The UK’s National Health Service in Wales is planning to distribute ID cards to COVID-19 vaccine recipients for proof of vaccination against the novel coronavirus, though government officials deny that such cards will be used as “vaccine passports” to grant or deny access to common venues in the country.
According to the Mirror, a two-dose vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is expected to be available next week after the UK became the first nation to approve the vaccine for widespread emergency use.
For months, the Mirror adds, “there has been talk of Britons being given ID cards or ‘passports’ to show as proof they have been vaccinated against Covid-19.”
Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething confirmed that citizens of Wales will receive a credit-card sized proof of vaccination card which states the type of vaccine and the date it was administered.
“Those receiving a Covid-19 vaccination will be given a credit card-sized NHS Wales immunisation card which will have the vaccine name, date of immunisation and batch number of each of the doses given handwritten on them,” Gething said. “These will act as a reminder for a second dose and for the type of vaccine, and it will also give information about how to report side effects.”
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, however, claimed that there are no plans for a “vaccine passport” in England for access to places such as pubs and restaurants.
“No, that’s not being planned,” said Gove, adding that “I certainly am not planning to introduce any vaccine passports and I don’t know anyone else in Government [who is].”
“I think the most important thing to do is make sure that we vaccinate as many people as possible,” Gove stated.
Gove’s comments followed an alarming statement by UK Health Minister Nadhim Zahawi, who is in charge of the campaign to distribute coronavirus vaccines, suggesting that a so-called “immunity passport” was under consideration.
Hospitality and entertainment businesses may insist on seeing such a “passport” from customers, Zahawi suggested, adding that the government was “looking at the technology.”
“I think you’ll probably find that restaurants and bars and cinemas and other venues, sports venues will probably also use that system,” Zahawi said, “as they have done with the [test and trace] app.”
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