Friday, May 28, 2021

England To Adopt Vaccine Passports For Mass Events

England now ready to adopt vaccine passports for mass events

 Government officials said England is set to adopt vaccine passports for large events this summer. The move followed the U.K. National Health Service (NHS) app being updated to indicate a person’s Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination status. The vaccine passport plan – initially designed for overseas travel – aligned with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Under the proposal, the NHS app may be used to verify if someone is vaccinated for COVID-19 or not before they can attend an event with more than 1,000 people. The plan also outlined that unvaccinated people may be required to undergo rigorous testing.

A source briefed on the matter said phase two trials would include events with greater capacity to find “cracks in the system” – including venues at full capacity. They added that the trials would ensure that the country would be “fully ready for the summer.” Another source said: [The] phase two trials will be bigger and better. We want to get crowds back safely in higher numbers.” They continued that the trials will also include a mix of music and sports events.

Meanwhile, senior British government officials put in their two cents on the plan. One senior official confirmed that the first phase of trials for the vaccine passport “have gone very well.” While the official surmised that vaccine passports would almost certainly be required for large events, proof of vaccination for pubs and restaurants “have been ruled out.”

Another senior official remarked that the government’s focus has been “on big events and higher capacity venues.” They clarified that no final decision had been taken regarding vaccine passports.

A government spokesperson said that vaccine passports “could have an important role to play both domestically and internationally, as a temporary measure.” They added that digital COVID-19 certificates via the NHS app could help open up higher-risk settings safely. Furthermore, the certificates would consider a recent negative test, complete vaccination schedule or natural immunity after sickness into account.

However, a third government insider involved with the plan said that vaccine passports may become more widespread if a third COVID-19 wave hits the U.K. later this year. They added: “It may be that [COVID-19] certification has a role to play in other venues to stop closures in the autumn or winter if there’s a big surge.”

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