Ministers are due to discuss a proposal to introduce vaccination certificates and testing as a means to open up international travel, according to reports.
Sky News says a Cabinet Office proposal will be debated by the leaders of the relevant departments and the Department for Transport could then draw-up plans with the NHS asked to allow people to access their ‘vaccine status’.
‘Formal engagement’ with other countries on the plans will also begin, it said, quoting a ‘government insider’, adding that the Foreign Office will help design the international system.
The chief executive of Abta says the option for introducing vaccine certificates must be on the table, and could help re-open travel.
Writing in a blog today, Mark Tanzer called on the government to work with the travel industry to develop a voluntary vaccine certificate, rather than a mandatory vaccine passport.
He said: “That would be a real incentive to get people travelling again.”
Tanzer pointed out that some overseas governments, such as Greece and Cyprus, are looking at proof of vaccination as a way for travellers to avoid testing and quarantine requirements.
He said vaccine certification “isn’t a new idea” and pointed to internationally-recognised yellow fever vaccination policies.
Data privacy and discrimination were valid concerns, said Tanzer, who said this reason is why such a scheme should be optional.
Tanzer said understanding whether vaccines are effective against new variants and stop those that have received it transmitting the virus was key and that it would be a key question asked by destinations popular with the UK market.
“While I strongly believe that being vaccinated, and having evidence of it that is recognised internationally, must be part of the solution to reopening travel – it cannot be the only route,” he said. “There need to be other ways, such as a practical and cost-effective testing regime, to allow those who are yet to be vaccinated to travel.”
Earlier this week, Trailfinders chairman and founder Mike Gooley also backed ‘vaccine passports’ in a blog post.
He said: “It’s hard to comprehend the lack of enthusiasm for a vaccine passport.
“We must harness the power of our immunisation programme to restore liberties and boost economies both at home and abroad. Far better to let a growing number of the vaccinated have a fuller life right now, rather than delay until we all can.
“The vaccinated should be excused costly testing and quarantining.
“Under the current, rushed, plans a vaccinated person, returning to Britain, may have to pay £1,750 for a 10 day stay in a quarantine hotel and undergo repeated tests.”
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