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Campaign to block COVID vaccine passports raises £45,000

Jimmy Nsubuga
·3-min read
A health worker administers a dose of the BioNTech/Pfizer covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic set up inside the Derby Arena at Pride Park in Derby, Derbyshire on March 31, 2021. - On March 28, 2021, Britain passed the milestone of giving the first vaccine dose to more than 30 million adults, and the government plans to allow outdoor drinking in pub gardens and non-essential retail such as hairdressers in England from April 12. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A civil liberties group has raised more than £45,000 to fight vaccine passports. (Getty)

A crowdfunding campaign to block COVID-19 vaccine passports in the UK has raised more than £45,000.

On Monday, Boris Johnson said the government was looking at various ways people could prove they were not contagious, including certification of vaccination.

A government review said they could “potentially play a role” in settings such as theatres, nightclubs and mass events, and might also be used in pubs and restaurants to reduce social distancing restrictions.

Civil liberties and privacy campaigning organisation Big Brother Watch has now raised thousands of pounds in a crowdfunding campaign to launch a legal challenge against vaccine passports when “necessary”.

Watch: What are the plans for a vaccine passport?

Last week the group supported more than 70 MPs, including senior Conservatives and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, as well as peers from the House of Lords, who launched a campaign claiming the scheme would be “divisive and discriminatory”.

On Wednesday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called current plans on vaccine passports a “complete mess”, warning they could be a vast waste of taxpayers’ money when the focus should be on administering jabs.

During a visit to Plymouth, he said: “We do not support the government’s plans in their current form, it’s as simple as that.”

He joined SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford in saying their opposition MPs would not back the plans in their current form if the Prime Minister put them to a Commons vote.

The Covid Recovery Group (CRG) of Conservative lockdown sceptics has also been angered by the possible introduction of vaccine certificates.

The Liberal Democrats are opposed to their introduction.

But the Prime Minister, on a visit to Cornwall, said it was a responsible approach for any government to “look at the possibility of making sure that we can continue to open up all sectors of the economy in a safe way down the rest of this year and, you know, we will look at all possibilities”.

The PM again stressed that Covid status certificates would not be introduced for either the 12 April or 17 May steps on the road map, which will see hospitality venues in England open outdoors initially and then indoors.

BRAZIL - 2021/04/05: In this photo illustration a symbolic COVID-19 health passport seen on a smartphone screen next to the medical syringes. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The government is considering a vaccine passport. (Getty)

In February, when outlining England's "roadmap" out of the coronavirus lockdown, Johnson had ruled out any government-led vaccine passport scheme.

He said: "What I don’t think we will have in this country is, as it were, vaccination passports to allow you to go to the pub, or something like that."

Under current plans vaccine certificates would not be required on public transport and essential shops and services, but the review leaves open the possibility of customers having to show their certificate to enter other retailers.

The documents would record – either on an NHS app or a paper certificate – whether someone has had a vaccine, a recent negative coronavirus test or natural immunity having recovered from COVID-19.

Watch: How England will leave lockdown