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Nadhim Zahawi, the UK's Covid-19 vaccine deployment minister, rejected the idea of introducing a vaccine passport.
Nadhim Zahawi, the UK’s Covid-19 vaccine deployment minister, rejected the idea of introducing a vaccine passport. Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

The United Kingdom will not introduce Covid-19 vaccine passports, vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Sunday.

However, he said people could seek proof of vaccination from their doctor if needed for travel to other countries.

“We have, as of yesterday given the first dose to 11.5 million people, and what they get is a card from the NHS with their name on it, and the day they’ve been vaccinated with the first dose and then the date for their second dose,” Zahawi told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge.

The vaccine deployment minister rejected the idea of introducing a vaccine passport: “One, we don’t know the impact of the vaccines on transmission. Two, it would be discriminatory,” he said. “I think the right thing to do is to make sure that people come forward to be vaccinated, because they want to, rather than it being made in some way mandatory through a passport or others,” Zahawi added.

Here’s some background: Some destinations – including the Seychelles, Cyprus and Romania – have already lifted quarantine requirements to visitors able to prove they’re vaccinated. Others, such as Iceland and Hungary, have opened up to people who’ve recovered from Covid-19.

“If other countries, obviously, require some form of proof, then you can ask your GP because your GP will hold the record. And of course, that will then be able to be used as your proof that you’ve had the vaccine. But we are not planning to have a passport in the UK,” the vaccine minister said.

Zahawi acknowledged that a number of startups working on apps related to the area had received funding from public agencies UK Research and Innovation and Innovate UK, but that the government was “certainly not looking to introduce it as part of the vaccine deployment program.”

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