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UK Government No Intention of Introducing ‘Vaccine Passport’ While Ireland Still Considers It

UK Government No Intention of Introducing ‘Vaccine Passport’ While Ireland Still Considers It

The UK government has ruled out any plans to issue a so-called ‘vaccine passport’ which would allow those who’ve been inoculated against Covid to travel freely overseas.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said that people could get evidence from their GPs and that as vaccinations were not mandated by the state and were administered “by consent” such a policy would not be feasible.

Despite Greece’s prime minister saying last week he would welcome British holidaymakers if they could prove they have been vaccinated, Zahawi said: “that’s not how we do things in the UK”.

“There are several reasons why we’re not doing that. One vaccines are not mandated in this country, as Boris Johnson has quite rightly reminded parliament that’s not how we do things in the UK, we do them by consent. We yet don’t know what the impact of vaccine on transmission is and it would be discriminatory.”

Zahawi had previously suggested that the government was “looking at the technology” that is currently being trialled – including IATA’s Travel Passport, which is being tested by the gulf airlines; and VeriFLY, which is being tested by British Airways and American Airlines – but now insists this is not the plan.

Last month, Taoiseach Micheal Martin claimed that Irish people looking to get on flights or go to a large event later this year could need a ‘vaccine passport.’ Speaking to Virgin Media, the taoiseach said,

“I think people having validation or having certification that you have had the vaccine will be important.

“Just as we are now requiring people to have negative PCR tests before they arrive into the country. So yes one could see that happen.

“What I would say is that by July  I think we will have a substantial number of citizens vaccinated and I think the world will be a different place.

“But it is very, very challenging and we’re very worried about mutations and what they may do to the flow of the vaccine.

“So we have to be careful in projecting too far out. Let’s take it a step at a time.”

 

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Fionn Davenport is the editor-in-chief of the ITTN group, including ITTN and ITTN Ireland. He's one of Ireland's best-known travel journalists and writers, with nearly 30 years' experience writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet and others.

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