Boris Johnson wants to avoid vaccine passports in England ‘if we possibly can’ – but will keep them ‘in reserve’. The vaccination debate has been a hot topic for years, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon. A new article from the Telegraph shines a light on what could be a major change in the law, with Boris Johnson calling for vaccination avoidance if possible.
The health secretary, Matt Hancock has announced that the government is considering abolishing the ‘vaccination passport’ scheme – a scheme set up in 2015 which allows parents to access vaccination on demand. In doing so he said it would be difficult to enforce against some parents who will try and get their children vaccinated outside of school hours, but Johnson has said that the scheme should be abolished.
In a statement to the Telegraph, he said: “We have been very clear from day one that we want to do everything possible to avoid having these unnecessary compulsory vaccination zones. If we possibly can, we will keep them in reserve.” The scheme was put in place by Hancock’s predecessor, Jeremy Hunt.
The vaccination passport scheme permits parents to access vaccinations outside of school hours, and is similar to a policy introduced in Australia. The new government has pledged to remove the cards entirely if they get into power after the next election – a pledge that Johnson seems keen on keeping. Whilst parents can still seek their vaccinations from doctors, it’s difficult for them to get it done outside of term time. In England, vaccinations are only available from GP surgeries or clinics, and they’re not allowed to offer appointments out of hours under normal circumstances.
The vaccination debate has been going on for years now – with some groups calling for a ban on unvaccinated children from attending school in order to protect those who can’t be vaccinated. In Johnson’s latest statement though, he reaffirms the government’s commitment to removing the vaccination passport scheme.
The measure has been in place since 2015, with many believing that it is a step towards compulsory vaccinations in children in England in order to protect against certain illnesses. Vaccinations have been a hot topic for years – with some parents putting their children at risk of contracting serious diseases. A story published in the Telegraph earlier this month tells of a child who contracted Tetanus after being kicked by a horse. The vaccination is available, but she had never been vaccinated against it before.
Although certain vaccines are compulsory for UK residents to receive before they start school, the vaccination passport scheme has provided an alternative to parents who might otherwise be unable to access vaccinations for their children.
Johnson’s reassuring statement comes as part of his commitment to removing the scheme, but it could also be a message to those in favour of compulsory vaccinations that the government is not against them – they’re simply fighting for parents’ rights to access vaccinations.
The government’s stance on vaccines has long been a debate within the public health community – with some calling for compulsory vaccination in order to protect children, while others believe that vaccinations should be left to individual choice. It’ll be interesting to see how the next few years pan out, but it seems like Johnson is determined to do what he can within the government to avoid it being made compulsory.