Monday 16 November 2020 11:55 am

Anti-vaxxers may be barred from pubs and offices: Senior Tory MP

People who refuse to take a Covid-19 vaccine may be barred from restaurants, pubs and offices, a senior Conservative MP has suggested.

Tom Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling and chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told HuffPost UK he could “certainly see the day” when people are refused entry into pubs and restaurants, and they may not be allowed to return to their work place until they have had the vaccine.

Read more: Moderna vaccine prevents 94.5 per cent of coronavirus, but the UK hasn’t ordered any doses

“If vaccination works and if we are 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’.”

Tugendhat added that the use of ‘vaccination certificates’ may also become standard practice as employers and venues could demand to see such documentation before people are allowed to entering their premises. As a result, people who refuse the vaccine may find it hard to return to normal life, he added.

Optional, also for children

Health secretary Matt Hancock said earlier this week that any vaccine will be optional and children will not be forced to get a vaccination.

Read more: Labour calls for anti-vax conspiracy theories to be censored on social media

His comments followed reports that a vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is more than 90% effective. The news led to a spike in financial market activity worldwide.

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The UK government has asked the NHS to be ready to deploy any Covid-19 vaccine from early next month. Once it starts rolling out the medication, the most vulnerable will be first in line, Hancock said. The UK anticipates to have 10m doses of the vaccine available by the end of the year.

Read more: Why are vulnerable working-age adults like me at the back of the vaccine queue?

Vaccine refusers

The UK government said earlier this week it is actively fighting anti-vaxxers. Prime minister Boris Johnson revealed that money splurged by vaccine taskforce chief Kate Bingham on private PR companies was necessary to combat anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.

Johnson, who has labelled vaccine refusers as “nuts“, told the House of Commons that the spending was necessary to reassure people vaccines were safe and to encourage participation in trials.

“The expenditure [helps to] raise awareness of vaccines, to fight the anti-vaxxers and to persuade the people of this country – 300,000 – to take part in trials without which we can’t have vaccines,” Johnson told MPs.

Read more: How does a vaccine affect investment sentiment in the Square Mile?