Justin Welby says he's 'not personally in favour' of vaccine mandates

Justin Welby receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

Justin Welby has been one of many Church leaders encouraging people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 but he is not in favour of making it a legal requirement.

The Archbishop of Canterbury was asked by BBC's Today programme about how society should regard those who do not get vaccinated.

He was supportive of "incentives" aimed at "encouraging" people to get vaccinated but said that society should not be "condemnatory" towards people who choose to remain unvaccinated. 

"I'm not personally in favour of compulsory vaccination by law," the Archbishop said.

"But I am very much in favour of encouraging people, of incentivising people to get vaccinated."

Welby said that condemning the unvaccinated "doesn't do much good" and may increase a "general sense of anger". 

"I think we need to be encouraging people to look after their neighbours," he said. 

"In Jesus's great words: 'Love your neighbour as yourself'. So if you do that, it seems to me you go and get vaccinated, I'd encourage people."

It echoes past comments from the Archbishop about wearing a face mask. 

"Wearing a mask is loving your neighbour. Keeping your distance is loving your neighbour. Washing your hands is loving your neighbour. Let's keep loving our neighbours," he said back in September 2020. 

Just before Christmas, the Archbishop said that taking the vaccine was a "moral issue". 

"A lot of people won't like that, but I think it is because it's not about me and my rights," he said.