There is no indication that a Covid-19 vaccine will be mandatory or that those who don’t get it will have their movements restricted

27 July 2020
What was claimed

The coronavirus vaccine will be mandatory.

Our verdict

There is no suggestion the coronavirus vaccine will be mandatory. No vaccines are mandatory in the UK.

What was claimed

An app will be placed on your phone without your consent and a QR code on the app will show your vaccine status. Shops and businesses will have a QR scanner that will indicate whether you are allowed to enter based on your vaccine status.

Our verdict

We have found no evidence to suggest any tracking apps will be automatically downloaded onto phones or used to trace vaccinations. There is no suggestion that people who don’t get the vaccination will have their movements limited.

A Facebook post claiming to show how a “mandatory coronavirus vaccine” would be enforced has been shared hundreds of times.

Firstly there is currently little to support the prediction that a coronavirus vaccine will be mandatory in the UK. The Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, recently told the Health and Social Care Select Committee that he doubts that a coronavirus vaccine would become a legal requirement, but this would be up to ministers to decide. 

Prior to this, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said at daily briefings that he would like and encourage people to get a vaccine when it is available but has not said he would make it mandatory. In early May he said, “On the question of whether to make it [the Covid-19 vaccine] compulsory, I think the extent of the public’s reaction to following the lockdown shows that we will be able to achieve very, very high levels of vaccination without taking that step...whilst I don't rule anything out, we are proceeding on the basis that just such a huge proportion of the population are going to take this up because of the obvious benefits to individuals and their families and their communities and indeed the whole nation.” 

Later that month, when asked again if the vaccine would be mandatory, he said: “The question of whether it’s mandatory is not one that we’ve addressed yet. We are still some time off a vaccine being available. But I would hope, given the scale of this crisis, and given the overwhelming need for us to get through this and to get the country back on its feet, and the very positive impact that a vaccine would have, that everybody would have the vaccine." No other vaccine is mandatory in the UK.

We could find no evidence that an app involving a QR would be used to monitor whether or not someone has been vaccinated. We have previously written about claims that tracing apps had been downloaded onto people’s phones without their consent. As we said at the time, there aren’t any plans to automatically download an app to phones to trace contacts, and we’ve found no evidence to suggest there is any plan to trace people’s vaccination history this way.

Away from coronavirus, the UK hasn’t previously banned non-vaccinated people from public spaces. Vaccines are not mandatory in the UK, and people who are unvaccinated for other contagious diseases are not banned from public spaces.

Update 31 July 2020

We have updated this article to include comments from Matt Hancock on whether a future Covid-19 vaccine could be made mandatory

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