The University of Essex has stopped short of backing proposed government plans to demand students are double vaccinated before they are allowed to return to campus.

Earlier this week education minister Vicky Ford repeatedly refused to rule out that students could be required to be fully vaccinated in order to attend lectures in person and live in halls of residence.

Today (July 29), Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the Government would decide whether to make vaccination a requirement for students in September.

He added the Government would make sure students, most of whom will be starting their new terms that month, have “advanced warning”.

When questioned over whether the University of Essex, which has campuses in Colchester, Southend and Loughton, would back the proposals, officials were tight-lipped, however a spokesperson did say the university would be providing on-site vaccinations for students.

“We will be supporting our students to get vaccinated in order to protect themselves, fellow students and the wider university community,” a university spokesperson said.

“We will be running NHS vaccination clinics on Colchester, Southend and Loughton campuses in the Autumn term during Welcome Week to help students get their first or second vaccination. We’ll be providing information to students as part of their registration process.”

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether vaccination will be advisory or compulsory for students returning to halls of residence in September, Mr Raab said: “When we come to the crunch, these decisions will be taken in September.”

Responding to a suggesting that the timing would be “a bit late” for students, he said: “We have, right the way through this pandemic, had to take advice and decisions based on the evidence as we see it.

“We will certainly make sure university students have advanced warning, of course we are going to be mindful of that.”

He said there must be reassurance that “we don’t take backwards steps having come out of what has been a very intrusive lockdown”.

He added: “The only steps that we will take in this regard are ones that will maximise the freedom that the vast majority of the country want and are hankering to enjoy.”

Labour has previously called on the Government to set up vaccination centres on university campuses to ensure students are fully inoculated ahead of the winter.

The party is urging ministers to do more to promote the jab to young people, including working with universities to set up vaccination centres on campus to provide easier access.