While the Government wants as many people as possible to be vaccinated against Covid-19, the vaccine is not not compulsory. On completion of both vaccinations, patients will be issued with a vaccine record card, much as they are for other vaccination programmes, so there is nothing different in the way we are dealing with this vaccine. Again, that does not constitute a so-called vaccine passport; nor can it be used as a form of identification.
Boris Johnson has said: "We can't be discriminatory against people who, for whatever reason, can't have the vaccine - there might be medical reasons why people can't have the vaccine, or some people may genuinely refuse to have one. "Now I think that's a mistake, I think everybody should have a vaccine but we need to thrash all this out."
Some countries will likely insist that people coming into their country have evidence of a vaccination - just as countries have insisted in the past that you have been vaccinated against yellow fever or other diseases. If a foreign Government demands anyone travelling from the UK to their country to show a vaccine passport, then this can be arranged. As the Vaccine Minister has previously explained: "Of course you have the evidence that you have been vaccinated held by your GP and if other countries require you to show proof of that evidence then that is up to those countries".
While there are currently no confirmed plans to introduce domestic immunity certificates or “vaccine passports”, the Government has decided to conduct a review into the use of COVID certification. The Prime Minister has confirmed the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, would conduct the review. This review will both look at whether the Government could introduce such certification or, conversely, ban businesses from requiring people to prove their vaccination or COVID testing status. It is due to report back before the fourth stage of easing lockdown restrictions on 21 June
5 April 2021: When asked about vaccine passports at the coronavirus press conference: the Prime Minister commented:
“First of all, on COVID status certification, as we prefer to call it. I think the most important thing to say to everybody listening and watching is that there is absolutely no question of people being asked to produce a certification or a COVID status report when they go to the shops or to the pub garden or to the hairdressers or whatever on Monday. And indeed, we’re not planning that for step three, either. May the 17th, as you know, we’re hoping to go for the opening up of indoor hospitality and so on. We’re not planning for anything of that kind at that stage, but I think what is certainly true is that the idea of a vaccination status being useful for international travel is something that all countries are looking at.
I do think that’s going to be part of the way people deal with it, and we need to think about that. But there are basically three ingredients to your COVID certification, or three ways you can give reassurance to others if you go to a big mass event, or ways that people can be assured that the people in the room don’t have the risk of spreading COVID. And the number one is your immunity. So if you had the virus before, certainly in the last six months, you will have the antibodies. Number two, obviously, is vaccination status. But number three is testing. And testing really is valuable. I’ve been talking about this for a long time, but the NHS, as you know, is now offering free lateral flow tests.
So I do think that they are for asymptomatic people as well. I do think that they’re an important part of the way forward, but I want to stress that there are complicated ethical and practical issues, as I think I said last time, raised by the idea of COVID status certification using vaccination alone, just because after all, many people will be for one reason or another unable to get a vaccine, for medical reasons, for instance, or perhaps because they’re pregnant or whatever. So you’ve got to be very careful in how you handle this and don’t start a system that’s discriminatory, but obviously we’re looking at it. We want to be going ahead in the next few weeks with some test events and pilot events, which you can see in the road map that we’ve laid out, and big events like getting 20,000 people into Wembley on May the 15th, that kind of thing. Getting people back into a theatre, that will unquestionably involve testing to allow the the audience to participate in the numbers that that people want.
As for a vote on the issue, I think that we’re taking too many fences at once. First of all, we need to work out exactly what the proposal might be. But certainly if there’s something to put to Parliament, I’ve no doubt that we’ll be doing that. But I want to stress again, that that is not going to happen in Step Two, April the 12th, or Step Three, May the 17th. I hope that that helps.”