Boris Says Vaccine Passports for International Travel Will Be ‘Feature of Our Life in the Future’

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sees how a dose of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca Covid 19 vaccine is prepared for a mobile vaccination centre at Barnet FC's ground at The Hive, on January 25, 2021 in London, England. Government figures show that 6.3 million people across …
Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has admitted that vaccine passports for international travel will be a feature of Britons’ lives in the future.

Addressing a Downing Street press conference on Monday evening, Prime Minister Johnson acknowledged that providing documentation to prove vaccination was a “novel one for our country. We’ve never had this type of question before within the domestic UK economy, within our own home market.”

Johnson continued, according to the Evening Standard: “Though clearly vaccine passports as an idea are not new when it comes to international travel.

“There’s been certificates for things like yellow fever and other diseases in the past, and I’m sure that that will be a feature of our life in the future.”

The prime minister added: “We’re looking at what they’re thinking of in other countries and we’ll be making sure we report back to everybody as soon as we possibly can.”

The head of the British government appears to be attempting to normalise vaccine passports, despite ministers previously claiming that there were no such plans on the books.

Just over one month ago, when asked specifically about vaccine passports for international travel, Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi told the BBC, “No, we’re not” planning for them, adding that such documents would be “discriminatory”.

Mr Zahawi had elaborated that “you have the evidence that you’ve been vaccinated held by your GP”, implying that could communicate with a doctor’s note to foreign nations “if other countries require you to show proof of that evidence”.

The prime minister’s remarks come one week after the European Union announced that it was introducing legislation later this month on bloc-wide vaccine passports, with British officials saying that they would be talking to Brussels about the measures.

Senior minister Michael Gove is heading up the government “Covid status certificates”, despite in December denying that the UK was considering a domestic version for going into businesses such as pubs or restaurants.

“I certainly am not planning to introduce any vaccine passports and I don’t know anyone else in government (who is),” Mr Gove had said at the time.

Last month, Prime Minister Johnson had signalled that the government was also “reviewing” the use of some form of “COVID status certification” which would help domestic businesses “open safely”.

The prime minister had said: “This is an area where we’re looking at a novelty for our country. We’ve never thought of having anything like this before, that you have to show when you go to a pub or a theatre.

“There are deep and complex issues that we need to explore, ethical issues about what the role is for government in mandating people to have such things or indeed banning from people doing such a thing.”

Civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch remarked at the time: “‘Covid Status Certification’ is now how you spell ‘vaccine passports.’

“A disturbing U-turn in the roadmap. And it is precisely because of the exclusion, discrimination and privacy concerns that millions of us will never accept them.”

However, a shock YouGov poll from Monday revealed that a majority of Britons support implementing a vaccine passport system for domestic use, either done during (58 per cent) or after (70 per cent) the vaccine rollout.

The poll also showed that Britons think you should have such a vaccine passport to visit a care home (72 per cent), go to the gym, pubs, or bars (56 per cent), cinemas (55 per cent), restaurants (53 per cent), and beauty salons (50 per cent).


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