Over-65s could be banned from public spaces unless they have Covid booster, suggests Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid has said he cannot rule out the possibility that people aged over-65 without a Covid booster jab could one day be barred from getting on trains or entering restaurants.

The Health Secretary made the comment during an interview on Sky News on Wednesday morning when asked to react to the policy being introduced in France.

Mr Javid said the UK Government was not looking at the idea "yet" but pointedly declined to rule out it ever being adopted when pushed further for clarification.

A Downing Street source later said that the policy was not being actively pursued, while noting that the uncertainty of the pandemic means few potential measures can be ruled out. 

The comments come amid a tussle between UK government ministers and Tory backbenchers about the possibility of bringing in so-called Covid passports.

Boris Johnson has announced plans for only people who have been twice jabbed to be allowed to enter large crowd venues, but they are being held in reserve in case the pandemic deteriorates.

During an interview on Sky News with presenter Kay Burley, Mr Javid was asked about France’s new Covid booster policy.

Ms Burley asked: “I’m reading in a newspaper this morning that over-65s in France will not be allowed access to restaurants, on trains, etc, unless they’ve had their booster. Is that something that you might look at?"

Mr Javid responded: “We’re not looking at that yet. We are very focused on our booster program as you would imagine. Over 10.6 million boosters I think throughout the UK so far already, a record number of bookings, many people coming forward.

“I think in due course we will have to look at what constitutes vaccination. But at this point, the most important thing is that anyone that’s eligible gets out there and gets their booster.”

Seeking clarity, Ms Burley then asked: “Okay, you said ‘yet’. So potentially in the future?”

Mr Javid said in reply: “I can’t rule that out. And I think that we know now that the vaccines do wane and it is important that those vaccines, where it’s necessary, that those people get a top up and that’s what the booster program is about. But I think it’s something that we have to keep under review.”

England booster jabs progress

Booster jabs are a third Covid vaccine dose being offered to those aged over 50 or in other vulnerable groups in the UK.

They give a top-up in immunity and are being rolled out after scientists said that immunity to Covid from vaccines tends to wane quicker in older people.

There has been concern in recent weeks that not enough people who are eligible are coming forward to claim their booster jab, with uptake slower than doses one and two of the jab.

People have to wait six months from their second dose before being allowed to take their booster jab, though the Government has tweaked rules to make this easier in recent months.

Those eligible can now book a booster jab five months after their second dose, so they can take it as soon as they reach six months.

Some healthcare workers on the ground also have been given flexibility to administer booster doses a little before six months if, for example, they are visiting a care home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *