Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi indicated last month that venues could bar people, but Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove says “that’s not the plan”. We revealed last week how Sage advisory groups were looking into the feasibility of “immunity passports”. Now the Covid Recovery Group that represents lockdown-sceptic Tory MPs, has called the moves “concerning”. It is understood Sage considered a paper on vaccine passports on Thursday.
Advice is likely to be given to ministers this weekend but it is unclear whether they will stop firms demanding proof.
Mark Harper, chairman of the CRG, said: “Practically speaking, until we know that vaccines will actually prevent the transmission of Covid rather than stop symptoms, then such a system is pointless. Moreover, allowing businesses and workplaces to potentially discriminate against customers and employees on health grounds would be a troubling
step backwards raising a number of important issues.”
However businesses may insist on jab passports. At the forefront are airlines with Qantas the first to announce it will demand proof to board its planes.
But there are worries that a jab could give a false sense of security because as yet there is no proof that they stop people being contagious.
And once the vaccine has been widely rolled out then there will be no need for a passport as the risk posed will be much lower. There is also uncertainty over how long immunity lasts and that vaccines could differ on transmission.
Meanwhile, a petition with 282,783 signatures seeking to stop restrictions for those who refuse a vaccine is to be presented tomorrow by the National Alliance for Freedom from Lockdowns.