The laws introducing a third English lockdown do not make the Covid-19 vaccine mandatory

11 January 2021
What was claimed

Mandatory vaccines became law from Wednesday 6 January 2021.

Our verdict

This is not true. Vaccines are not mandatory in the UK, and the changes to the law introducing a third lockdown in England on Wednesday don’t change that.

A video on Facebook posted on 4 January claims that on “Wednesday they’re passing a bill to make the Covid regulations law.” 

The man in the video claims this means that “Mandatory vaccinations, house arrest until you’re vaccinated, your children are going to be forced to be vaccinated.”

The caption of the video makes the same claim, saying: “MANDATORY VACCINATIONS WILL BECOME LAW FROM WEDNESDAY”. 

It’s true that parliament did vote on new Covid-19 regulations that became law on Wednesday 6 January, but it is not true that these rules introduced mandatory vaccinations.

These laws introduced a national lockdown in England, meaning people can only leave their houses for basic necessities, to work if they cannot do so from home, to exercise once per day, and for some other exceptions. 

The new rules do not mention vaccinations at all, let alone them being mandatory.

As we have written before, vaccinations are not mandatory in the UK. There are a number of things that the law allows to prevent the spread of a disease, but forcing people to have medical treatment is not one of them. And the law in England and Wales specifies that by treatment, it “includes vaccination and other prophylactic treatment”. There are equivalent laws in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Children cannot be forcibly vaccinated either. Either the person getting the vaccine or someone with parental responsibility for them (depending on the person’s age and whether they are “Gillick competent”, meaning they can fully understand what the procedure involves) must consent for an immunisation to take place. 

The law that came into force on Wednesday does not change any of this.

There don’t seem to be plans to make a Covid-19 vaccine mandatory either. In early December, the Prime Minister told the House of Commons: “I strongly urge people to take up the vaccine, but it is no part of our culture or our ambition in this country to make vaccines mandatory. That is not how we do things.”

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