Ministers are set to require three vaccinations from those eligible for booster jabs in order to qualify as being fully vaccinated in areas where people must prove their status, such as travel or avoiding mandatory isolation.
Downing Street sources said the intention was to end up in a place where three jabs, rather than two, was the requirement to obtain a Covid pass showing full vaccination – though currently only over-40s are eligible for the booster.
If the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) continues to recommend boosters for all adults six months after their second jab, then the requirement could be in place in England by the early spring.
News of the plan came as England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, also warned there was “major concern” about vaccination rates among pregnant women – saying 98% of severely ill pregnant women in hospital had not been vaccinated.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Boris Johnson said the concept of what constitutes “full vaccination” will need to be adjusted – and said that getting a third jab would become part of that.
“It’s very clear that getting three jabs – getting your booster – will become an important fact and it will make life easier for you in all sorts of ways, and we will have to adjust our concept of what constitutes a full vaccination to take account of that,” he said. “And I think that is increasingly obvious.
“The booster massively increases your protection – it takes it right back up to over 90%. As we can see from what’s happening, the two jabs sadly do start to wane, so we’ve got to be responsible and we’ve got to reflect that fact in the way we measure what constitutes full vaccination.”
A Downing Street source said it was inevitable that requirements for the digital Covid pass would need to change for travel as more countries began requiring a third dose. Currently booster doses are not displayed on the Covid pass on the NHS app, which has caused some concern over the use of the pass for travel.
In a number of European countries, third doses are set to be a requirement to prove vaccination status. In France, starting in mid-December, over-65s must have had the booster jab in order to access spaces such as restaurants and galleries or travel long distances. Other countries, including Austria, Switzerland and Croatia, have expiry dates on fully vaccination status – in effect enforcing booster jabs.
Johnson said the government was “making plans to add the booster to the NHS Covid travel pass.” He added: “If you’re thinking about that, then this is yet another reason to get it done.”
At the press conference, Whitty said there were “storm clouds” gathering over parts of Europe.
He said the UK could soon feel the effects of the new wave in central and western Europe. “We don’t yet know the extent to which this new wave will sweep up on our shores but history shows that we cannot afford to be complacent,” he said.
“Those countries with lower vaccination rates have tended to see bigger surges in infection and in turn been forced to respond with harsher measures while those countries with higher vaccination rates have so far fared better.”
Whitty said the other major target for the vaccine roll-out was pregnant women who were more hesitant to have the vaccine. “I would just like to give you some fairly stark facts about this because this is a major concern,” he said.
Whitty said that between 1 February and the end of September, 1,714 pregnant women were admitted to hospital with Covid, 98% of whom had not been vaccinated. And of 235 women admitted to intensive care units, over 98% had not been vaccinated.
Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, Has Been Diagnosed with Terminal Cancer
This follows his transfer to a medical facility in December
The new comes from a letter he wrote:
French President Emmanuel Macron Says Someone Who Refuses COVID Vaccine Is ‘Not a Citizen’
French president Macron’s desire to ‘piss off’ unvaccinated individuals triggers outrage
Macron spoke candidly during an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien, during which he said that he wanted to make life difficult for individuals who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. The French “sanitary pass” has prompted a number of protests and stiff opposition while the country nears 75% full vaccination.
“I really want to piss them off, and we’ll carry on doing this – to the end,” Macron said three months ahead of a presidential election. “I won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison, so we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”
The French Parliament heard Macron’s comments during a debate over his proposed bill to tighten restrictions for unvaccinated individuals, leading to a swift and strong uproar in response.
His opponents have labeled the comments “unworthy” of a president.
“Even if one doesn’t share their choice, they have broken none of our country’s laws,” Marine Le Pen, Macron’s chief opponent in the upcoming election, told reporters late Tuesday. “He is continuing his policy of division, of pitting the French against one another.”
She later tweeted “A president shouldn’t say that…Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.”
Leftist politician Jean-Luc Melanchon described the remarks as an “astonishing confession,” according to the BBC.
But Macron’s allies have defended the comments, with Stéphane Séjourné, a member of the European Parliament, arguing on Twitter that unvaccinated individuals have “bothered” the French by “forcing the rest of the population to endure restrictions.”
Debate over Macron’s bill continue into Wednesday as opponents still seek to delay its passage. Some of his supporters claimed to have received death threats because they are backing the legislation, The New York Times reported.
Boston Mayor Wu Relentlessly Heckled As New COVID-19 Restrictions Are Announced
Boston unveils the ‘Be Together’ initiative, requiring full vaccination for entry to restaurants, gyms, and sports arenas for anyone 12 and older. In March the mandate will phase-in for younger children.