HomeNewsPOLL: Should masks be made compulsory again as part of winter Covid plan?
POLL: Should masks be made compulsory again as part of winter Covid plan?
September 14, 2021
Sajid Javid confirms NHS will offer booster vaccines
Mr Javid told the House of Commons and the nation today that all over 50s and those working in the NHS and frontline roles will receive a booster jab over winter, accounting for over 33 million adults. The Health Secretary told MPs: “The plan shows how we’ll give this nation the best possible chance of living with Covid without the need for stringent social and economic restrictions.”
Mr Javid stressed the importance of the vaccination programme in efforts to avoid lockdown and save lives.
He said: “The latest statistics from the ONS show that almost 99 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the first half of this year were people who had not received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.”
He also conceded that mask-wearing and vaccine passports for crowded venues could be introduced if necessary – as well as “communicating clearly and urgently to the public the need for caution”.
Chief medical officers announced yesterday that the Government have also taken the decision to safely vaccinate children aged 12 to 15, in efforts to further protect the whole population, as Covid cases and deaths begin to rise again this autumn.
In a statement published by Chris Whitty and his peers, they advised: “UK CMOs (Chief Medical Officers) recognise that the overwhelming benefits of vaccination for adults, where risk-benefit is very strongly in favour of vaccination for almost all groups, are not as clear-cut for children and young people aged 12 to 15.”
But the advisors stressed that “it is likely vaccination will help reduce transmission of COVID-19 in schools which are attended by children and young people aged 12 to 15 years”.
They added: “Having a significant proportion of pupils vaccinated is likely to reduce the probability of such events which are likely to cause local outbreaks in, or associated with, schools.
“They will also reduce the chance an individual child gets COVID-19. This means vaccination is likely to reduce (but not eliminate) education disruption.”
The statement goes on to stress the importance of parental consent to vaccination and respect for individual’s medical choices.
It reads: “It is essential that children and young people aged 12 to 15 and their parents are supported in their decisions, whatever decisions they take, and are not stigmatised either for accepting or not accepting, the vaccination offer.
“Individual choice should be respected.”
Sajid Javid announces government plans to tackle Covid this winter (Image: Getty)
In the government announcement today, Mr Javid also addressed concerns about a potential ‘winter lockdown’.
The number of people admitted to hospital with Covid is over six times higher now than it was at the beginning of September last year, Covid deaths are also approximately 15 times higher.
In light of these figures, the Government has announced that a “plan B” tool kit of Covid “contingency measures” which are being kept in reserve and will be deployed if hospitalisations begin to overwhelm the NHS.
These measures include compulsory mask-wearing, working from home, vaccine passports for entry to public events, and tighter travel restrictions.
But the Prime Minister has assured the public that a lockdown is the very last resort for the UK at this point.
The plan for vaccine passports which was announced today, detailed that in the event of a Covid surge this winter, they would be legally required at all nightclubs, indoor settings with over 500 people, and outdoor settings with over 1000 people.
The debate on whether NHS and frontline workers should be forced to get the Covid vaccine was addressed by the Health Secretary today.
Mr Javid said: “Whilst we are not going ahead with mandatory vaccine owning Covid status certification now, we will be holding that power in reserve”.
Let us know which Covid measures you support and oppose in the comment section.
Overall, Government ministers and senior scientists have stressed first and foremost the importance of the booster vaccination programme, which will be pivotal in efforts to avoid day-to-day Covid restrictions.
In a press conference earlier today, Professor Wei Shen Lim explained that although immunity after your second vaccination remains high for a prolonged period of time, a booster is needed because a small drop in immunity among the UK population will create thousands more hospitalisations.
The Professor said: “If we are running at a vaccine effectiveness of 90 percent, and it drops to 80 percent, which is just a 10 percent drop, it may not seem like very much but… if you double the drop, you might see that you’re doubling the number of people who are admitted to hospital.
“It does have a big impact because we’re talking about the entire population here, not just a single individual.”
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Anti-vaccine protester hides their face as they stage a demonstration outside parliament September 8 (Image: Getty)
He added: “Last year in December, one of the urges was to save or protect the NHS because by doing so we save lives. That is entirely true for this winter as well.”
Medical officers have advised that a booster vaccine should be taken no sooner than six months after your second dose.
Express.co.uk wants to know if you would be happy for masks to become mandatory again, what you think of vaccine passports, mandatory vaccines and vaccines for 12 to 15-year-old.
Shares your thoughts by taking part in the Express.co.uk poll and writing in the comments section.