Covid-19: Britain to require vaccine passports for nightclubs
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Sunday that officials are looking to begin the certification measures from the end of September.
Britain’s government has confirmed that it plans to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs and large-scale gatherings from next month.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Sunday that officials are looking to begin the certification measures from the end of September, when the whole over-18 population would have been offered two Covid-19 vaccine doses.
Zahawi told Sky News that this was the “right thing to do” to ensure the economy remains open. Lawmakers and businesses, however, have criticised the measure as divisive and say they could embroil nightclubs in discrimination cases.
“The best thing to do is to work with the industry to make sure that they can open safely and sustainably in the long term, and the best way to do that is to check vaccine status,” he said.
The plans mean that people who want to enter nightclubs and other large-scale events will be required to show proof they have had two doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
Nadhim Zahawi said a decision had not yet been taken on whether healthy children aged 12- to 15-years-old should be vaccinated against Covid-19, following reports that a rollout could begin in the coming days.
Britain’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on Friday declined to recommend vaccinations for children in that group, taking a precautionary approach due to a rare risk of heart inflammation, but adding the issue was finely balanced. The government is consulting medical advisers to seek advice on wider considerations, such as the impact on schools, and may still give the go-ahead to broad vaccination of the age group.
Some newspapers reported confidence among ministers that the chief medical officers would swiftly back shots for healthy 12- to 15-year-olds, but Zahawi said the government would not prejudge the decision.
“No decision will be made until we hear back from the chief medical officers,” Zahawi told the BBC.
British officials have emphasised that 12- to 15-year-olds who are vulnerable to Covid-19 are already eligible for vaccination, as well as all people over 16.
The four nations of the United Kingdom, which have recorded 133,000 Covid deaths, control their own health policy, although all have followed JCVI advice on vaccine rollout thus far.
Zahawi confirmed that proof of vaccination would be required in England for some large events from the end of this month once all adults have been offered two shots.
He also said that the government was still finalising plans for a vaccine booster programme following interim advice from the JCVI that one might be needed for the vulnerable and elderly. “It is very likely that we will begin boosting those groups, as... I hope the interim then becomes final advice, by the middle of this month,” he said.
Britain recorded 37,011 new daily Covid-19 cases on Sunday, similar to the previous day’s total of 37,578, government statistics showed.
There were 68 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test reported, down from Saturday’s figure of 120.
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