The vaccine pressure campaign from Heineken has been branded “ludicrous” by British MPs who are wary of corporations discriminating against people who haven’t had a coronavirus vaccine.
Dutch beer maker Heineken released a video entitled ‘The Night is Young’ which celebrated people who have had the jab with the slogan: “The night belongs to the vaccinated, time to join them”. Subverting the norm of nightclubs and reflecting the present situation where elderly, vulnerable people rushed to get vaccinated but young people have taken it up more slowly, the video shows a bar full of older patrons dancing and drinking.
Responding to the ad campaign, Conservative MP David Jones told The Telegraph: “Heineken really ought to consider whether they’re discriminating against loyal customers who maybe cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons.
“The Government does say that private companies can impose their own rules but I think it’s really discriminatory and there are lots of people who can’t be vaccinated, and it’s quite wrong they should not be able to go into a pub and have a drink.”
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen added that Heineken’s English language advertisement was “ludicrous”, saying: “I’m surprised they’re not making recommendations in other countries given their level of vaccine hesitancy.”
“They need to be encouraging our EU neighbours who are suffering.”
A Heineken spokesperson said: “This is part of our #FreshBeginnings platform, which celebrates people’s return to enjoying social moments following the pandemic.
“It is all about supporting the hospitality industry and getting back to the bars and restaurants safely so we can all be together again.
“The Night is Young celebrates a group of vaccinated seniors who are able to safely get back out to enjoy bars and clubs and socialise again – something we’re all looking forward to.”
The pushback comes amid a wider debate over the future of lockdowns in the UK, with the government hinting that vaccine passports may be required for pubs, restaurants, and clubs during the predicted ‘autumn wave’ of the virus.
The head of UK hospitality, Kate Nicholls warned that the proposed measures would be devastating to the already hard-hit industry.
“You would be putting door control on every pub, bar, restaurant, coffee shop, hotel, nightclub and music venue in the country [to check certificates] and that’s simply not happening at the moment,” she said.
“You would see high levels of business failure, high levels of business closure unless there was substantive Government support.”
The campaign to convince younger people to get the vaccine has also seen The Teletubies join the act, with the social media account for the British children’s show featuring characters holding onto vaccine passport-style cards with the message: “We’re all vaxxed! Just in time for a Tubby hot summer. Who’s ready to come out & play?”
To date, around 58 per cent of people aged between 18 and 29-years-old have taken the vaccine, however, with rising cases of the so-called Delta variant of the Chinese virus among the young, ministers have been pushing for more to take the jab.
This week the National Health Service (NHS) released a suggestive video on Tik Tok featuring a lesbian kiss which implied that young people should get the jab in order to be able to hook up.
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis said that while he would hope more younger people would take the vaccine, he said: “I would be concerned if they turned round and said you couldn’t go to a nightclub if you haven’t been vaccinated.”
“After July 19 that would be inappropriate. I would like to see lots of young people vaccinated but that’s their call, frankly.”