Health Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed that the government has ditched the plans to introduce Covid-19 vaccine passports. While speaking to the BBC, Sajid said the government shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it, and some plans would cripple certain industries, leading to slow economic recovery.
The vaccine passports scheme, which was planned to be effective from the end of this month, would require all members of the public to show proof that they have taken the two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine for them to be allowed in clubs and other crowded places. However, the plan was criticized by some MPs and venues who were not pleased with the new regulations. Besides, the Night-Time Industries Association also said the plans could cripple the industry and see more nightclubs facing discrimination cases.
Tory MPs, on the Covid Recovery Group and the Liberal Democrats, led by Ed Davey, also opposed the scheme saying it was divisive, unworkable, and expensive. As such, Health Secretary Sajid's statement comes as a moment of joy to the club owners and the general public. While speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, Mr. Javid said, "I have never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity, but we were right to properly look at it…"
The move, which appears like a sharp U-turn by the government, was well received by those who thought of it as a plan to limit nightclubs' operations. Mr. Javid, while giving his firm decision, said, "We've looked at it properly and, whilst we should keep it in a reverse as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports…”
Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi, also said on the same TV program last week that the end of September was the right time to introduce a vaccine passport scheme for sites with large crowds. This is because it was estimated all over-18s would have taken the two jabs by then and it was the best move to keep the night industry open.
When asked if Labor would cheer on the government if they stop the vaccine passport scheme, Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth said, “If the government is not going to bring the vaccine passports to Parliament, that is the end of it…”
Similar Plans in Other Countries
While the vaccine passport plans have faced harsh critics in England, other countries like Scotland are taking a different direction. For instance, Scotland is planning to introduce a vaccine passport for over-18s for entry to nightclubs and crowded events from October.
Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford also said on Friday that ministers will decide next week whether vaccine passports should be used to gain entry to some crowded events. However, some states like Northern Ireland have no similar plans.
(Written and edited by The Decision Maker team)