talks are in an early phase with the Premier League to discuss whether supporters who have not been double-jabbed could be barred from entry, it is understood.

The use of vaccine passports could also be extended to lower divisions and other sports in England as ministers seek to reduce the surge in Covid cases as other restrictions are ended.

Boris Johnson yesterday faced further criticism from backbench Conservatives who were already opposed to plans to introduce vaccine passports for entry into nightclubs this autumn

While no final decisions have been made, it is being discussed whether vaccine passports could be introduced for seated events with a capacity of 20,000 and over. In unseated events such as music gigs, where there are greater concerns about strangers mingling and spreading Covid, the threshold for their introduction could be as low as 5,000.

The Football Supporters’ Association, which has more than half a million members, warned that some fans may stop attending matches ‘unless this is managed very carefully’.

Its chairman, Malcolm Clarke, told Times Radio: ‘I’m not convinced that all football clubs will be able to manage [checks on vaccine passports] in a way that doesn’t cause some chaos.’

But the Prime Minister would face a battle to get legislation mandating their use through the Commons, with many backbench Tories vehemently against them.

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