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Eleven Times The Government Has Ruled Out Vaccine Passports As They Now Say They're "Considering" Them

Ministers have repeatedly denied the plans

4 min read

The government can't make up its mind on vaccine passports. After months of dismissing them, Dominic Raab said they were being considered, before Matt Hancock muddied the waters with a claim they could only be needed for travel.

Raab claimed on Sunday that a domestic vaccine passport scheme – meaning they could be required in certain shops, events or hospitality venies – was "under consideration".

The this morning, Hancock dismissed the proposal – but he did say that requirements to prove you've been vaccinated could be introduced for international travel. Hancock's claim comes after reports that ministers met last week to discuss just such a scheme. 

But until now, senior government ministers and officials have repeatedly and emphatically insisted that there were no plans for a vaccine or immunity certification system.

Here are eleven times the plans were flatly ruled out by the government:

1 December – Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove:

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves, that's not the plan.

"What we want to do is to make sure that we can get vaccines effectively rolled out.

"I certainly am not planning to issue any vaccine passports and I don’t know anyone else in government who would."

1 December – Prime Minister's spokesperson:

"There are no plans to introduce or require immunity passports to bar people from certain venues who haven’t been vaccinated.

"It is our plan to introduce the vaccines to all those who need it, obviously prioritising those with the greatest clinical need to ensure the highest take up as possible."

14 December – Vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi:

"We have absolutely no plans for vaccine passporting...

"Cards that were issued after people got their first Covid-19 vaccination have been mentioned on social media...

"That record does not constitute a so-called vaccine passport.

"On completion of both vaccinations, patients will be issued with a vaccine record card, much as they are for other vaccination programmes, so there is nothing different in the way we are dealing with this vaccine.

"Again, that does not constitute a so-called vaccine passport; nor can it be used as a form of identification. That would be absolutely wrong."

9 January – Health Secretary Matt Hancock:

"It's not an area we are looking at."

12 January – Vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi:

"We have no plans to introduce vaccine passports.

"We have vaccinated, as of yesterday 2,431,638 first dose and 412,167 second dose. No one has been given or will be required to have a vaccine passport."

14 January – Prime Minister's spokesperson: 

"Our policy on this remains the same.

"I think I've said on a number of occasions.

"This isn't something we're looking at, introducing, and that remains our policy."

22 January – Prime Minister's spokesperson: 

"I think I've been clear on the idea of immunity passports or vaccination passports previously, and the fact that we have no plan to introduce them."

24 January – Health Secretary Matt Hancock:

"I'm not attracted to the idea of vaccine passports here, we are not a papers-carrying country."

28 January – Prime Minister's spokesperson:

"It remains our policy that that's not the plan. I think I've answered this a few times over previous weeks. It's not something we are looking to introduce."

1 February – Prime Minister's spokesperson:

"Well I think I've answered the question on vaccine passports or immunity certificates. And the fact that we don't have any plans to introduce them.

"I've been asked it repeatedly over previous weeks. 

"We don't have any plans to introduce immunity certification or immunity passports."

7 February – Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi: 

"One, we don't know the impact of the vaccines on transmission; two, it would be discriminatory and I think the right thing to do is to make sure people come forward to be vaccinated because they want to, rather than it being made in some ways mandatory through a passport."


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