The government is “absolutely on track” to roll out mandatory vaccine passports for night clubs and mass events at the end of this month, according to vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi.
Zahawi said today that the government wants to “work with the [nightlife] industry to make sure they can open safely…in the long term” and that vaccine passports are a key tool against future Covid spikes.
Downing Street last week confirmed that mandatory Covid certification would still be enforced by the end of this month, however few details have been given.
Johnson initially announced in July that vaccine passports for large events and night clubs would be brought in by the end of September, with no testing option, after low vaccine take-up rates among under-30s.
Vaccine take-up among young Brits has since increased and now about 80 per cent of all adults are fully vaccinated.
Speaking to Sky News, Zahawi said: “We are looking at by the end of September, when everyone has had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, for the large venues, venues that could end up causing a real spike in infections, where we need to use the certification process.
“If you look at what the FA has done so brilliantly in terms of checking vaccine status to reopen football, that is the sort of right thing to do. We are absolutely on track to continue to make sure we do that.”
The government initially ruled out mandatory Covid certification, after a review led by Michael Gove.
Zahawi said in February that vaccine passports were “discriminatory” and that the government had no plans to introduce them.
Today, the minister said vaccine passports will be a key tool against future large spikes in Covid-19 during winter.
“The worst thing we can do for those venues is to have an open, shut, open, shut strategy because we see infection rates rise, because of the close interaction of people,” he said.
“The best thing to do is to work with the industry to make sure they can open safely and sustainably in the long term and the best way to do that is to check vaccine status.
“I will do everything in my power which is why we’re working all hours to makes sure we deliver on our booster programme.”