Vaccine passports are a system that gives restrictions to those who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19.
It appears that the UK has scrapped its plans to make vaccine passports a mandatory requirement for nightclub entry. After it was announced in July that vaccine passports would be implemented at some point in September, but the UK’s health secretary, Sajid Javid has now announced those plans have been cancelled.
When making the original announcement about nightclubs and vaccine passports, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I don’t want to have to close nightclubs again, nightclubs have to do the responsible thing and use the NHS Covid pass which shows proof of vaccination or a recent negative test … We do reserve the right to mandate such certification.”
Venues and nightclubs in the UK criticised the plans, as it would be costly, and hard to implement. This was backed up by the Night Time Industries Association, who said it could have had a crippling impact on the nightlife industry.
Sajid Javid has now told the BBC that the UK government will no longer be implementing the vaccine policy in September, saying: “We just shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it or because others are doing, and we should look at every possible intervention properly.” He announced this one the Andrew Marr Show, and said that no scientific evidence the government has looked at has been sufficient in proving that vaccine passports are a definitive solution, adding: “I’m pleased to say we will not be going ahead.”
However, the UK has said that the plans will be kept “in reserve” if they see a spike in new COVID-19 infections during autumn or winter.
In the same interview with Andrew Marr, Sajid 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, 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.”
When confronted on the decision, Sajid Javid was asked if the government was scrapping vaccine passports, and “running scared” due to being criticised by some members of the government. He strongly denied this being a major part of the decision, and responded that vaccine passports are no longer required due to increased vaccine uptake, testing, surveillance that with other things culminate in creating a “wall of defence”.
Michael Kill is CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, and he welcomed the decision, saying: “Following an intense political and public campaign by the NTIA, its members and wider industry supporters, we welcome the comments from the Health Secretary this morning regarding the government’s decision to scrap the planned mandate of Covid Passports from the end of September.”
“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.”
“Our focus now is to ensure that the Chancellor’s October budget allows us the financial space to rebuild and for the industry to maintain its exemplary record in support of the Public Health strategy keeping our staff and our customers safe.”
During the BBC interview, Sajid Javid also said that he wants to “get rid” of PCR tests as a requirement for travel, and is seeking advice on the topic. He also said he’s “not anticipating” any more lockdowns in the UK, but due to the unpredictability of the virus, it would be “irresponsible to take everything off the table.”