Dominic Raab says mandatory Covid jabs ‘never in government’s plans’

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Dominic Raab says mandatory Covid jabs ‘never in government’s plans’
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Compulsory vaccination will “never” be part of the Government’s plan to contain Covid, deputy prime minister Dominic Raab has said.

The justice secretary insisted take-up of the jab was already high enough without needing to impose the policy and said the Government had “got the balance right”.

Austria last week became the first country in Europe to make vaccines mandatory. Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said it would be compulsory to be jabbed from February 1.

Asked about whether the policy would be successful in boosting take-up in Britain, Mr Raab told Sky News: “Maybe in some countries but I don’t think in the UK, given the extraordinary success we’ve had in rolling out the vaccine.

“The rollout scheme of boosters is working very effectively.

“It shows we’ve got the right balance in the UK and we should stick to our guns.”

Ministers have been reluctant to impose rules on vaccination amid fears it could stoke rebellion on the Tory backbenches and cause alarm among businesses.

In September, health secretary Sajid Javid shelved plans to introduce vaccine passports in nightclubs. The measures have instead formed part of the Government’s ‘Plan B’ along with work from home advice should infections rise sharply this winter.

In Scotland, proof of vaccination is already required to enter nightclubs and busy indoor settings.

However, mandatory vaccination has been introduced in England for those working in care homes. Frontline healthcare workers will have to present evidence they have received both jabs by April 1 next year.

Mr Javid said of the policy: “We must avoid preventable harm and protect patients in the NHS, protect colleagues in the NHS and of course protect the NHS itself.”

Shadow education secretary Kate Green said on Wednesday Labour does not support compulsory vaccinations at the moment, warning the policy could have “adverse results”.

She added: “I think a conversation may in due course need to take place if there are some people who are absolutely refusing, and we don’t understand the reasons for that. We’re miles away from being in that situation.

"We’ve got to be very careful about the consequences.”

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