BORIS Johnson suggested today that vaccine certificates ARE on the cards – but they might not come in until AFTER everyone has been offered a jab appointment.
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The PM sparked frantic discussion last night when he suggested pub landlords might be able to choose if they want to ban people from their venues if they haven’t had a vaccine.
The PM told MPs yesterday it “may be up to the landlord” — adding: “The concept of vaccine certification should not be totally alien to us.”
The vaccine passport plans are separate to Boris Johnson’s plans to lift lockdown on April 12 – where pubs are set to be allowed to open outside and on May 17 they can return inside.
But MPs and pub bosses hit back at the idea of certificates – saying it could hamper the recovery and would discriminate against people who may not be able to have the jab.
More than 28million people have had their first jab.
The PM said this morning: “We are looking at the issues that are raised by vaccination.
“Lots of countries are thinking about using some kind of vaccine passports.”
He said “no decisions have been taken” yet on what might happen with vaccine passports – but that news was coming on either April 5 or April 12.
He suggested people may need to show a negative test, proof they have had the virus, or a vaccine stamp – but refused to be drawn on what it would be for except for foreign holidays.
But when asked again if people might need a vaccine passport for the pub, he said: “All sorts of things are being considered, it’s premature to start talking about that.”
He added: “I think we need to think carefully about the issues, as I’ve said before.
“There are some people who you know, for medical reasons, can’t get a vaccination. Pregnant women can’t get a vaccination.
“You might only be able to implement a thorough-going vaccination passport scheme, even if you wanted such a thing, in the context of you know, when absolutely everybody had been offered a vaccine.”
And he defended his plans, saying freedom-lovers really wanted to be able to live their lives as normal again.
He said: “The libertarian in me is also trying to protect people’s fundamental right to life and their ability to live their lives normally and the only way really to restore that for everybody is for us to beat the disease, and the best path to freedom is down the cautious but irreversible road map that we’ve set out – that’s what the freedom-lover wants.”
In Israel, the lure of pubs and bars has been used to encourage younger people to have the vaccine.
Michael Gove said today in the Commons he didn’t approve of a system which relied “purely on vaccination”.
He said he would back reopening the economy if they could note their “recent test status” and “potentitally antibody status as well”.
It raises the question of a tick box Brits could fill out on an app to mark off one of the options.
Pressed on whether the Government intended to leave it up to pub landlords as to whether they ask for proof of vaccination from customers, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said today that he did not want to “pre-empt the outcome” of the review into vaccine passports.
Downing Street said there would be an “initial update” on the progress of the review into coronavirus vaccination passports next month as the PM said today, but a full report was still due by June.
Similar plans are being studied here but will meet fierce resistance.
The Covid Research Group of 50 backbench Conservatives last night warned: “We must not fall into this ghastly trap.”
Boss Steve Baker said the PM was treading a dangerous path when he opened the door to Covid certificates.
He added: “First they said we’ll need them to watch the football, and today that it may be papers for the pub.”
Meanwhile it may be that pubs and nightclubs could be allowed to ditch social distancing rules if they adopt Covid vaccine regimes.
Ministers are considering allowing bars and big events to abandon tough rules if they operate coronavirus ‘status checks’.
Pubs spent millions on implementing social distancing measures last year including arrows and space markers on floors and ensuring tables were set out with a two-metre distance between groups.
Outdoor hospitality is due to reopen next month, but pubs can’t open indoors until May.