Brits who haven’t had a Covid vaccine without good reason are “idiots”, Tony Blair declared today.
The former Prime Minister issued a blast at the millions who have still not had a first jab against the deadly disease.
Mr Blair told Times Radio: “If you’re not vaccinated at the moment and you’re, you’re eligible and you’ve got no health reason for not being vaccinated, you’re not just irresponsible, I mean, you’re an idiot.
“I’m sorry, I mean, truthfully you are.”
Mr Blair’s comments go far further than Tory ministers – who have previously tried to avoid condemning those who have not yet had a jab, and have ruled out compulsory jabs for the population.
More than 5million people over 12 in England have not had the first dose of a vaccine. But while some are ardent anti-vaxxers, others have hesitated about getting the jab for other reasons.
There have been outreach programmes to persuade people to get the jab – including around 90,000 NHS staff who are yet to get a first dose.
However, Health Secretary Sajid Javid hardened up warnings this week by saying unvaccinated people “must really think about the damage they are doing to society”.
He added they “are really having a damaging impact and I just can’t stress enough, please do come forward and get vaccinated”.
Mr Blair told Times Radio: “Because this Omicron variant is so contagious, if you’re unvaccinated and you’re in circulation, you’re going to get it.
“And that is going to put a lot of strain on the health service. Almost half the people in ICU are unvaccinated.
“Now, we shouldn’t target these people who are unvaccinated in a heavy-handed way. But we should be trying to go after them and persuade them.
“There may be all sorts of reasons. But honestly, it’s in their own interests – never mind the public interest – for them to get vaccinated.”
Mr Blair said he is testing himself for Covid “constantly” before Christmas and said “I’m not in favour of shutting everything down”.
But he warned Boris Johnson is taking a “gamble” by waiting until after Christmas – when more will be known about Omicron – to introduce new restrictions.
He said: “It is a gamble what the government’s doing.
“Because if you look at this in purely public health terms and I’ve spoken to many public health professionals in the last days, erm, you know, they’re pretty much of one view.
“If you were taking a purely precautionary view of this you would impose further restrictions. Probably quite draconian restrictions.
“But I think a, the public’s just been through too much, and b, you’ve got too many different categories of people for the blunt instrument of a lockdown really to work in the way that you want.”