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Grant Shapps said he supported companies requiring staff to be fully vaccinated before they return to the office — but insisted this would be down to individual employers.
The transport secretary echoed the sentiments of his Cabinet colleague Dominic Raab, who said on Thursday that workplace vaccination requirement was a “smart policy” and that he “can understand” why some firms would adopt it.
It comes after tech giants Netflix, Google and Facebook announced yesterday that they will require their US employees to have had both vaccine doses before they come back to work.
Several companies have also said their UK-based staff must be double jabbed, including the publisher Bloomsbury, Pimlico Plumbers and Bank of America.
“Fortunately in this country, as opposed to in the US where Google are headquartered, we have very little vaccine hesitancy,” Shapps told Sky News.
Asked if he supported such policies in the UK, he added: “It’s a good idea, and, yes, some companies will require it.”
“We’re not going to make that legislation, that every adult has to be double vaccinated before they go back to the office, but I think it’s a good idea and some companies will require it.”
Speaking yesterday, foreign secretary Raab also said he backed the move, but stopped short of supporting a legislative route.
“We want everyone to be double-jabbed. I can understand why employers think that that would be a smart policy or approach to encourage,” he told Sky News on Thursday.
“Whether or not there should be hard and fast legal rules I think we need to look at carefully. But our message overwhelmingly is: ‘get the jab.’”Elsewhere on Friday, Shapps also defended the decision to put France on the ‘amber plus’ list, saying it was right to be cautious to protect the UK’s vaccine rollout progress.
Raab said on Wednesday that the move had been made due to the “prevalence of the so-called Beta variant, in particular in the Reunion bit of France” — despite the island being almost 6,000 miles from the mainland.
But Shapps said today that the Beta variant was also a concern in northern parts of France. He told Sky News: “The Beta variant, it is not just – as has been reported – on an island thousands of miles away, it was also an issue in particular in northern France. So it has been an overall concern.”
“The big concern is that we don’t allow a variant which somehow is able to escape the vaccine programme that we have got.”
“We don’t want to have gotten this far with vaccinations, with just getting towards 90% of all adults having been vaccinated, and then throw it all away because a variant that the vaccine perhaps couldn’t handle came in.”
“Now all the evidence on all of that has been pulled together — the latest research on how the vaccine works with the Beta variant, the scale of the Beta variant and France and the rest of it — and then these decisions will, of course, be constantly reviewed which is exactly what will happen.”
Shapps said this advice would be reviewed at “the end of next week” as part of an ongoing assessment of travel rules.
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