June 14, 2021 user

This follows news of COVID-19 restrictions remaining for four weeks after 21 June.

Photo by HalfpointImages/ Getty Images

A Whitehall source has said that vaccine passports could be used at large events, such as sports matches and concerts.

No formal decision has yet been made and a review of the use of vaccine certificates in England is expected to confirm on Monday that they will not be compulsory.

This follows MPs previously warning ministers against introducing the certificates, on the grounds that it is unjustified and discriminatory.

WHY IT MATTERS

The UK has been conducting a review for England to move towards the last stage of the roadmap out of restrictions. Certificates that prove who is vaccinated could help ease restrictions and enable parts of the economy to reopen, avoiding critical impact on businesses.

In the following weeks, the UK government has debated delaying lockdown restrictions in England, meaning that limits for sports, pubs and cinemas remain.

The talks have been initiated by scientists calling for the reopening to be delayed amid the rising cases of the Delta variant, and to enable more people to receive their second vaccine dose.

Prime minister, Boris Johnson is due to confirm the delay today at 18:00 BST.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

The Equality and Human Rights Commission says certificates to prove who is vaccinated could create a “two-tier society whereby only certain groups are able to fully enjoy their rights”.

In Europe, 12 countries are now using the EU Digital Covid Certificate, to allow free movement of travellers between its countries. The Commission has proposed a framework for a European Digital Identity, which will enable all EU citizens to prove their identity and share electronic documents.

Last month, it was announced that people in England will be able to use the NHS app as a vaccine passport. An update that went live on 17 May enabled the app to display COVID vaccine records, in a separate tab, so there is no longer the need to contact a GP.

Meanwhile, the Ada Lovelace Institute published a paper recommending requirements that governments should meet before permitting vaccine passports.

Attendees, exhibitors, speakers and staff will need to verify that they’re fully vaccinated to gain entry to the HIMSS21 campus in Las Vegas. HIMSS will offer more guidance soon on proof and validation, including potential digital apps.

ON THE RECORD

Baroness Kishwer Falkner, chair of the EHRC, said if the certificates are introduced, they must be time-limited and regularly reviewed by Parliament to ensure they are proportionate. She said those who cannot take the vaccine must have easy access to exemption documentation.

“We would monitor the rollout to ensure the right balance is struck between protecting the public’s health and our individual freedoms,” she said.

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