Boris Johnson has rejected Michael Gove’s suggestion that people who refuse vaccines are “selfish”.
The prime minister 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 for foreign trips, concerts and sporting occasions.
Johnson has already said that in the autumn 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.
Gove said on Tuesday that “ultimately, if you can be vaccinated and you refuse to, that is a selfish act”.
Asked if he backed Gove’s view, the Prime Minister told LBC Radio: “No, I think that I would put it the other way round and say that if you get one you are doing something massively positive for yourself, for your family.”
Johnson was challenged over his plan to require a vaccine certificate to visit nightclubs from the end of September. “It’s a very positive thing to do to get a vaccine,” he said.
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 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.
“I just really want to encourage people to be positive about the benefits to them, but also to wider society. Taking the vaccine is a sensible, safe step forward.”