Vaccine passports still being considered under plans for lockdown easing - what it could mean

Monday, 15th February 2021, 10:35 am
Updated Monday, 15th February 2021, 12:43 pm
Vaccine passports are "under consideration" according to Dominic Raab (Photo: Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Vaccine passports are "under consideration" according to Dominic Raab (Photo: Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Vaccine passports which let members of the public prove that they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 are “under consideration” according to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Raab told LBC that the logistics around reopening the country “still need to be worked out”, but that ministers are considering introducing domestic Covid-19 vaccination passports.

He said: “It’s something that hasn’t been ruled out and it’s under consideration, but of course you’ve got to make it workable.

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“Whether it’s at an international, domestic or local level, you’ve got to know that the document being presented is something that you can rely on and that it’s an accurate reflection on the status of the individual.

“I’m not sure there’s a foolproof answer in the way that it's sometimes presented but of course we’ll look at all the options.”

‘No plans to introduce vaccine passports’

A government spokesperson has said: “There are no plans to introduce immunity passports for use domestically.

In December, Michael Gove also told Sky News: “I certainly am not planning to introduce any vaccine passports, and I don’t know anyone else in government who is.”

Additionally, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi deemed vaccine passports “discriminatory”, and earlier this month said that the Government has “no plans” to introduce them in Britain.

Speaking on BBC’s Answer Marr Show, Zahawi said: “There are several reasons we’re not [introducing vaccine passports]. One, vaccines are not mandatory in this country, as Boris Johnson has quite rightly reminded parliament, that’s not how we do things in the uK, we do them by consent.

“We yet don’t know what the impact of vaccines on transmission is, and it would be discriminatory.”

Speaking on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, Zahawi added: “If other countries obviously require some form of proof, then you can ask your GP because your GP will hold your records and that will then be able to be used as your proof that you’ve had the vaccine.

“But we are not planning to have a passport in the UK.”

Vaccine passports could be required for foreign travel - 'but no plans to introduce them for domestic activities'

Speaking to the media on Monday (15 Feb), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he imagines vaccine passport schemes may be required for foreign travel, but he has no plans to introduce them for domestic activities.

He said: "I think inevitably there will be great interest in ideas like can you show that you had a vaccination against Covid in the way you sometimes have to show you have had a vaccination against yellow fever or other diseases in order to travel somewhere.

"I think that is going to be very much in the mix down the road, I think that is going to happen.

"What I don't think we will have in this country is - as it were - vaccination passports to allow you to go to, say, the pub or something like that."

No ‘workable proposition’ for vaccine passports

When speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Raab said that it is not yet possible to put forward a “workable proposition” regarding a vaccine passport.

He said: “We can certainly discuss those things both internationally and domestically, but the reality is you’ve got to have a workable system, so it’s not something that I think yet is in a place where we can put forward a workable proposition that countries around the world would be able to rely on.

“And the risk of course with anything like that is if you create something which isn’t workable, that isn’t dependable, it creates a false sense of security, and no-one wants to do that.”

UK should ‘take the lead’ with Covid passports

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that the UK should lead the way in creating a global Covid-19 vaccination passport scheme.

Writing in an article for The Daily Mail, Blair claimed that the world was already moving in the direction of vaccine passports, and that Britain should impose a common set of rules and standards.

He wrote: “This is not about discrimination, or hostility towards those not vaccinated or tested.

“It is a completely understandable desire to know whether those we mix with might be carrying the disease.”

Blair also added that arguments against vaccine passports “really don’t add up”.

“This is not just about holidays. It’s also about business travel and freight. It’s about improving levels of confidence in going back to the workplace. Travelling on public transport. Joining events with large crowds.

“Most of all, seeing loved ones, especially those who may be among the most vulnerable to Covid-19,” Blair said.