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UCU responds to reports of compulsory vaccines for students

26 July 2021

UCU has today responded to reports that the UK government has considered compulsory vaccines for students

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said 'Lurching from complacency to compulsion is typical of a government that has flip flopped its way through this pandemic.  Students should be prioritised for vaccinations, to ensure as many as possible have the opportunity to be vaccinated by September, but making vaccinations compulsory as a condition to access their education is wrong and would be hugely discriminatory against those who are unable to be vaccinated, and international students.

Sadly, this looks and smells like a prime minister trying to pin the blame on students for not yet taking up a vaccine they haven't been prioritised to receive. Instead of chasing headlines as ministers go off on holiday, it would be much more useful if the prime minister worked with universities and NHS providers to enable and sensitively encourage student vaccination without resorting to compulsion, and finally make a clear case for the scrapping of vaccine patents globally - which are restricting the ability to vaccinate the world, entrenching global inequalities and exposing us all to more vaccine resistant strains.'

NOTE

UCU wrote to Gavin Williamson on Thursday 22 July calling on the UK government to make vaccines available to students before September. In the letter, Jo Grady wrote:

'Delivering a consistent, high-quality education during a pandemic is reliant on first keeping students and staff safe from infection. We are therefore urging you to support UCU's calls for all university students to be offered the opportunity to be fully vaccinated before the start of the academic year, as a priority group.'

 

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