Vaccine passports: venues and events where Covid certificates expected to be required

Ministers believe the Covid status certification scheme will be most useful in setting with large numbers of people in close proximity
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make an announcement on the next steps of easing England out of lockdown on Monday (5 April).

Mr Johnson will lead a Downing Street press conference at 5pm, alongside England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, and is expected to announce plans for using vaccine passports.

Here’s everything we know about the plans so far, including the venues and events where passports could be required.

Vaccine passports are intended to allow the safe return of mass gatherings and indoor events (Photo: Shutterstock)Vaccine passports are intended to allow the safe return of mass gatherings and indoor events (Photo: Shutterstock)
Vaccine passports are intended to allow the safe return of mass gatherings and indoor events (Photo: Shutterstock)

What are Covid vaccine passports?

The PM will announce plans for a “Covid status certification” scheme, dubbed ‘vaccine passports’, on Monday (5 April).

The scheme is intended to allow the safe return of mass gatherings and indoor events, without the need for social distancing.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has been leading the vaccine passport taskforce review and, although it is not expected to be finalised until the summer, Mr Johnson has promised an update on the scope of the work.

Under the plans, the passports will show:

if an individual has received a Covid-19 vaccine if an individual has recently tested negative for Covid-19 if an individual has “natural immunity” having tested positive for Covid-19 in the previous six months

Officials are working with clinical and ethical experts to ensure there are “appropriate exemptions” for people who are advised not to get the vaccine and for whom repeat testing would be difficult.

The NHS is also currently working on ways of providing people with the means to demonstrate their Covid status through “digital and non-digital routes”.

The review is looking at how ventilation and testing on entry could facilitate the safe return of audiences to mass events and closed settings.

Where will vaccine passports be used?

Ministers believe the scheme will be most useful in managing the risks where there are large numbers of people in close proximity.

As such, it is likely they could be used at music festivals, sporting matches and events, and nightclubs.

However, ministers have insisted that the Covid certificates will never be required for essential services, including supermarkets, public transport, or GP surgeries.

Certification is also not expected to apply to businesses which are due to reopen over the coming weeks. This means people will not be expected to have a vaccine passport to enter pubs, restaurants and non-essential retail.

Trials for mass gathering in April

The government is to begin trials to enable the safe return of crowds to mass gatherings this month, as it prepares to launch the vaccine passport scheme.

People attending a range of sporting events, conferences and clubs will have to agree to take a Covid test both before and after the event when they purchase a ticket, wear a face covering, and provide contact details of everyone in their group for NHS Test and Trace.

The first trial is due to take place on 16 April at the Hot Water Comedy Club in Liverpool with an audience of 300, followed two days later on 18 April by the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley with a crowd of 4,000.

Other events where the scheme will be tested include the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, running from 17 April to 3 May, and a mass participation run of up to 18,000 runners and spectators across three events at Hatfield House on 24 and 25 April.

The first club night event in more than a year will see more than 6,000 people pack into a warehouse at Bramley-Moore Dock in Liverpool on 30 April and 1 May, as part of the trials. Up to 3,000 people will be permitted entry on each night for the Circus club event.

Finally, the pilots will culminate with the FA Cup final on 15 May, again at Wembley, with a crowd of 21,000.

The intention is to use these trials to gather scientific evidence on how venues can reopen safely without the need for social distancing.

While testing will be required for these events, it is not expected that attendees will have to show proof of a vaccine.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “By piloting a range of measures to reduce transmission, we can gather vital scientific evidence to inform our plans for allowing events in the future.”