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No vaccine passports for England, says Health Secretary

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said that the introduction of vaccine passports for access into large events and nightclubs in England will no longer go ahead. 

Javid confirmed the news to the BBC, weeks after a leaked letter from the Health Secretary had suggested that a decision on vaccine passports in England had not yet been made by the UK Government. He said: “We shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it.” 

A vaccine passport scheme is a way in which ticket holders and partygoers would have to prove they have received two doses of the vaccine against COVID-19, before being allowed entry into certain events. 

It brings an end to weeks of confusion and frustration for those in the live entertainment and nightclub sectors, as they had been left in the dark over plans to introduce some sort of protocol. 

Originally, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said there will be a scheme in place by the end of the September for large events and night clubs, but despite this no longer happening, the plan is on hold for the coming winter months. 

Vaccine passports have been implemented in Scotland, which means that Scottish residents will have to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to enter events such as football matches, festivals and concerts. 

The Music Venue Trust said that “the double vaccine certification programmed proposed by the government contained a number of challenges around deliverability, practicality, equality and potential discrimination. MVT has been describing those problems to Ministers and departments for the last two months.” 

The organisation added: “We therefore welcome the decision to not move forward with this policy.” 

It also tweeted that it will await full confirmation from the UK Government and the Prime Minister. 

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) also said that following Javid’s announcement on Sunday, it hoped businesses could now plan and begin to rebuild. 

In a statement posted on Facebook, Michael Kill, chief executive of the NTIA, said: “Following an intense political and public campaign by the NTIA, its members and wider industry supporters, we welcome the comments from the Health Secretary this morning regarding the government’s decision to scrap the planned mandate of COVID passports from the end of September. 

“We hope that businesses will now be able to plan for the future with some degree of certainty, regain confidence from customers and the workforce and start to rebuild a sector that has consistently been at the sharp end of the pandemic.”

He added: “Our focus now is to ensure that the Chancellor’s October budget allows us the financial space to rebuild and for the industry to maintain its exemplary record in support of the Public Health strategy keeping our staff and our customers safe.” 

Image: Valentin bonjour on Unsplash