The introduction of mandatory Covid certificates for entry into pubs could help curb vaccine volatility among young people, government figures say, amid fears of a “sharp” future decline among younger age groups.
It goes without saying that government insiders believe that the threat of restricting the freedom to visit places such as pubs could act as a “push” especially for younger people.
One older source predicted a decline in the introduction of vaccines to lower age groups could be “sharp”, with young people considered a “particularly hesitant group”. Given that more than half of the UK population received the first dose, intake among the elderly beat expectations and exceeded 90% among some groups.
Earlier this year, Israel – the world leader in vaccine distribution – reported a drop in the number of people attending vaccine appointments, partly reduced by apathy after it began offering stings to those under 35. There are concerns that the same could be true in England.
A source from the British government said: “If the quarrel is not really washed away for health reasons because young people think it will be good, and their grandparents and parents have accepted it, the strongest push is:” You are not going to be free as much you want. ‘Not letting in pubs can direct thoughts. “
On Wednesday, Boris Johnson told lawmakers that visitors could be asked to provide proof that they were vaccinated, saying it “may depend on individual customs offices.” Pressed to the issue on Thursday, he urged people to wait for the audit conclusions and suggested that documents would not be introduced until all adults were offered a sting.
Michael Gove, a cabinet minister, is seen by government insiders as a strong supporter of the Covid status certificate scheme, fueled by the success of the Israeli system. But officials and ministers are said to be divided between whether certification should only apply to mass events for which there is widespread support, or to smaller venues, which is more controversial.
The Guardian understands that external evidence was taken at the consultations on whether the certificates could serve as an incentive for younger people to take the hit, and officials are directly asking if the tool can work as a “push” for vaccination.
Less worrying is the question of whether younger people are suspicious of vaccines, and more so whether they will be more relaxed in their 20s and 30s about their own health risks, and therefore more about booking appointments. It is argued that inducing them to prove their vaccine status – or a negative test – to enter a pub or at least could provide a strong incentive to vaccinate.
Officials also took evidence of the system’s legal risks, including whether it could be in conflict with the European Convention on Human Rights and what that might mean for employment rights.
They are considering whether pubs could be allowed to check the status of Covid customers, but not the status of their bartenders, as the law works in Israel. This would be less complex than the need to change the labor law.
Ensuring that the scheme involves people who can prove a negative test result could negate the claim of indirect discrimination against vaccine fluctuations, some believe. Another area under discussion is whether those who have previously had the virus should be allowed to obtain a status certificate indicating that they have antibodies to the coronavirus to ensure entry into the scene.
Questions have been asked in the government about how the certificates will work given the “significant reduction” in the supply of vaccines predicted by NHS England next month, and how the final phase of easing the lock could be as early as June 21 – before the government’s official end. of all adults.
Research seems to support the suggestion that young people are less likely to get the vaccine. A survey by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori, conducted by more than 170,000 people, found that 99% of people over the age of 80 said they would accept the blow compared to 83% between the ages of 18 and 29.
A study by the Office for National Statistics released last month found that 17% of those aged 16 to 29 reported hesitating to receive the Covid vaccine, compared with only 1% of those aged 70 and over.
Prof. John Drury of the University of Sussex, a government scientific adviser working with the SPI-B conduct insight group, said in a personal capacity that ministers “have always had problems with young people” since the start of the pandemic.
He quoted that he was less likely to stay home before the start of the epidemic in March 2020 because “social life is much more important to young people and some messages probably didn’t help about it because it was about protecting yourself and yourself -interest; then they changed it to think about your community and your family. ”
Drury warned of a “rough” approach to encouraging people to get vaccinated, which was repeated by another SPI-B scientist, Prof. Stephen Reicher, who warned that those in need of persuasion to be vaccinated could be rejected by a sense of coercion, which he said would “Create big problems”.
A government spokesman said: “We continue to do everything to encourage all those who have the right to the vaccine. As noted in the roadmap, we will consider whether Covid status certification can play a role in reopening our economy, including international travel, reducing restrictions on social contact, and improving security. “