Ministers are mulling a COVID clear system for people to demonstrate they’ve tested negative or had a vaccine to help open up pubs and sporting events.
The plan is understood to be under consideration as part of the Government’s approach to get the country up and running again.
Boris Johnson threw scepticism on the idea of vaccine passports saying it could be prejudicial against people who genuinely refuse jabs or can’t have them for legitimate reasons.
But the Prime Minister ordered Michael Gove to carry out a review of whether a more comprehensive system of COVID certification could be used to help reopen the United Kingdom.
One option perceived to be on the table would involve businesses able to check test results on the NHS app.
Individuals would be able to show that they’ve either had a jab or tested negative, maintaining their decision about vaccination.
Government sources stressed that no decisions had been taken and work was at an early stage, but supporters say that such a concept could help theatres, cinemas, sporting venues and workplaces get back towards normality more quickly.
On a visit to a school in South London, Boris Johnson said there were extensive and complicated issues involved in taking the new level of asking people to prove things about their health to access businesses or services.
He said that they can’t be prejudicial against people who for whatever reason can’t have the vaccine, there might be medical reasons why people can’t have the vaccine. Or some people may genuinely decline to have one, but that he thought it was a mistake, and that he believed that everyone should have the vaccine, but they needed to thrash all this out.
In the meantime, Sir Jonathan Montgomery, who’s led an evidence review into vaccine passports, said the scheme would come too late to save summer because people would need two jabs to qualify and most young people wouldn’t have both until the autumn.
The University College London professor of healthcare law told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that there were three obstacles his research team had identified.
He said, the first was the scientific one – does it work, and that all depends on this information about the risk of transmission. The second was a timing problem, and he said that they need to reopen the economy as soon as it’s safe to do so, and that vaccine passports were not going to be beneficial until people have had their second vaccine.
You can’t make people do something they don’t want to do, it’s as simple as that, and we must never be in a position where people are being made to have a medical procedure to carry on with their normal daily lives.
Vaccines in this country are not compulsory, you have to consent, but consent can never be true if it’s conditional.
The problem is, that in the end, people probably will be forced to have the vaccine, and sadly they will be suckered into this, but I don’t believe that the young and healthy are going to take the vaccine, and there will probably be numerous under 25s that will laugh at this vaccine rollout.
Many of our youngsters are informed and well-read – much more than our thick-witted government think, and they would rather take their 99.7 per cent chance of being sick than compromising their young and healthy immune system.