Tony Blair: 'Time to distinguish' between people who have and haven't had jab

6 June 2021, 07:02

Tony Blair has said it is "time to distinguish for the purposes of freedom" between people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated
Tony Blair has said it is "time to distinguish for the purposes of freedom" between people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Former prime minister Tony Blair has said it is "time to distinguish for the purposes of freedom" between people who have and have not received a Covid-19 jab.

The former prime minister also described the NHS app that proves vaccination as "inadequate" as he said it makes "no sense at all to treat those who have had vaccination as the same as those who haven't".

The former Labour leader was reacting to a report published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change which says "vaccine status matters" and champions the idea of health passes "to allow citizens to prove their status in a secure, privacy-preserving way".

Read more: Second Covid-19 jabs ‘to be sped up for over 40s’

Read more: UK hits 40 million people vaccinated as Covid cases rise

Proposing the health pass system be used both at home and abroad, the report said: "With this ability to securely prove vaccination status, we can move beyond blunt, catch-all tools and align with other countries by removing certain restrictions for the fully vaccinated, thereby enabling us to sustainably reopen the economy."

It went on: "For as long as the world goes largely unvaccinated and the risk of a new variant remains significant, it's vital that we have an alternative to the blunt tool of lockdowns to enable the country to live freely and safely."

Mr Blair said: "It is time to distinguish for the purposes of freedom from restriction between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, both for citizens here for domestic purposes; but also for our citizens and those from other countries in respect of travel on the basis that being vaccinated substantially reduces risk.

"It therefore makes no sense at all to treat those who have had vaccination as the same as those who haven't."

Read more: Boris Johnson to urge G7 to vaccinate world against Covid by end of 2022

He pointed to the report which says "why the current NHS app for proving vaccination is inadequate and should be changed to be simpler and more effective" and later went on: "Of course we are discriminating between vaccinated and unvaccinated.

"But the whole of risk management is based on discriminating between different types and levels of risk.

"Nothing matters more to risk than vaccination, which is precisely why we're doing it," Mr Blair said.

The former prime minister  also described the NHS app that proves vaccination as "inadequate"
The former prime minister also described the NHS app that proves vaccination as "inadequate". Picture: PA

"Yes by allowing greater freedom and fewer restrictions to the vaccinated we're providing a powerful incentive to take up vaccination, but this is a perfectly valid public policy objective.

"Other than for medical reasons, people should be vaccinated."

A senior Government source said: "Once again Mr Blair appears to have learned of things already in the pipeline with the NHS app and decided to publicly call for them.

"Nonetheless we thank him for his continued support."