Plans to introduce Covid-19 vaccine passports as proof of vaccination for nightclubs and large events have been scrapped, the health secretary has said.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday Sajid Javid said the government had looked at the evidence for vaccine passports and decided not to go ahead with the plans.
“We shouldn’t just be doing things for the sake of it, or because others are doing it, we should look at every possible intervention properly,” he told the BBC’s Nick Robinson.
It comes just one week after vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said plans for Covid-19 passports would go ahead this month, adding they were the “best way” to keep the night time industry open.
But Javid said on Sunday the government would keep the plans “in reserve”.
“We were right to properly look at it, to look at the evidence. What I can say is that we have looked at it properly and whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports,” he said.
“It should be looked at in combination with other measures, many countries at the times they implemented it was to try and boost their vaccination rates and you can understand why they might have done that.
Javid added passports were no longer needed due to a “wall of defence” including high vaccination rates in England, testing, and new treatments.
Under plans for Covid-19 passports people would have been required to show proof of double vaccination, a negative Covid test or finishing self-isolation after a positive PCR test to gain entry into a nightclub or other large event.
Industry leaders had warned against the scheme warning it could put added strain on the sector. They welcomed Javid’s confirmation that passports would not go ahead.
The government’s apparent U-turn on Covid passports follows the Scottish government voting in support of vaccine passports last week.
Certification will be required to enter events such as nightclubs, and some music festivals and sporting events.
MSPs voted in favour of the measure, which will come into effect on Friday October 1.
Health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “We must do all we can to stem the rise in cases and vaccine certification will form part of a range measures which can help us to do this.
“It will only be used in certain higher risk settings and we hope this will allow businesses to remain open and prevent any further restrictions as we head into autumn and winter.”
Digital Covid passports have been available in England from May through the NHS App, which already allowed users to access a range of NHS services on their smartphone or tablet, including vaccination records.
Users can check their vaccination status through the app if permitted by their GP. This applies to all vaccines.
To use the app you must be registered with a GP in England. The government is recommending people register with the app before booking international travel and at least two weeks before the departure date.
Currently, Covid-19 passports can only be used once a person has had a full course of vaccinations – that means both jabs.