Has the Government scrapped plans to use NHS app vaccine passports in the UK?

The UK Government will no longer force people to prove their vaccination status using the NHS app to enter nightclubs, theatres, football stadiums, and other venues, according to The Sunday Telegraph. While so-called “vaccine passports” are already in-use before travelling abroad, UK officials are currently working on a review into their use within the UK. The digital certificate is designed to prove that you’ve either had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, or you’ve received a negative coronavirus test within the last few days. 

Concerts, football stadiums, theatres and festivals were all expected to rely on this app-based certificate – just like airports – to stop those likely to have the disease (or the worst reaction if they picked up a strain of the virus during the event) from attending. However, the UK officials working on the review into the use of Covid-19 status certificates believe the scheme is already dead in the water.

That’s because officials believe there’s no chance UK law will be changed to mandate the use of these passports within the UK, sources sold The Sunday Telegraph. However, when approached by Reuters, a Government spokesperson said that the Covid-19 vaccine certification review is “still in process” and “no decision has yet been made”.

We’d take that with a pinch of salt, however, as there has been mounting concerns over the prospect of vaccine certificates used across the Uk from within Boris Johnson’s own Conservative Party, as well as opposition lawmakers, and civil rights groups. In April, the Prime Minister himself nodded to some of the ethical issues posed by COVID-19 vaccine certification.

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Vaccine passports are already available today – and will be required for some flights abroad – but not needed to attend any football matches, theatres, cinemas, or any other venues now re-opening across England and Wales.

Confusingly, your vaccine passport is found in a completely separate app from the NHS Covid-19 one, which is used to stop the spread of coronavirus. The Covid-19 app is the one that uses Bluetooth to keep tabs on your proximity to other people – flagging when someone you’ve been in close contact with later tests positive for Covid-19 so that you can self-isolate, hopefully stopping the spread of the potentially fatal virus.

But while you’ll need to download the NHS Covid-19 app to scan QR codes when you enter pubs, restaurants, and cafés …something you’ll be doing a lot more of thanks to a change in advice from the Government, you will need the NHS app installed on your phone when abroad.

The much-discussed “vaccine passports” started to land in the NHS app on iPhone and Android when England moved into the next step of its lockdown roadmap on Monday May 17, 2021.

Whether the Government will confirm The Sunday Telegraph story in the coming days remains to be seen. If the issue is getting the law to enforce the use of Covid-19 passports within the UK, we’d imagine we’ll either see the bill go down in flames in the House of Commons …or the Government will just stop talking about the idea altogether.

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