Covid: 'Definitely' a role for vaccine passports in international travel, Boris Johnson says

Boris Johnson says Covid vaccine passports will play a role in international travel. Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Boris Johnson has said there will “definitely” be a role of Covid vaccine passports when it comes to international travel.

The government is currently undertaking a review to establish how vaccine certification could be used both domestically and abroad, as the UK and the rest of the world prepares to unlock as vaccinations ramp up.

Speaking during a visit to Middlesbrough, Mr Johnson said: “There’s definitely going to be a world in which international travel will use vaccine passports.

“You can see already that other countries, the aviation industry, are interested in this and there’s a logic to that.

  • 'Definitely' a role for vaccine passports, says Boris Johnson

“I think when it comes to trying to make sure that we give maximum confidence to businesses and customers in the UK, there are three things – there’s immunity whether you have had it before so you have natural antibodies, whether you have been vaccinated, and of course whether you have had a test.”

It comes as the European Commission unveiled its own Covid vaccine passport.

On Thursday, the Commission tweeted that their "Digital Green Certificates will ensure people can travel safely within the EU this summer. They will be valid in all EU countries and will include only essential information and secure personal data".

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had suggested that British instincts will mean people will not want to use vaccine passports if coronavirus is under control.

The Labour leader said there could be opposition to the idea among the public if death rates are near zero and hospital admissions are low.

Hospitality and retail bosses have warned that vaccine passports for customers entering venues could face “legal concerns” and create enforcement problems for businesses.

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that pubs and other venues could use vaccine passports, before backtracking slightly to clarify that this may only be introduced once all UK adults have been offered a vaccination.

Mr Johnson is due to set out more details in early April on potentially introducing such a scheme.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives the thumbs up after receiving the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine Credit: Frank Augstein/PA

Sir Keir told the Daily Telegraph: “My instinct is that, as the vaccine is rolled out, as the number of hospital admissions and deaths go down, there will be a British sense that we don’t actually want to go down this road.”

He continued: “I think this is really difficult and I’m not going to pretend there’s a clear black and white, yes-no easy answer on this.

“It is extremely difficult.

“My instinct is that… (if) we get the virus properly under control, the death rates are near zero, hospital admissions very, very low, that the British instinct in those circumstances will be against vaccine passports.”

Some firms said spending on leisure and hospitality services was better than expected in December Credit: Yui Mok/PA

Mr Johnson has previously said that he acknowledges the “moral complexities” around bringing in a domestic vaccine passport scheme.

A Whitehall source told PA one possibility being considered is that landlords may be able to scrap social distancing if they check Covid health certificates on entry.

The move would allow them to operate at much higher capacity and could be a strong incentive for them to participate in the scheme.

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Sir Keir raised concerns however around the suggestion that landlords could be allowed to decide for themselves,.

He told the Telegraph: “I think this idea that we sort of outsource this to individual landlords is just wrong in principle.”

Asked if he feels uncomfortable with the new Covid laws introduced, he explained that current restrictions should not be in place for longer than they are necessary.

“If that was a long-term proposition I’d be very, very worried about it and I would be fighting it tooth and nail,” he said.

“Nobody wants these restrictions, nobody enjoys living under these restrictions, and they shouldn’t be in place for a moment longer than is absolutely necessary.”