Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Petition Do not make Covid-19 vaccination a requirement to physically attend university

I want the Government to rule out making vaccination a condition for students to attend lectures, or reside in halls of residence. This would amount to discrimination.

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The Government should acknowledge that requiring vaccination as a condition of study is discriminatory against students who have not been vaccinated, for whatever reason, and to implement this could be harmful to their education and puts them at a disadvantage.

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12,045 signatures

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100,000

Government responded

This response was given on 18 August 2021

The Government currently has no plans to require the use of vaccine certification for access to learning or accommodation. Universities should promote vaccination to help keep HE settings safe.

Read the response in full

Vaccination is not currently a requirement for entry onto university campuses. There are no plans to require the use of vaccine certification for access to learning or halls of residence. The Government has continued to encourage all Universities in promoting take up of the vaccine and to continue to conduct risk assessments for their particular circumstances.

Vaccinations are important in helping to keep higher education settings safe, and we strongly encourage all students to take up the offer of both vaccine doses. We are making it as easy as possible for young people to access and find information about the vaccine through a targeted advertising campaign, the Government’s ‘Grab a Jab’ campaign, initiatives like ‘Vaccine Information Street Teams’ and pop-up sites in popular locations. The Government has recently launched a multimedia advertising campaign targeting 18-34 year olds in England which will run to early September.

The Government is working closely with universities to support student vaccine uptake. This has included providing useful information resources, such as NHS England’s frequently asked questions (FAQs) on vaccines for students: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2021/06/C1317-COVID-19-vaccination-FAQs-students-in-Higher-Education-Institutions-.pdf. We are also encouraging universities to consider how they can work with local health teams to set up ‘pop up’ temporary clinics at locations convenient for students to access. Many universities have taken creative approaches to encouraging uptake. Sussex University, for example, has created a competition for the fully vaccinated or exempt with the opportunity to win money.

As of 12th August, 69.12% of 18-24 year olds had had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 24.87% had had their second. The Government is content that the measures being taken are sufficient to maximise student uptake of the vaccine and has no plans to introduce mandatory certification to access learning or accommodation.

Department for Education

At 100,000 signatures...

At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

Other parliamentary business

MPs to debate Covid-19 vaccination on Monday 20 September

The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs that oversees the parliamentary petitions) has scheduled a debate on covid-19 vaccination, following two petitions on this subject that have received over 100,000 signatures.

The debate will take place in Westminster Hall, the second chamber of the House of Commons, on Monday 20 September and will last up to 90 minutes. It will be led by a Member of the Petitions Committee, and the Government will send a Minister to respond.

Watch the debate (from 6pm, Mon 20 Sept): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7_2B4d48PU

You can also read a transcript of the debate a few hours after it has finished: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-09-20

Find out more about how Westminster Hall debates work:
https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/westminster-hall-debates/

MPs hold evidence session on covid-19 and higher education

On Wednesday 27 October, MPs on the Education Committee questioned Higher and Further Education Minister Michelle Donelan MP and leaders from the sector. The Committee asked about the impact of covid-19 on higher education and how universities have been adapting to the pandemic.

Watch the session: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/270879ab-f237-441d-899a-451531c7ab15

Read a transcript of the session: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/1542/universities-and-the-pandemic/publications/

The Committee questioned the Minister and sector leaders on the decision by some universities to continue with aspects of online and remote learning despite an announcement in the summer that in-person teaching could resume.

It questioned them on the effect of the pandemic on the health and wellbeing of students and staff, and what is being done to support disadvantaged students, widen participation and improve graduate outcomes.

What are evidence sessions?

Evidence sessions are public meetings with experts, officials or people with personal experiences of the topic being examined. Evidence sessions help Committees to understand how Government policies are working in the real world, and what needs to change to make things better.

What is the Education Committee?

The Education Committee scrutinises the work of the Department for Education and its associated public bodies. It examines government policy, spending and administration on behalf of the electorate and the House of Commons. It's a cross-party committee and is independent of the Government.

Find out more on its website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/203/education-committee/

You can get updates on its work by following the Committee on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/CommonsEd

This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

You can also sign up to the UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference: https://learning.parliament.uk/en/your-uk-parliament-newsletter-sign-up-form/

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