The health secretary, Sajid Javid, has confirmed that vaccine passports will not be introduced in England.
Mr Javid made the announcement on the BBC, stating that plans to use the passports in venues, such as nightclubs, should not be done “for the sake of it.” There had been widespread speculation that vaccine passes would be employed for large-scale events, clubs and entertainment and sporting venues.
If the passport scheme had been given the green light, people would have needed to show proof of full vaccination or a negative Covid-test to access venues. The scheme was criticised by some MPs, nightclub owners and campaigners who believe that passports are discriminatory.
There are plans to go ahead with a scheme in Scotland, but Mr Javid stressed that the situation would only change in England if there was a need to respond to huge rises of cases and hospitalisation rates in the autumn and winter.
The move to scrap vaccine passports has been welcomed by the Night Time Industries Association and The Music Venue Trust.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday 12th September, the health secretary suggested that the government didn’t want to take actions because others were and added that many people felt uncomfortable with the idea of having to “show your papers” to do an “everyday activity.” It will be kept “in reserve” if the situation deteriorates during the colder months but ministers are currently focusing on alternative ways to encourage people to enjoy events safely.
During the interview, Mr Javid also indicated that he was in favour of getting rid of PCR tests for travel and had sought advice on implementing other measures to open up travel without putting the country at risk of new variants. He also added that there were no plans for further lockdowns in the autumn and winter, but underlined the unpredictability of the virus and said that it would be “irresponsible to take everything off the table.”
In Scotland, vaccine passports will be introduced for nightclubs and large venues in October. Ministers in Wales will vote on the issue next week. There are no plans to implement a similar system in Northern Ireland.
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