The British government is considering a ban on unvaccinated students in lecture halls and rooms in order to increase vaccine uptake among younger age groups.
The Times reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson brought up the issue at a series of video meetings last week, suggesting those in higher education face mandatory vaccination if they wish to attend lectures in person or stay in residence on campus.
The newspaper furthermore reports that Johnson was “raging” at the low rate of vaccination among young people, as his government look for ways to increase the country’s overall inoculation figures.
Children’s minister Vicky Ford refused to rule out the possibility, saying “it’s really important that young people step forward for their vaccination.”
“I think we need to continue to encourage our young people to step forward, have the vaccination, and that is the way that they can have that freedom and confidence that they’ll be able to have that full university life.”
Staff within the Department of Education said that the proposal may be illegal however, with conservative MP Robert Halfon slamming it as “wrongheaded.”
“It’s like something out of Huxley’s Brave New World where people with vaccine passports will be engineered into social hierarchies – those who will be given higher education or those who do not,” he claimed.
“Where does this stop? Do we fire apprentices who have not had the vaccine? Do we remove older students from FE (further education) colleges? Do we close down adult education courses where adults have not had the vaccine? I hope not.”
There were large protests in London over the weekend against vaccine passports, as government officials finalise plans for their use at cinemas, nightclubs, sporting events, music venues and possibly also at churches.
“Although we don’t encourage its use in essential settings like supermarkets, other businesses and organisations in England can adopt the pass as a means of entry where it is suitable for their venue or premises when they can see its potential to keep their clients or their customers safe,” Minister Nadhim Zahawi said.