Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has said the government is considering Covid vaccine passports for Brits, both within the UK and travelling overseas.
On Sunday, Raab told radio station LBC that the government “hasn’t ruled out” introducing the Covid documents both within the UK and for overseas travel.
He said the modalities and mechanisms for reopening the country still “need to be worked out” but that ministers are considering the option of vaccine passports.
“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 of the status of the individual,” he told LBC’s Swarbrick on Sunday.
“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.”
However, a government spokesperson later told LBC: “There are no plans to introduce immunity passports for use domestically.”
A week ago, the UK government ruled out plans for such passports – with vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi calling them “discriminatory”.
Health secretary Matt Hancock told LBC on Monday morning that only international vaccine passports were being considered.
He said: “There are some countries around the world who are saying that, in order to travel there, in the future, you will have to show that you have been vaccinated.
“We want to make sure that Brits can do that and therefore can show their vaccination status in a vaccine certificate of some kind in order to do that sort of travel.
“We haven’t got any plans for the introduction of this domestically.
“We are, of course, working with international partners because having those standards to prove that you have been vaccinated, if a country decides that you’ve got to have been vaccinated to go there, it is important that Brits have access to that as well.”
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth told LBC on Sunday that he thinks Covid vaccine passports are “inevitable” for international travel and that some organisations domestically “are probably going to expect it”.
The Times reported that care homes, schools and businesses are speaking to technology companies about vaccine passports, which would enable those who are protected against coronavirus to come to work.
Raab is also resisting calls from dozens of Conservative MPs who are urging the government to lift restrictions in May, when all the top nine priority groups should have been offered a coronavirus vaccine.
Speaking to Sophy Ridge On Sunday, Raab refused to set an “arbitrary target” and added ministers will be “evidence-led”.
Meanwhile, writing in the Mail on Sunday, former prime minister Tony Blair reiterated his calls for vaccine passports.
“There is no prospect of a return to anything like normal without enabling people to show their Covid status, whether that means they have been vaccinated or recently tested,” he said.
“More than 120 countries, including our own, already demand that international travellers show proof of a full negative test result before entry. Once vaccinations become widespread, this demand will naturally move to vaccination.”
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