Vaccine passports for crowded events dropped, Sajid Javid confirms

Sajid Javid has said the Government “will not be going ahead” with plans for vaccine passports in order to gain access to nightclubs and other crowded events.

Speaking to the BBC, the Health Secretary said: “We shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it."

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • Speaking on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said a scheme for vaccine passports for entry to nightclubs and large events in England will not be going ahead. 
  • The plan was thought to be introduced at the end of September, but it came under criticism from venues and some Conservative MPs.
  • The scheme would have required members of the public to show proof they have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in order to gain entry to clubs and crowded events.
  • One the same TV programme last week, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the end of September was the right time to start the vaccine passport scheme, and that it was the “best way” to keep the night industry open. 
  • The Night Time Industries Association said the plans could have crippled the industry and seen nightclubs facing discrimination cases. There was also opposition from Tory MPs on the Covid Recovery Group and the Liberal Democrats, whose leader Ed Davey, described them as "divisive, unworkable and expensive".

What’s been said?

Speaking to the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: “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, but we were right to properly look at it.

“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.”

The revelation came shortly after the minister had appeared on Sky News and told host Trevor Phillips a final decision had yet to be made.

Asked about the policy, Mr Javid had said: “We have been looking at that. We’ve been open about that. Instinctively I don’t like the idea at all of people having to, let’s say, present papers to do basic things.

“So if we do that, it has to be something that is looked at very carefully and something that we believe that has to be done with no alternative.

“With the vaccination rates rising – for example with 16 and 17-year-olds we only started just last month, now over 50% of 16 and 17-year-olds are already vaccinated – I think we need to take that into account and make a final decision, but I hope we can avoid it.”

He added: “I am not here today to rule that out. We haven’t made a final decision as a Government.”