Michael Gove has poured cold water on any suggestion that the Government is planning to create “vaccine passports”.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said they had no plans to create the so-called immunity passes for access to hospitality and entertainment venues after the Covid-19 jab is introduced.
He made the comments after his colleague Nadhim Zahawi, the new minister for the mass vaccine roll-out, suggested that people might need a vaccine passport to visit some hospitality events.
Asked on Sky News whether people will need a vaccine passport to go to the pub, Mr Gove replied: “No. The most important thing to do is to make sure we vaccinate as many people as possible.”
Asked if people will need a passport to go to the theatre or a sporting event, he replied: “No I don’t think so. No.”
Pressed again, Mr Gove replied: "No, that's not being planned. I certainly am not planning to introduce any vaccine passports and I don't know anyone else in Government.”
He added: “I think the most important thing to do is make sure that we vaccinate as many people as possible.”
It comes after Mr Zahawi suggested that although an injection would be voluntary, some venues might insist on proof of one in return for granting entry.
Mr Zahawi told the BBC: “We are looking at the technology. And, of course, a way of people being able to inform their GP that they have been vaccinated.
“But, also, I think you’ll probably find that restaurants and bars and cinemas and other venues, sports venues, will probably also use that system – as they have done with the [test and trace] app.
“I think that in many ways the pressure will come from both ways. From service providers who’ll say: ‘Look, demonstrate to us that you have been vaccinated.’ But, also, we will make the technology as easy and accessible as possible.”
Tory MP Marcus Fysh objected to the idea, tweeting: "100 per against this ignorant authoritarianism. No vaccine candidate knows how long their immunity or better disease outcomes will last.
“Oxford's data seems to suggest booster doses of its candidate wouldn't work. Lateral flow testing likely more useful in identifying stopping CV19.”