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Vaccine Passports Are Being “Considered”, Despite Government Repeatedly Dismissing Them

Ministers had previosuly ruled out the introduction of vaccine passports (PA)

3 min read

Dominic Raab has said the government “hasn’t ruled out” implementing a system of vaccine passports to allow people to prove they’ve had a coronavirus vaccination.

"It's something that hasn't been ruled out and it's under consideration, but of course you've got to make it workable," the foreign secretary told LBC on Sunday morning.

"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.

But Raab conceded it was still unclear how a passporting system may work. "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," he said. 

“You’ve got to know that the document that is being presented is something that you can rely on that it's an accurate reflection of the status of the individual.”

Ministers had previously denied that such technology was being considered, but it was revealed earlier this week that the government was to hold a meeting to discuss Cabinet Office plans for such a system.

If approved, the Department of Transport would reportedly be responsible for drawing up plans for the scheme, with the NHS asked to prepare for people to be able to access their vaccine status to prepare for international travel.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth told LBC he felt the introduction of vaccine passports was “inevitable”, adding that many organisations are going to expect it in the short term.

“I don't think it should be compulsory but I think the infrastructure should be put in place so that if you've had a vaccination then you can have a sort of app on your phone or something like that to prove it,” he said.

But he warned that GP surgeries risked being “inundated with requests” from people wanting vaccine confirmation from their summer holidays if the system was not fully integrated with the NHS. 

Only last week, vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi claimed the government was not looking into any passporting scheme.  

Zahawi told Sky's Sophy Ridge: "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."

He added: "If other countries obviously require some form of proof, you can ask your GP – because your GP will hold the records – and of course that will then be able to be used as proof that you have had your vaccine, but we are not planning to have a passport in the UK."

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