Ministers may have scrapped plans for residents to use their COVID vaccine passports to attend large scale events such as concerts and sports games, The Telegraph has revealed.
Domestic vaccine passport plans have been ‘killed off’
Officials working on the UK’s coronavirus vaccine passports believe there is no chance that the records will be mandated to access large-scale events. But, ministers are yet to make any final decisions. A government source revealed to The Telegraph:
It’s not a case of ‘it’s finely balanced’. It’s not going to happen. Everyone says it’s dead.
If given the green light, the idea of the passports was to provide evidence of COVID vaccination, a negative test result, or virus antibodies to gain access to large public events. Ideas for the passport's domestic use were brought to light in February when Prime Minister Boris Johnson began planning the country’s roadmap out of lockdown. It is hoped that by the 21st of June, England will be able to return to large-scale events. However, cases of the Indian variant in the UK could potentially threaten this progress.
Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove has also played down the chances of the vaccine passports becoming mainstream, stating that any use of the passports domestically would only be temporary.
A Whitehall source explained to the publication:
Michael has been listening very carefully to the arguments for and against Covid certification. The review has left no stone unturned in examining whether there is a case for them domestically. He will make recommendations to the PM soon.
Domestic vaccine passports come with complications and ethical concerns
Vaccine passports have been widely accepted for international travel and will be continued for this purpose. But, when used domestically, vaccine certificates pose complications and ethical dilemmas.
Critics have warned that requiring residents to provide their medical details to attend social events could be considered highly controversial, especially for those who cannot get vaccinated due to medical reasons or age. It is also understood that foreign travellers would not have access to the NHS vaccine passports.
Boris Johnson has also previously expressed hesitation to use the domestic vaccine passports for hospitality venues. It has been understood that the use of the documents for this purpose has already been scrapped.
Another reason for the passport reluctance is due to the increasing levels of COVID vaccination throughout the UK. With over 60 million people in the country having already received their first dose, the health benefits of the passports seem less clear.
However, even if COVID passports don’t get the green light from the government, venues and businesses could still require evidence of negative tests or vaccination before granting customers entry.