The health minister of the United Kingdom announced on Sunday that authorities have decided not to need vaccine passports for access into nightclubs and other crowded events in England, reversing course in the face of resistance from some of the Conservative government’s allies in Parliament.
Sajid Javid stated that the government has put the notion of vaccine passports on hold for the time being, but may reconsider if COVID-19 cases rise exponentially again.
“We’ve looked at it properly and whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports,” Javid told the BBC.
“It’s fair to say, I think, most people probably instinctively don’t like the idea,” Javid said. “I’ve never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity.”
The U-turn came just days after the government’s vaccines minister and culture secretary suggested that vaccine passports would still be required, despite mounting legislative opposition. Other European countries, such as France, require such passports.
Members of the ruling Conservative Party, in particular, have criticized such passports as an unacceptable burden on businesses and an infringement on residents’ human rights.
The idea of requiring people to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test has made many people in Britain uncomfortable, where people are not required to carry identification documents.
According to the hospitality industry, the decision will allow them to move forward.
“We hope that businesses will now be able to plan for the future with some degree of certainty, regain confidence from customers and the workforce, and start to rebuild a sector that has consistently been at the sharp end of this pandemic,” said Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association.
(Source: The Associated Press)