- Now that the first successful coronavirus vaccine is nearly here, countries and regions of the world like the UK are starting to grapple with how to get as many people as possible to get the vaccine.
- Officials in the UK have begun to talk about the possibility that private companies there, such as restaurants and cinemas, may refuse service to people who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19, as a way to encourage as many people as possible to get vaccination.
- This could be done by relying on the same system used by the UK for tracking coronavirus contacts.
A showdown between private business owners and people who refuse to get vaccinated for COVID-19 could be in the works in the UK, where news of promising developments in the race to get a successful coronavirus vaccine is now increasingly satisfied. with the reality of – great, now how can we get people to actually get vaccinated?
The British minister in charge of launching the vaccine there on Monday hinted at one way this could happen. And it actually involves allowing private companies – such as restaurants, cinemas, bars, and the like – to deny service to people who can’t prove they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19.
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British minister Nadhim Zahawi said so BBC that the way this could be done is from places like restaurants and cinemas that tap into the same phone app system in the UK used to facilitate contact tracing for COVID-19. “The kind of pressure (for people to be vaccinated) will come both ways,” Zahawi said. “From the service providers – who will say, ‘Look, show us you’ve been vaccinated’ – but we will also make the technology as simple and accessible as possible.”
This follows the UK launch of a contact tracing app in September to help curb the spread of the virus there. Zahawi, for his part, added that there is an expectation that companies will step up and take measures in response to people’s vaccination status.
“I think people have to make a decision, but I think you will likely find a lot of service providers who will want to engage in this like they did with the app,” Zahawi said.
The UK government has reportedly already finalized purchases from manufacturers of top vaccine candidates, for example, such as purchasing 100 million doses of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine and 5 million Moderna. Speaking of Moderna, he announced on Monday that he would immediately apply for authorization for emergency use in the US and Europe.
In the UK at least, a vaccine is expected to be available before Christmas, pending regulatory approval.