Vaccines minister: Covid-19 passports raise 'ethical questions' but no plans confirmed yet

6 April 2021, 08:34 | Updated: 6 April 2021, 14:59

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Vaccine passports raise "ethical questions" but Brits won’t need them for the pubs on April 12, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has told LBC.

He said there "was no plan" or finals decisions made about a certification system but revealed the vaccine task force is looking at a range of options to prevent those without a Covid-19 jab attending large-scale events or flying to certain countries.

"Clearly a number of countries have indicated that they will require some form of certification as they do now with free-to-pass tests as we do with pre-departure certification," he said.

"The task force is looking at the protocols and making sure they work for our citizens and with the operations, whether it's technology or a piece of paper, you'll be able to demonstrate if you need to travel to a country that needs your vaccinate or your test certificate, you'll be able to have that available to you as you would have done with the yellow fever vaccine passport in the past.

READ MORE: PM faces growing criticism after backing 'vaccine passports' for mass events

"Domestically, it does raise a number of ethical questions and as the Prime Minister outlined, it's important to remind your listeners of this - next Monday in the beet garden, when you're sipping on that pint, you will not be asked for any form of certification.

Mr Zahawi joked with LBC's Nick Ferrari, saying that "you would berate me" if the vaccine task force did not look at "opening up mass participation events like the FA Cup final or the semi-final or other events".

"No decisions have been made on that," he added, "and if we do make any decisions on that, obviously we will consult."

He added that if No10 decided to proceed with plans, they would have to go to a vote in parliament.

"At the moment all we are doing is doing pilots," he said.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawihas told LBC vaccine passports raise "ethical questions"
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawihas told LBC vaccine passports raise "ethical questions". Picture: LBC

It follows confirmation from Boris Johnson at a press conference last night that vaccine passports will be trialled from mid-April to allow large-scale events in the UK to go ahead.

But the PM looks set for a showdown with riled Tory MPs and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who labelled the idea "un-British" last week.

Mr Johnson has also been warned that a fresh wave of the virus is likely later in the year as the roadmap proceeds.

A paper from experts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said their projections suggested stage two of the road map "may lead to a small surge of cases and deaths" but stage four in June, when restrictions are expected to be abolished, could "lead to a larger surge of cases and deaths comparable to that seen during the first wave".