The Health Secretary has said he hopes everyone in the country would be immunised against coronavirus if the UK develops a vaccine. Matt Hancock stopped short of confirming jab would be mandatory when asked at today’s Downing Street press conference, but he didn’t rule it out either. A working vaccination is yet to be developed anywhere in the world, but scientists at Oxford University and Imperial College London are locked in a race to make one. Speaking to reporters the Health Secretary said: ‘The question of whether it’s mandatory is not one that we’ve addressed yet. We are still some time off a vaccine being available. But I would hope, given the scale of this crisis, and given the overwhelming need for us to get through this and to get the country back on its feet, and the very positive impact that a vaccine would have, that everybody would have the vaccine.’ National coordinator of the UK’s testing effort Professor John Newton said mandatory vaccinations are an option, but that hopefully it won’t come to that. He added: ‘The most successful vaccine programmes tend to be via consent, so what really matters is clear explanation of the benefits and any risks associated with the vaccine, and a really good system to make the vaccine available to anybody who needs it.
‘Although some countries have adopted mandatory programmes the most successful programmes tend to be on the basis of consent, good information and good delivery mechanisms. But clearly mandation is there and can be used in some instances.’