Covid passports will not be introduced for now, the Health Secretary confirmed to MPs this afternoon.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Sajid Javid announced that the move – which would have seen people going to crowded places such as nightclubs required to prove they’d had two jabs, will not proceed.
Earlier this year the Prime Minister said vaccine passports would come into effect in September.
Today Mr Javid said the Government will reserve the option in future if needed – branding it part of “Plan B”.
He said that the evidence to support vaccine passports is “not there” currently, and added it hopes it never is.
But Mr Javid said the possibility is being kept “in reserve” in case spiralling cases make action necessary.
The government’s plan states: “Taking into account the latest data on the state of the epidemic, mandatory vaccine‑only certification will not be implemented from the end of September.
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“It would,however, be part of the Government’s Plan B if the data suggests action is required toprevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS. Mandating vaccine-only certificationwould be preferable to closing venues entirely or reimposing social distancing.”
It continues: “If Plan B is implemented, it could be at short notice in response to concerning data.
“Therefore, in order to help businesses prepare their own contingency plans, theGovernment will shortly publish more detail about the proposed certification regimethat would be introduced as part of Plan B.”
It comes after days of confusion and mixed messaging which has characterised the government’s response to the pandemic.
On Sunday he appeared to confirm a U-turn, saying that the passports had been scrapped.
Mr Javid told the BBC on Sunday: “We shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it.”
And he added: “I’m pleased to say we will not be going ahead with plans.”
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But he had earlier told Sky’s Trevor Philips that no decision had been made, and Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi last week appeared to confirm the vaccine passport plans.
Mr Zahawi said it “pains me” to implement something that “goes against the DNA” of the Prime Minister and himself.
Labour has slammed Mr Javid’s mixed messages on Covid passports. Deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “The government’s approach to Covid passports has been shambolic from the start.
“There has never been any clarity from ministers about what vaccine passports were supposed to achieve, how they would work and what was expected from businesses and workers.
“Days ago, the vaccine minister stood before Parliament to confirm the introduction of Covid passports and stress their importance, now they’ve been scrapped.
“This is the culmination of a summer of chaos from ministers and they urgently need to get a grip before winter.”
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