Lord Lilley told BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis that the so-called vaccine-hesitant population could “hold the rest of us to ransom”. Asked whether a coronavirus vaccine passport would be welcome, a “necessary evil” or cause division, Lord Lilley said it was “possibly a necessary evil.”
He added: “That’s not unreasonable for international travel, and likewise domestically.
“If people, particularly working in the healthcare sector and in then social care sector, it’s not unreasonable to expect them to have taken precautions that mean they’re both less likely to get it and less likely to transmit it.
“What worried me overall about the forecasts is they seem to assume that one in 5 adults won’t be vaccinated at all or will be vaccine-hesitant, as they call it.
“And they can effectively hold the rest of us to ransom. And I don’t think that’s right.
“If people don’t want to take the vaccine then they should take alternate precautions so that they don’t get the disease.
“But we shouldn’t say that because a fifth of the population refuse to take it the other four fifths have to remain locked down forever.”
The conversation sparked debate on Twitter with some users countering Lord Lilley’s argument.
One person wrote: “As far as I can tell the vaccine protects the individual and not others so make your choice informed or ill-informed.
The remarks come after a study revealed that both the Oxford/ AstraZeneca and Pfizer jab lead to a “significant reduction” in infections.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock branded the study “exciting” and “extremely good news”.
Jonathan Van-Tam, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said the Public Health England research raised hopes of a “very different world in the next few months”.