Covid-19 vaccines should be viewed by young adults as “liberating”, the Health Secretary has said as ministers distanced themselves from Michael Gove’s suggestion that people who refuse jabs are “selfish”.
Sajid Javid did not endorse his Cabinet colleague’s comments but sought to highlight the benefits of being double jabbed as proof of vaccination becomes an increasing part of life.
Boris Johnson also rejected Mr Gove’s criticism of those who refuse vaccines, but suggested not having the jabs would “hinder” people.
Mr Gove told the PA news agency on Tuesday that “ultimately, if you can be vaccinated and you refuse to, that is a selfish act”.
He told PA: “For young people, they should think of vaccines as being liberating.
“Everyone wants to see a return to normal. We’re on that journey to normal and we’re doing it because of the vaccines.
“But for young people who want to travel, it really helps you to get vaccinated, and that’s the way things are heading and those young people who want those vaccines, they can get them right here and now across the country.”
The Prime Minister also urged people to take up the offer of a jab, indicating that it would open up opportunities for travel and events – a hint that vaccination could increasingly become a requirement.
Mr Johnson has already said he intends to make production of a Covid pass, proving that someone has been fully vaccinated, a condition for entry to England’s nightclubs by the end of September.
The Prime Minister added: “People can obviously see, when you look at things like travel, like mass events, it’s going to be one of those things that will help you, not hinder you.”
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey also distanced herself from Cabinet colleague Mr Gove’s view.
Asked whether those not getting a jab are “selfish”, she told LBC: “I think there are still quite a lot of people who are still scared.
“We want to encourage people to recognise the vaccine is safe and actually will help them but also other people around them too.”