Ministers are considering extending plans to impose “vaccine passports” in England on to football matches, music concerts and business conferences, despite mounting opposition in the Conservative party, a report claims.
The government has already in July outlined plans for such passports as a condition of entry to nightclubs. But according to a report in the Daily Mail, the requirement is now set to be extended to a range of other mass events.
Under the plans, Covid certification would be mandatory for most large sporting events, music concerts, festivals and some exhibitions; but it would not include the wider hospitality sector, such as pubs and restaurants, for now.
More than 40 Conservative MPs who have pledged to vote against any plan for vaccine passports. The Mail quoted a Whitehall source as saying:
Everyone understands the concerns around freedoms but we may be in a situation this winter where the alternative is more closures and economic damage to sectors that have suffered hugely already
China had administered a total of around 7.5m Covid-19 vaccines on Friday, bringing the accumulated total to 2.092bn doses, data from the National Health Commission showed on Saturday.
A former chief scientific advisor to the UK government has said it is up to ministers to look at the broader harms of not vaccinating children, after the government’s vaccine panel decided the benefits of Covid vaccines were too marginal.
Discussing the chief medical officers being tasked with giving further advice on vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds, Prof Sir Mark Walport told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
It’s uncomfortable but it’s not necessarily a particularly rare situation.
The JCVI looks through a very particular lens, which is the clinical safety of the vaccine for a given population group against the effects of the disease itself.
But what they don’t look at is the wider issues such as education and the harms to that, so the broader harms potentially to children and the knock-on effects to their families – that’s where policymakers come in.
Walport suggested the possible side-effects of coronavirus vaccines for children could be outweighed by the benefits.
My child and my grandchild’s health is also affected by their social environment, by their ability to go to school, by what happens in the family, and so there are broader factors as well.
All the evidence is the rate of myocarditis, the inflammation of the heart muscle, and of pericarditis is at least the same and probably significantly higher in that same population group if they get coronavirus.
Australia has reported its highest daily number of new cases of coronavirus so far, with 1,756 infections on Saturday, as officials in the country urged people to take vaccines.
Most of the cases were in New South Wales, where there were 1,533 new cases and four further deaths, Reuters reported. The state has had an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant since mid-June.
Victoria reported 190 cases, the Australian Capital Territory 32 and Queensland one. Recent daily infections are running about double the levels of Australia’s previous worst wave of the pandemic a year ago.
“The overall trend is a slow and steady increase. That’s why vaccination is so critical, as is following the rules,” Brett Sutton, Victoria’s chief health officer, told a press conference.
Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, together home to nearly 60% of Australia’s 25 million people, have been under a strict lockdown for weeks.
A member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has suggested the government should take a wider perspective than the risk-benefit calculation adopted by the Joint Committee for Vaccines and Immunisation in giving vaccines to 12- to 15-year-olds.
Prof John Edmunds told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
I think we have to take into consideration the wider effect Covid might have on children and their education and developmental achievements.
In the UK now it’s difficult to say how many children haven’t been infected but it’s probably about half of them, that’s about six million children, so that’s a long way to go if we allow infection just to run through the population, that’s a lot of children who will be infected and that will be a lot of disruption to schools in the coming months.
Sajid Javid, the health secretary, said on Friday that he had written to the four chief medical officers of the UK to ask for further advice on giving vaccines to over 12s.
Good morning, this is Damien Gayle at the controls of the coronavirus live blog today from London, bringing you the latest Covid-related headlines and updates from the UK and around the world.
In the UK this morning we will be expecting to see the first fall out from the surprise decision by the government’s vaccine advisory panel to not recommend Covid vaccinations for children aged 12- to 15-years-old.
In making their decision on Friday not to recommend vaccines, members of the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation defied what had seemed to be significant pressure from ministers. In a statement, they said the benefits of vaccinations, weighed against the risks, was too marginal.
But they left the door open to the government to overrule them by saying it is not in their remit to consider the “wider societal impact” of vaccination, particularly in education, and suggesting the government take further advice from chief medical officers.
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