Europe

Businesses 'could turn away customers who haven't had Covid vaccine'

Businesses such as airlines could reportedly turn away customers who have not had a coronavirus vaccine.

Boris Johnson made it clear that no one would be forced to be vaccinated, saying: ‘That’s not the way we do things in this country’.

But senior cabinet officials told The Sun that there is nothing to prevent private firms from requiring customers to be vaccinated.

A senior Whitehall source told the newspaper: ‘I do think that very quickly when the vaccine is available all sorts of organisations will come to their own conclusions that in order to, say fly or operate safely, businesses will decide it is safer to ensure people have been vaccinated.

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‘But we can’t put the cart before the horse, the vaccines haven’t been approved and we haven’t had these types of discussions yet.’

Australian airline Qantas has already said it won’t let international passengers board their flights unless they have proof they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19.

CEO Alan Joyce said the move would be a ‘necessity’ once restrictions across the world begin to ease.

He told Australia’s Nine Network that the company were currently looking at changing their terms and conditions to ensure all international travellers are vaccinated.

He went on: ‘Whether you need that domestically, we will have to see what happens with Covid-19 and the market. But certainly for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity.’

It is hoped that a coronavirus vaccine could be rolled out to the most vulnerable in the UK before the end of the year, with the bulk of the population being vaccinated early next year.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said life could start to go ‘back to normal’ after Easter following the breakthroughs in the Pfizer jab and Oxford vaccine – though this depends on them being approved.

Although vaccines won’t be mandatory in the UK, Boris Johnson said everyone should be ‘very very pro vaccine’ as he tore into anti-vax propaganda at a Downing Street press conference on Monday.

 He estimated that the majority of people could be vaccinated by Easter if there was ‘a favourable wind’.

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty added: ‘My advice – any medical practitioner’s advice – would be these should be voluntary vaccinations.

‘People should want to take them because they will protect them from a potentially very debilitating – and in some cases, sadly, fatal – disease.’

Asked if the PM would endorse Qantas’s policy, a No10 spokesman said: ‘That’s a decision by a private company, and it’s for them to set their own rules and requirements.’

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