The government’s review of the Covid vaccine and testing certification could lead to a ban on requests for proof of immunity under certain circumstances, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
The PM’s comments raise the possibility that the review, which will be led by Michael Gove and report by June 21, could prevent employers from implementing ‘no hit, no work’ or ad rules and restaurants excluding people who have not been vaccinated.
The government has so far resisted calls from some companies for vaccine passports to be presented in order to gain access to workplaces or reception and entertainment venues, with vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi warning that the documents would be ” discriminatory ”.
But Mr Johnson’s roadmap for exiting the lockout revealed that a review will be carried out on “whether certification of Covid status could play a role in reopening our economy, reducing restrictions on contacts social and safety improvement ”.
It is understood that Mr Gove’s review will focus not only on the issue of vaccine passports, but also on whether people could receive official certification to prove a recent negative Covid-19 test, possibly in the form entry on the NHS smartphone app. .
Mr Johnson clarified that no decision had been made on the scope of a certification system, saying complex ethical issues need to be considered before making a decision on ‘mandate people to have such a thing or even forbid people to do such a thing. “.
Meanwhile, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she is ready to consider “some sort of mechanism like this [that] can give us a greater normalcy ”.
Mrs Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament: ‘It is possible that vaccination gives you the possibility to do certain things that without vaccination you may not be able to do … I am not closing in on this, but I think like everyone else. world, we want to think about it carefully.
Privacy activist Jim Killock, of the Open Rights Group, warned that vaccine passports can be “extremely discriminatory and invasive of privacy” and could be used as a means to introduce security cards. identity through the backdoor.
“The supposed benefits may be limited and temporary,” he said. “It is right that the government proceed with caution; he must ensure that there is a public consultation and that he questions the advantages and disadvantages. This could be a very worrying path to take.
Speaking on a visit to a school in south London, the Prime Minister said he was “optimistic” that England will meet the June 21 target set in its roadmap for the lifting of almost all coronavirus restrictions, while warning that “nothing can be guaranteed. “.
He said the massive vaccination program, which has seen nearly 18 million people receive their first dose since December, had made “all the difference” in raising hope for a return to normal life.
Mr Johnson said today there is no doubt – regardless of the UK’s rulings – that some countries will require proof of immunity in the future, similar to certificates currently issued with vaccines for diseases like yellow fever. “It’s going to come on the international stage, whatever,” he said.
But he said household use of vaccine passports should be done in a way that doesn’t discriminate against those who haven’t received the vaccine.
“We are looking for something new for our country,” said the Prime Minister. “We’ve never had stuff like this before. We never thought of having something to show to go to a pub or a theater.
“There are deep and complex issues that we need to explore – ethical questions about the role of government in forcing people to have such a thing, or even prohibiting people from doing such a thing.
“There are complex problems that we have to solve.
“We cannot discriminate against people who for some reason cannot get vaccinated. There may be medical reasons why people can’t get a vaccine, some people can really refuse to have one – now I think it’s a mistake, I think everyone should have a vaccine .
“We have to eliminate all of this. And we have time, because what we do is roll out the immunization program. And this will continue for the next two months.
“In the meantime, what I want to see is a proper consideration of the matter and which will be led by Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. ”
Mr Johnson said Mr Gove would receive “the best scientific, moral, philosophical and ethical advice” before making his recommendations.