BOHS warns against relaxing control measures in light of vaccinations

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Occupational health practitioners should not rely on vaccination as a workplace control measure for Covid-19, the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) has said.

In an interim advisory note issued this week, BOHS states that, until there is a better understanding of the science around the impact vaccinations will have, other control measures to reduce the spread of the virus should not be relaxed.

It says that vaccination is likely to reduce the impact of transmission of Covid-19 in the workplace because evidence so far indicates that it reduces the severity of symptoms and may also reduce the potential for an individual to spread the virus.

However, it notes that Health and Safety Executive guidance states that vaccination is the “last line of defence” and other control measures should remain in place.

Kelvin Williams, BOHS president, said: “BOHS welcomes the achievement of the 15 million vaccination target. The timetable for easing lockdown restrictions is being closely watched with high expectations and some employers are wondering if and when they might be able to relax some rules.

“The BOHS Covid-19 expert group is monitoring the situation and has issued this interim advisory Note which we hope will serve to support our members with clear advice at this time”.

Meanwhile, new OnePoll research has found that two-thirds (68%) of UK adults support the idea of “vaccination passports” for business travel and holidays, despite concerns from the World Health Organization that such passports should not be issued until more is known about the efficacy of vaccinations in reducing transmission.

The poll of 2,000 adults, commissioned by Medicspot, also found that 34% were concerned that forcing people to have vaccination passports to go abroad would be a breach of human rights as it could discriminate against those who are waiting for the vaccine, cannot have it, or do not want it.

Seventy-two per cent felt that a vaccine passport or a certificate proving a person did not have Covid-19 should be required to attend large-scale events once these resume.

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