The government “will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports” in England, Sajid Javid has said.
Plans had been announced that people would be required to show proof they have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in order to gain entry to clubs and other large-scale events in England.
But speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday, the health secretary the policy had been ditched.
“I’ve never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity, but we were right to properly look at it,” he said.
“We’ve looked at it properly and whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.”
The plan had triggered a backlash from Tory MPs who were opposed to the idea.
Labour’s deputy leader said the rapid change showed that “the government’s approach to Covid passports has been shambolic from the start”.
Angela Rayner said: “There has never been any clarity from ministers about what vaccine passports were supposed to achieve, how they would work and what was expected from businesses and workers.
“Days ago, the vaccine minister stood before Parliament to confirm the introduction of Covid passports and stress their importance, now they’ve been scrapped.
“This is the culmination of a summer of chaos from ministers and they urgently need to get a grip before winter.”
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi faced a fierce backlash when he defended the policy in the Commons on Wednesday, with Tory MPs accusing the Government of picking an “unnecessary fight” with them.
The decision means Covid measures in England again deviate from those in Scotland, where a motion on their introduction was passed in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, while a decision is expected in Wales next week.
In a separate interview, Javid also said he expected the booster vaccination programme to start this month.
“There is evidence of waning immunity, particularly in older people, more vulnerable people. And we are already taking action on that,” he told Sky News.
“So for example just a week ago I announced that those people that are immuno-suppressed that they should get a third jab as part of their primary treatment. That has already started.
“And in terms of a general booster programme, we have asked the JCVI to look into this. They gave me interim advice a month or so ago where they supported this, but they said they wanted to do some further work. We have given them the time to do that work.
“But I believe we will be able to start our booster programme, subject to their final advice, on schedule this month.”