Coronavirus: Vaccine Passports

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for contacting me about COVID-status certification and vaccine passports.

There has unfortunately been a greater lack of take-up of the vaccine among younger people, and COVID-status certification might be useful in encouraging more young people to get vaccinated to prevent and manage the spread of Covid-19.

The Government has been working with organisations to encourage voluntary use of the NHS COVID Pass. The NHS COVID Pass provides a way for individuals to prove vaccination status, natural immunity from Covid-19 or a negative test result. Over 200 events and venues have already used the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry including at Premier League matches, Reading and Leeds Festivals and the BBC Proms.

Taking into account the latest data, mandatory use of the NHS COVID Pass will not be introduced at this point – as the Prime Minister has confirmed – but I do not believe that it would be sensible to rule out mandatory use in the future. The Government has said that it could introduce mandatory vaccine-only COVID-status certification, as one of a range of Plan B measures, if the data suggests that action is required to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS. Unlike last winter when businesses were required to close, this approach would allow businesses to remain fully open while protecting our health service.

Mandatory use of the NHS COVID Pass would also only apply in certain settings, such as nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather. The Government would seek to provide businesses with at least one week’s notice before imposing mandatory certification and exemptions from the NHS COVID Pass would apply to people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, to those on COVID vaccine trials and to those under the age of 18.

The Government has been clear that it is not mandating the use of certification in any setting at this point. It is instead encouraging use of the NHS Covid Pass in certain venues. I want to take back our freedoms, as we all do, and I believe that use of the NHS COVID Pass in higher risk settings is a socially responsible approach.

We all want this country to be able to enjoy the fruits of our massive vaccination campaign. But to do that we must all remain cautious and we must continue to get vaccinated.

Thank you for taking the time to contact me.

Yours,

EDWARD LEIGH MP