People who refuse a Covid jab once the coronavirus vaccine is rolled out could face being banned from going to work, a Tory MP has hinted.
In the wake of positive news regarding the Pfizer vaccine earlier this week, fears have been rising that a small but extremely vocal anti-vaccine movement – known as anti-vaxxers – may sway some in the UK not to get any jab.
And Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, who is chairman of the government's Foreign Affairs Committee, told HuffPost UK’s Commons People podcast, he could ‘certainly see the day’ when people weren’t allowed into their offices until they could prove they’d received a vaccine.
The MP also claimed venues may demand to see vaccination certificates or "immunity passports" before allowing people inside.
Mr Tugendhat added: 'If vaccination works and if we’re confident it’s safe, and all indications so far are good, then I can certainly see the day when businesses say: 'Look, you’ve got to return to the office and if you’re not vaccinated you’re not coming in'.
"And I can certainly see social venues asking for vaccination certificates."
Despite calls in some quarters to make the vaccine mandatory, health secretary Matt Hancock has stressed this will not be the case.
But Mr Tugendhat argued the UK has already got similar rules in place for people from abroad, where visitors trying to enter certain countries have to prove they have been vaccinated against diseases such as yellow fever.
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He said: "I remember when I used to travel rather more than I do now – when you go into certain countries you had to show a yellow fever certificate and if you did not have a yellow fever certificate you weren’t allowed in the country and that was that.
"There was no debates, no appeals and no further requests. And I can see a situation where yes, of course you’re free not to have the vaccine, but there are consequences."
But Mr Tugendhat wouldn't go so far as to call for such a system on Britain's public transport systems.
When pressed on that issue, he said : ‘It would depend what the public services were, and who and when, so I wouldn’t want to start predicting.
"But I do think that if things are shown to be safe then rejecting them when they have a wider effect on the whole of society is going to have consequences."
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