Covid passes: Health Secretary confirms three jabs will be needed to be 'fully vaccinated'

13 December 2021, 17:09 | Updated: 14 December 2021, 06:39

Covid passports for large venues will be mandatory from Wednesday
Covid passports for large venues will be mandatory from Wednesday. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Sajid Javid has confirmed that three vaccine doses will be needed for people to be "fully vaccinated" with their Covid passes.

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Speaking in the Commons, the Health Secretary said people will only be classed as "fully vaccinated" if they have had two main doses and a booster, once all adults have had "a reasonable amount of time" to get jabbed.

"You'll need to show a negative lateral flow test to get into nightclubs and large events with an exemption for the double vaccinated," he said.

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"Once all adults have had a reasonable chance to get their booster jab, we intend to change this exemption to require a booster dose."

He also confirmed that the Covid pass was being rolled out to 12-15 year olds for international travel straight away, allowing more people to prove their vaccine status where needed.

Earlier on Monday, the Prime Minister's official spokesman had said that there were no plans to change pass requirements from two doses to three.

However, he added: "We'll need to keep that under review, in terms of what constitutes fully vaccinated."

It comes as Boris Johnson faces a rebellion of about 70 Tory MPs - reportedly against the imposition of extra measures - with Covid passports being a particular concern.

Covid passports for large venues will be mandatory from Wednesday under the Government’s Plan B rules.

This means proof of double vaccination or a negative test will be a requirement for access to certain venues like nightclubs.

The PM’s spokesman earlier insisted there were public health benefits to the Covid passes.

He said: "In terms of certification specifically, whilst we're still studying it (Omicron), we believe it is important."

Asked whether there was a behavioural aspect to encourage people to get their jabs, he said: "Well, that's certainly something we've seen in the past but the Plan B as a package, the aim of it is to buy time whilst we get more jabs in arms.

"But we do want to incentivise the public to get a vaccination or use our testing capability, because that will provide massive protection towards us."

It comes as the target for offering every adult a booster jab was brought forward by a month over what Mr Johnson described as fears of a "tidal wave of Omicron" that could cause "very many deaths".

In a public address on Sunday evening, he said scientists had discovered that two doses of a vaccine is "simply not enough" to prevent the spread of the new variant and that the NHS could be overwhelmed.

More than 40% of UK adults have already had a booster vaccination, with the latest figures from NHS England suggesting that there are about 17.4 million people in England who had a second dose at least three months ago, and are now eligible for a booster but have not had one yet.

Meanwhile, the UK Covid alert level has been raised to Level 4, up from Level 3, following a rapid increase in Omicron cases.

The UK, as of Sunday, recorded a further 1,239 confirmed cases of the mutation, bringing the total number of cases to 3,137 - a 65% increase from Saturday's total of 1,898.