The UK has not placed an order for the vaccine – which works in a similar way to Pfizer’s – although Government sources told The Telegraph they were in “advanced discussions” to secure doses.
Asked on Monday whether the Government could be required to make the vaccine mandatory, Mr Hancock told talkRADIO: “Well it’s complex, because there’s some people who for medical reasons can’t have a vaccine. It’s a complex question.
“Of course I want as many people as possible to take it, and we won’t be allowing it, we won’t be regulating it…until it is both effective,which we know with the Biontech-Pfizer one, and safe. The safety is critical as well.
“I hope that a very large proportion of the population will take the vaccine. We’re not proposing at this stage making it mandatory.”
However, when asked again if he was categorically ruling it out, Mr Hancock said: “Honestly I’ve learnt not to rule things out during this pandemic because we have to watch what happens and you have to make judgments accordingly.”
Speaking earlier, he also hit out at a group of health and care staff who have formed a social media group opposed to vaccinations, wearing masks and testing in hospitals.
“Being opposed to vaccinations where they have been through the rigorous safety processes is entirely inappropriate,” he told Times Radio.
“And I wouldn’t advise it for anybody, because we don’t propose, and allow vaccines in this country, unless they pass some of the most stringent safety requirements in the world.
“Getting a vaccine – whether it’s for flu or hopefully for coronavirus – is something that not only protects you but protects the people around you. So it’s a really important step.”