Boris Defends Vaccine Passports, Calling Them a ‘Game-Changer’ and ‘Life-Saver’

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a press conference in the Downing Street Briefing Room on September 14, 2021 in London, England. The prime minister's briefing was preceded by his health secretary's appearance before the House of Commons, in which he laid out the country's …
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended domestic vaccine passports, calling them a “game-changer”.

On Wednesday afternoon, Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that while vaccine passports for nightclubs and other large venues would not come into effect at the end of the month, the threat of their implementation would remain should England be overcome by a Winter wave of the Chinese coronavirus.

Asked during the evening press conference whether the July 19th pledge to introduce them was merely a means to coerce young people into being vaccinated, Prime Minister Johnson responded: “I really do defend these in principle. I think it was right to set out in July that we could go forward with those measures.”

Despite the prime minister now suggesting that the government “could” have gone forward with the measures, at the time, he gave a distinct impression that the plans were confirmed.

Johnson had said in July: “By the end of September, when all over-18s will have had their chance to be doubled-jabbed, we’re planning to make full vaccination the condition for entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather. Proof of a negative test will no longer be enough.”

On Tuesday, Johnson went on to claim that had “Covid certification” been available in September 2020, the country could have remained open, saying: “They would have been a total game-changer, life-saver last year.”

Calling them “an important part of our repertoire”, he confirmed that: “We may, because of where the disease gets to, have to use them in a more thorough-going way. We reserve the right to come back to you and say we think that’s going to be necessary.

“I do think the public understand that. They can see how it could work. There are plenty of other countries that are doing it right now. But at present, we don’t think it’s necessary to proceed on that basis.”

Ministers in the Johnson administration had given mixed messages on the deployment of vaccine passports, until recently, despite their implementation being mere weeks away.

On Sunday, Health Minister Javid ruled out their immediate roll-out, with Work and Pensions Minister Thérèse Coffey saying in several interviews the following morning that vaccine passports “haven’t been ruled out forever” and they remain a “potential tool” for the future.

The government had given a dozen contradictory or unclear statements on the use of domestic vaccine passports in the past ten months since Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi first mentioned that they could become a part of Britons’ everyday life, to which Michael Gove, later to become the head of a review on vaccine passports, had told media the following day:  “I certainly am not planning to introduce any vaccine passports and I don’t know anyone else in Government [who is].”


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