University students may have to be double jabbed to attend lectures

An education minister today refused to rule out vaccine passports for university students looking to return to in-person lectures and live in halls of residence.

Boris Johnson is said to be ‘raging’ about the relatively low uptake of Covid vaccines in young people and suggested the move to drive up the rates. 

It would see students only allowed back on campus in September if they can prove they have been double-jabbed.

Vicky Ford, the minister for children and families, was repeatedly asked about the policy during a round of interviews this morning. 

She told the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme: ‘So obviously, I can’t comment on things that haven’t been announced. 

‘But one does need to look at every practicality to make sure that we can get students back safely and make sure that we can continue to prioritise education.’ 

If given the go-ahead, the policy would mark another chaotic U-turn from Mr Johnson, who previously promised vaccine passports would only be enforced for foreign travel. 

The PM sparked fury last week when he announced the documents will be a legal condition of entry for nightclubs.

Furious Tory MPs branded the push for vaccine passports on universities ‘wrongheaded’ and warned it could create a ‘social hierarchy’.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also criticised the proposals today, adding: ‘I just to be very clear about this, I don’t want to see vaccine passports used on an everyday basis.’

He claimed that testing was more important than vaccine status and highlighted the fact Health Secretary Sajid Javid tested positive for the virus last week despite being fully immunised.

Speaking on Sky News this morning, children's minister Vicky Ford refused to rule out students being required to have both doses of a Covid vaccine to get back to university this autumn

Speaking on Sky News this morning, children's minister Vicky Ford refused to rule out students being required to have both doses of a Covid vaccine to get back to university this autumn

Speaking on Sky News this morning, children’s minister Vicky Ford refused to rule out students being required to have both doses of a Covid vaccine to get back to university this autumn

Latest NHS England figures show just 58.6 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds have had one Covid injection, compared to rates of above 90 per cent in most older age groups

Latest NHS England figures show just 58.6 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds have had one Covid injection, compared to rates of above 90 per cent in most older age groups

Latest NHS England figures show just 58.6 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds have had one Covid injection, compared to rates of above 90 per cent in most older age groups

The Prime Minister is said to be ‘raging’ about the low numbers of young people coming forward to get the jab and hopes the move pressures them to come forward, according to The Times.

The latest NHS England figures show just 58.6 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds have had one Covid injection, compared to rates of above 90 per cent in most older age groups.

At the same time, the virus is sweeping through younger age groups, with case rates among those in their 20s higher than any age group since the pandemic began.  

But Mr Johnson is likely to be challenged by those within his own party who are against vaccine passports and compare the proposals to a dystopia.

SAGE modeller hails UK’s falling infections as ‘good news’

A SAGE modeller whose Covid calculations may have overshot the third wave today hailed Britain’s falling cases as ‘good news’ — but warned the country could just be testing fewer people.

In simulations published earlier this month, Dr Mike Tildesley and his team at the University of Warwick estimated there could be as many as 150,000 infections every day at the peak of the third wave this autumn.

But there are signs the epidemic is already slowing down, with just 29,173 positive tests recorded yesterday, marking the fifth day in a row that cases declined and the first time they had dropped below 30,000 in weeks.

Dr Tildesley told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘The first thing before I start is, it is good news, let’s not shy away from that. Of course any situation where cases are falling clearly is good news. I’ll say that upfront before I start my caveats.’

The infectious disease modeller added that while he was ‘cautiously optimistic’, he feared that the decline in cases may be the result of fewer children being tested for the virus now that schools are off for summer.

Referring to former US President Donald Trump’s claim that ‘testing creates more cases’, he added: ‘I think what we need to think about, though, is that there has been a change recently and I think the big one is that, in a lot of parts of the country, schools have now closed for the summer.

‘Now, of course, because of that, what that means is… secondary school children have been doing lateral flow tests twice a week for quite a long period of time and we know at the moment cases are slightly higher in younger people, (and) because schools have now broken up, it may be that part of the reason cases have dropped somewhat is that we’re not detecting as many cases in younger people now.’

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Tory MP Robert Halfon, chairman of the education select committee, told the newspaper: ‘This is 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.’ 

Sir Keir said today he wants to be ‘pragmatic’ over proposals on the use of Covid passports.

The Labour leader was asked on LBC about the use of certification at mass events such as the Euros final at Wembley.

He said: ‘I think tests are actually more useful than double vaccinations, as the Health Secretary has shown. He, of course, got Covid just about 10 days ago now, I know he’s through it now, but he had been double vaccinated. So, I actually think tests are much more useful.

‘I think that the idea that we can go back to mass sporting events or other events without any checks is not one I would subscribe to.’

Asked whether he would support the Government in a vote, he said Labour would ‘look carefully’ at proposals and added: ‘What I don’t want to see, just to be very clear about this, is I don’t want to see vaccine passports used on an everyday basis for access to critical things like health, dentistry, food, etc.

‘So, for sporting events, I’ll look at what the Government puts on the table. I want to be pragmatic because we all want all business sectors and sporting sectors to return as quickly as possible. But not for everyday use.’

Mr Johnson suggested all students — apart from those with medical conditions that stop them getting jabbed — should be forced to get vaccinated.

He made the comments last week in virtual meetings with colleagues, while he was self-isolating in Chequers after coming into close contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid who tested positive for the virus, The Times reported.

Ms Ford did not deny that the plans could go ahead.

Speaking on Sky News this morning, she said: ‘What we’ve always done throughout this pandemic is prioritised access to university.

‘And one of the things that we really want to do is encourage young people to get that double vaccination is the way that you’ll minimise disruption to your own university career.

‘And I will certainly be encouraging both of my student sons to have their second vaccination before they go back to university to become a requirement.

‘We must make sure that we continue to prioritise education and if they want to be able to avoid the self-isolation such as we have said for other adults, the double-vaccinated adults by August the 16th if you have not got a positive test, if you don’t have symptoms, you won’t need to self-isolate.

‘So, for students who are returning to university that’s really important.’

But the Government is likely to be challenged by Tory MPs who are against vaccine passports. 

The PM announced last week that night clubs will bar people from their venues from September if they have not been double jabbed, as well as from ‘other venues where large crowds gather’.

Compulsory vaccinations will come into force later in the year for people who work in care homes.

The Government is also in talks with the Premier League about only letting double-jabbed fans into stadiums.

Professor Adam Finn, deputy head of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, told LBC on Sunday that ministers needed to be careful about how they promoted the Covid vaccines.

He said: ‘Nudging can be done but it has to be done in a way that people don’t feel that people are being pushed into something they don’t want to do

‘We have had people under 30 on our intensive care unit and also requiring high-level oxygen therapy. This is not always trivial in young adults.

‘There are younger people really getting seriously ill, so that’s one good reason to think about having the vaccine. But these vaccines, it’s clear, do reduce the risk of not only getting the infection but passing it on to other people.

‘Getting immunised is going to reduce the risk of spreading this infection among young people and enable them to get back to normal.’

Link hienalouca.com

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