Vaccine passports UK: this is when Boris Johnson will announce Covid passport plans for foreign travel

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has commented that Covid vaccine passports will “definitely” play a role in allowing foreign travel.

Speaking during a visit to Middlesbrough, the PM said to reporters:

“There’s definitely going to be a world in which international travel will use vaccine passports.

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“You can see already that other countries, the aviation industry, are interested in this and there’s a logic to that.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson giveing an update on the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic during a virtual press conference in the new £2.6million No9 briefing room on March 29, 2021 in London, England.

The comments have sparked questions - and concerns - about the feasibility of using a Covid passport to allow foreign travel and holidays

What would a vaccine passport entail?

Vaccine passports have been described as “immunity certificates” with the idea that a person could show a piece of paper, or information on an app, to certify that they had either been:

-Vaccinated against coronavirus

-Had a recent negative test result

-Had natural antibodies after contracting coronavirus

The idea has been floated as a way to allow people to safely return to hospitality venues like pubs, as well as allowing safer international travel.

Some other vaccinations must be certified for entry into certain countries. Those who have been vaccinated against yellow fever, for instance, must have certification of the jab if travelling to at-risk countries.

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Where could I travel with the passport?

Currently, it’s not been confirmed which countries would or wouldn’t allow travel with a vaccine passport, though some are beginning to outline requirements for people to prove their status for entry.

The European Union, for example, is devising a “digital green certificate” system which would show whether a person had a negative test, had been vaccinated or had recently recovered from coronavirus.

In the UK, Heathrow airport has suggested a traffic light system of four tiers for travel, ranking countries from highest to lowest risk and implementing precautions appropriate for each.

When will the announcement on vaccine passports be?

The government has confirmed it will unveil its holiday roadmap on Monday, April 5, a week earlier than planned.

It’s expected that this announcement will address the use of vaccine passports for travel purposes.

The announcement will present findings from the Global Travel Taskforce, with further details announced the week afterwards.

May 17 is the earliest date the government indicated that international travel for leisure purposes could take place (in England) though this was given with the caveat that a final decision would be made in April.

Do ministers all agree with the idea?

Some ministers have hit out at the idea of a vaccine passport, with leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer telling The Daily Telegraph that passports as a prerequisite for entering pubs would go against the “British instinct”.

The Labour leader told the paper hit would be "wrong in principle" to ask landlords to check customers' Covid jab certificates.

Others have pointed out implications for equality and human rights: some groups are not able to get the vaccine, while many people from poorer countries simply cannot access the vaccine currently due to a lack of supply.

Research body Ada Lovelace Institute states, for instance:

“Segregating or limiting rights and freedoms on the basis of health status has unforeseen or harmful consequences to society, such as exacerbating inequalities, even creating or reinforcing disenfranchisement and minority group discrimination (at a national and global level), shifting risk and compounding the already disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on marginalised communities.”