Mith a look at the persistently high corona numbers and the cold season, the British government is relying on intensifying the vaccination campaign – especially for young people – and not on new restrictions. When Boris Johnson presents his “Roadmap for Winter” this week, he will, according to preliminary reports, emphasize that further lockdowns and the long-discussed introduction of vaccination records are not planned as evidence. The travel restrictions should even be eased. Health Minister Sajid Javid called it on Sunday, however, “irresponsible” to “take all instruments off the table”.
Great Britain, which for a long time led the European vaccination statistics, has been overtaken by some countries. According to epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, the fact that Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Ireland now have higher vaccination rates is “mainly because they started the vaccination campaign for 12 to 15-year-olds faster”. The British Vaccination Commission had recently spoken out against a routine vaccination offer for this age group. The benefit of vaccinations against the side effects, about which there is “considerable uncertainty”, is “too little”, it said in the report.
Probably no vaccination certificate when visiting clubs
But the chief medical advisors in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland made a different risk assessment on Monday. The letter of recommendation to Minister of Health Javid said that Covid “rarely but occasionally leads to serious illness, hospitalization and, even more rarely, death” in twelve to fifteen year olds. The risks of vaccination – especially myocarditis – are “also very rare”. The vaccinations should “only be viewed as an addition to other activities, in order to keep children and young people in school and to prevent further disruptions to teaching – and thus medium and long-term damage to public health”. The information campaign, recommended the chief medical officer, should be tailored to children. This means that the vaccination process for twelve to fifteen year olds should begin this week. Another part of the vaccination strategy are booster vaccinations (third dose) for risk groups, possibly also for all people who are older than 50 years.
On the other hand, the government has refrained from the idea of introducing mandatory vaccination certificates. Health Minister Javid said he was “happy to say that we are not pursuing the idea of vaccination records”. He was “instinctively” against the plan that citizens would have to show documents for everyday activities; this is “a huge interference in people’s lives”. Vaccinated persons in Great Britain receive a certificate from the National Health Service on request, but usually only use it for trips abroad. No proof is required in everyday life, for example when visiting museums, pubs or restaurants. A test also qualifies for large events.
Apparently, the government also wants to refrain from making the visit to clubs and dance halls dependent on a vaccination certificate. Evidence will probably continue to play a role when returning from abroad. Vaccinated people who enter from “red countries” can shorten the forced quarantine in hotels from ten to five days; returnees from “yellow countries” are allowed to bypass the ten-day isolation requirement, provided they are fully protected. 30 percent of the unvaccinated do not adhere to the quarantine regulations, as the BBC reported.