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Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi rules out vaccine passports 'for our domestic economy'

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi addressed the reports that vaccine passports may be required to gain entry to places such as pubs and restaurants.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain, Mr Zahawi ruled out the idea of using vaccine passports for the UK's domestic economy.

Speaking to Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway, Mr Zahawi said the focus should be on vaccinating as many adults as possible.

"We are not looking at a vaccine passport for our domestic economy. I think it’s much better to vaccinate the whole of the adult population, offer the vaccine to them as quickly as possible by September and the link to that is our testing programme both in terms of surge testing, rapid testing and isolation, but also the lateral flow tests and the rapid test," he said.

However, he didn't rule out considering vaccine passports for international travel if it's required by other countries.

"Some countries are beginning to move in the direction of requiring a certificate in the way we do now in terms of pre-departure testing. So some countries are looking at only allowing people in if they have a vaccine certificate and we will look to facilitate it for the individuals. So for your viewers who would need that certificate in the way they would have needed a yellow fever vaccine certificate to travel to particular parts of the world, then we will make that available," he said.

During his appearance on Good Morning Britain, Mr Zahawi also clarified the confusion over vaccine priority for asthma. Clarifying which type of asthma sufferers will be prioritised for a vaccine, Mr Zahawi explained: "In category four, those serious, extremely vulnerable cases of asthmatics would have been given the first dose in category four and now in category six if they have oral steroids, then they are in category six."

"The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) looked at the evidence and that is what we are guided by. I apologise if there was any confusion. I certainly don’t want to have any confusion at all, but they are the categories within group six which are 16-64 year olds with underlying health conditions. Respiratory health conditions is one of them but also heart conditions, diabetes and others and it also includes those who are carers, unpaid carers for those who are critically extremely vulnerable or the elderly."

Mr Zahawi also revealed that phase two of the vaccination programme will focus on key workers who are coming into contact with Covid like police officers, teachers and supermarket workers based on JCVI advice.

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