Professor Dermot Cox says unvaccinated people should also shoulder full medical bills for any Covid-19 treatments they receive.

Writing in the Journal today, an associate professor in pharmacy and biomolecular sciences at the Royal College of Surgeons has said social welfare could be “used as a tool to encourage vaccination”, suggesting unvaccinated people be denied the PUP payments offered during the Covid-19 outbreak.

“If an eligible person has refused to register for a vaccine, they should no longer be eligible for the PUP, as the primary reason for their inability to work is their unwillingness to be vaccinated,” writes Professor Dermot Cox.

Calling for employers to require their staff to be vaccinated, Cox recommends “financial consequences” as an effective way of coaxing people into taking a vaccine.

“If a person gets Covid-19 after refusing a vaccine, they should ultimately pay the bill for their medical treatment, as these are unnecessary costs incurred,” he claims.

“There is no reason why the taxpayer should have to pay for those who refuse to be vaccinated.”

Cox also calls for mandatory vaccinations for all healthcare workers, but concedes that if it is not mandatory then unvaccinated staff should have no access to patients and be screened regularly.

The Royal College of Surgeons associate professor asks if unvaccinated people are posing a risk to society by “facilitating the emergence of new variants that may be more infectious” and implies that Covid-19 might cease to circulate if a sufficient number of people are vaccinated.

Grouping unvaccinated people into three categories, with the first refusing a vaccine for religious or political reasons, the second refusing it out of concerns for its safety, and the third claiming not to need it, Cox insists all three are guilty of “flawed reasoning”, but, not ruling out “compulsory vaccination”,  admits that there are “ethical problems” with such an approach.

“Rather than coercing people to be vaccinated, a carrot-and-stick approach to enhance voluntary vaccination may be more appropriate and should certainly be tried before considering compulsory vaccination,” he advises.

Cox is listed as a member of the China/Ireland International Strategic Collaboration Programme, acting as a biomedical researcher with the Chinese, Irish and EU-funded body.