POLITICS
07/02/2021 10:23 GMT | Updated 07/02/2021 13:38 GMT

Vaccine Passports Would Be 'Discriminatory', Says Nadhim Zahawi

But minister says public should ask their GP for proof if its needed to travel abroad.

Vaccine passports would be “discriminatory” and will not be introduced in the UK, the minister in charge of the coronavirus immunisation programme has said.

But Nadhim Zahawi said if other countries required proof of vaccination as a requirement for entry then people would be able to ask their GP for proof.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, Zahawi was asked if the government was considering bringing in vaccine passports.

“No we are not,” he said. “It would be discriminatory.”

The vaccines minister added: “Of course you have the evidence you have been vaccinated held by your GP.

“And if other countries require you to show proof of that evidence, that is up to those countries.”

It comes after The Times reported that British officials have started work on an official certification programme.

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said the UK government would work with other countries to “help facilitate” coronavirus immunity passports if they are required by destinations abroad.

The leaders of Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Malta have called for the introduction of certificates which designate if a traveller has been vaccinated or not.

On Monday, Australia said planned “digital vaccine certificates” would allow international students to return to study in the country without the need for them to hotel quarantine.

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said having passports was a “very sensible policy” and that other countries had shown how such schemes can work”.

While former prime minister Tony Blair has called on Boris Johnson to use the G7 summit hosed by the UK in June to push a global vaccine passport scheme.

In a separate interview with Sky News, Zahawi revealed between 11 and 12 o’clock on Saturday the NHS “almost got to 1,000 jabs a minute, we got to 979 jabs a minute”.

Downing Street confirmed on Friday that the vaccine programme is intended to reach all those aged 50 and over, as well as adults aged 16-65 in an at-risk group, by May – having previously said it aimed to do so “by the spring”.