Vaccine passports plan is ‘dead’: Controversial proof of jabs ‘will NOT be legally required to attend large events’ as evidence suggests they could be unnecessary ‘because young people may never have them and some people can’t’
- Vaccine passports ‘not expected to be legally required for large events’
- Ministers are examining if certificates could be used to allow mass gatherings
- Michael Gove suggested to MPs last week vaccine passports may not be needed
PUBLISHED: 00:41, 31 May 2021 | UPDATED: 12:03, 31 May 2021
Plans to require people to show vaccine passports to enter large mass-attendance events are ‘dead’, it was revealed today.
Ministers are said to be preparing to drop the requirement for proof of a jab because the state of the pandemic in the UK may not make them necessary.
New evidence presented to the Government’s Covid-O committee earlier this month suggested that the high vaccine take-up among older people, coupled with the low case rate, could make them unnecessary.Dailymail.co.uk: News, Sport, Showbiz, Celebrities from Daily MailPauseNext video0:00 / 1:45SettingsFull-screenRead More
Fears have also been raised over the app not being available to foreign nationals in the UK, plus placing an unfair bar on people who are medically unable to be vaccinated.
Last night a government source told the Telegraph: ‘It’s not a case of ‘it’s finely balanced’. It’s not going to happen. Everyone says it’s dead.’
The news is a boost for Tory backbenchers who have consistently opposed the plans on civil liberties grounds. +10
Ministers are examining whether the Covid status certificates could be used to allow football matches, big concerts and festivals resume at full capacity. Stock image +10
Pictured, people attending a test music festival as part of a national research programme in Liverpool, May 2, 2021+10
Daily coronavirus cases have risen by nearly 40 per cent in a week to 3,240 as deaths rose by 20 per cent while more than 537,000 vaccinations were carried out in England yesterday
Race to double-jab the over-50s: Huge NHS drive to give maximum Covid protection to older people before June 21 to secure our freedom date
The NHS is racing to give millions of over-50s their second Covid vaccine shot by June 21 to allow England to open up on ‘Freedom Day’ as hoped.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi yesterday set a deadline for the first time amid increasing concern at the highly transmissible new Indian variant of the disease.
Around 5million people aged over 50 are waiting for their second dose, with the NHS needing to vaccinate 225,000 of them every day to meet the target.
But second jabs were handed out at a rate of more than 400,000 a day most days last week, meaning it would take something catastrophic to knock the drive off course. Ministers hope that by hitting the target, it will help them avoid delaying the ‘unlockdown date’, which Boris Johnson has set for three weeks’ time.
Asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show whether the vaccine rollout was enough to ensure that all restrictions are lifted on that date, Mr Zahawi said: ‘We are in a race between vaccinating at scale and making sure people get their two doses.
‘We saw very good data from Public Health England around the protection from two doses, either of Pfizer or of AstraZeneca. We hope to be able to protect with two doses – all ‘one to nine’ [first phase priority groups], all the over-50s – before June 21. We will make sure we vaccinate at scale.
‘But – and here’s the important thing – we will share the evidence with the country on June 14 to basically explain exactly where we are on infection rates, hospitalisations and of course, sadly, of death.’https://c327183439ce4fbbf2602d64e8e6f308.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Ministers are examining whether the controversial Covid status certificates in use in countries including Israel could be used to allow football matches, big concerts and festivals resume at full capacity.
The certificates would show that an individual had either had one or both Covid jabs, a recent negative test, or antibodies after catching the virus.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove told MPs last week the costs and benefits of introducing them were ‘finely balanced’, as he suggested they may not be needed.
Opponents have been boosted by an announcement by Israel last week that it was scrapping its Green Pass scheme from tomorrow because the vaccination rate int he country made them unnecessary.
A Whitehall source said: ‘Michael has been listening very carefully to the arguments for and against Covid certification and the review has left no stone unturned in examining whether there is a case for them domestically.
‘He will make recommendations to the PM soon’.
A government spokesman said: ‘The Covid status certification review is ongoing and no final decisions have been taken yet. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will update Parliament after recess.’
It comes as ministers prepare contingency plans to extend restrictions beyond June 21, amid fears that a surge in cases of the Indian variant could lead to a spike in hospital admissions and deaths.
Yesterday daily Covid cases have risen by nearly 40 per cent in a week to 3,240 while deaths remain flat at just six as 537,000 more vaccinations were carried out in England yesterday.
Mr Gove, who has been conducting a review into the idea, told the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee there were ‘benefits’ in a system of proof for negative tests and vaccines that could help reopen parts of society.
But he said there was also a lot of ‘hassle’ and ‘friction’ attached, and pointed out that Israel has already suspended its scheme.
He suggested that even if certification is introduced it might not be by June 21 – meant to be the final stage of the Government’s unlocking roadmap – and it would be time-limited.
Boris Johnson has already made clear there is ‘no prospect’ of proof being needed to do things like drink in a pub from June 21.
- Race to double-jab the over-50s by June 21 ‘is likely to be…France locks the doors: British travellers must show…
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Jabs for jobs: NHS workers will be legally required to have Covid vaccinations under new plans with up to one in five health staff in some areas still unvaccinated
Covid vaccinations would become compulsory for NHS staff under bold new plans being considered by ministers to crack down on transmission in hospitals.
It is believed that under the plans, having a jab would become a condition of employment by the health service.
The Government has already consulted on whether to make jabs compulsory for social care workers and ministers are now weighing up whether to do the same for medics.
The review had been due to report earlier this month, but that has now been delayed until the week of June 7 when the Commons returns from recess.
‘We have been looking at every stage the impact certification might or might not have on the economy,’ he said.
‘So, to take a case in point, if it is the case that we want to see the restoration of Premier League football, which I certainly do, then in order for that to happen we would want to have, and indeed Premier League teams would also want to have, their stadia full to maximum capacity.
‘Certification may play a role in that if the alternative were to, for example, to continue with social distancing and other forms of restrictions such as crowd capacity limits.
‘So, in that sense, and that is just one example, the deployment of certification and the investment in that infrastructure would enable the economic and social life of the country to return more quickly and safely.’
But Mr Gove said there were ‘frictional costs’ involved with certification as testing would have to be continued for those who had not been vaccinated.
Asked how balanced in his view were the costs and benefits of such a scheme, he replied: ‘Finely balanced.’
He said the advantages had to be set against the ‘hassle factor’ of implementing them.
The UK has been examining the Israeli ‘green pass’ model, but Mr Gove highlighted that the scheme has recently been suspended due to the high uptake of vaccinations in the country.
He said even if a similar scheme is brought in for the UK it will be ‘for a time-limited period’.
Mr Gove said there was not an ‘ironclad’ link between the June 21 date earmarked for the next stage of the road map out of lockdown and the possible introduction of Covid status certification.
‘People have quite rightly linked Covid status certification to stage four. There’s no absolute necessary ironclad inviolable link between the two,’ he said.
‘But, naturally, as we contemplate reopening at stage four, people will understandably want to know what our approach towards certification will be and how that will operate.’
‘You can never make any venue or any activity completely safe and … even two doses of vaccination doesn’t automatically inoculate someone completely against the risk of infection, transmission or, indeed, ill health.
‘What it does do is dramatically reduce the risk. If one can have confidence that people in a venue have been vaccinated or have immunity in another way, or have recently received a valid test which confirms their negative status, then you can know that that venue will be safer.+10
Department of Health figures published yesterday show that daily cases have risen from 2,325 last Sunday to 3,240 today, while deaths rose just one in a week – from five last Sunday to six+10
Michael Gove, who has been conducting a review into the idea, said there were ‘benefits’ in a system of proof for negative tests and vaccines that could help reopen parts of society
‘Set against that, of course, has to be the question about the cost and indeed the … hassle factor that certification will involve, so it always has to be a balance between the two.’
Department of Health figures published yesterday show that daily cases have risen from 2,325 last Sunday to 3,240 today, while deaths rose just one in a week – from five last Sunday to six.
Meanwhile, NHS England announced 54,379,320 jabs were given across the country between December 8 and May 29, including first and second doses – which is a rise of 537,283 on the previous day. Of these, there were 155,467 more first doses and 381,816 more second doses.
A total of 6,900,813 jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and May 29, including 4,334,097 first doses and 2,566,716 second doses, NHS England said. This compares with 6,182,099 first doses and 4,157,677 second doses given to people in the Midlands – a total of 10,339,776.
Despite the success of the jabs roll-out, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the Government is waiting for the latest data on June 14 before deciding whether to proceed with the unlocking as planned.
NHS chiefs have warned that hospitals are under ‘worrying’ pressure with uncertainty over the transmissibility of the Indian variant and the number of people not fully vaccinated.
Between May 19 and 25, 870 people went into hospital with coronavirus, an increase of 23.2 per cent compared with the previous seven days.
Though current data suggest that admissions are rising in some parts of the country, they are at very low levels compared with the winter peak.
Meanwhile, the reproduction number – the R value – for England is 1 to 1.1, up from 0.9 and 1.1 the previous week, suggesting the epidemic is growing as the fast-spreading Indian variant becomes the dominant strain.
Health experts are now calling the June 21 unlocking ‘too early’ and are urging No10 not to ‘charge ahead’.
However, hospitality leaders are calling for clarity on whether restrictions will be extended beyond June 21 after firms suffered big losses during the pandemic last year.
British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin told the BBC: ‘If the Government does leave any lingering restrictions in play then they really need to give us advance notice of that and it needs to talk seriously about financial compensation.
‘But right now we are asking the Government to stick to their road map.’
Labour leader Keir Starmer suggested the biggest risk to easing lockdown was ‘incompetence’ in the Government, as he claimed ‘weak, slow decisions’ on border policy had allowed the Indian variant to spread.