Boris Johnson faces a battle over plans to introduce “vaccination cards” that people can use to prove their Covid-19 coronavirus vaccination status before going to events.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said today that a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccination certificate is not required when pubs and restaurants reopen outdoors next week – or when they reopen indoors in May
However, a government review of “Covid Status Certification” found that they “may have a role” in settings such as theaters, nightclubs and mass events, and can also be used in pubs and restaurants to ease social distancing restrictions .
The potential use of certificates that include vaccination status, test results or evidence of someone infected and recovered from Covid-19 is rejected by at least 40 Conservative MPs, and Labor is also skeptical of the measure.
The dispute over vaccination records came as government scientific advisors warned that further steps along the roadmap to ease England’s lockdown could lead to another wave of coronavirus cases.
In the next phase of the process – on April 12th – shops, pub beer gardens and hairdressers that are not absolutely necessary are allowed to reopen.
Minutes of a March 31 Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) meeting showed that the modeling indicated that the measures “may result in only a small increase in hospital stays and deaths” and “are unlikely to put pressure on the NHS” .
However, the advisors warned that the changes planned for May and June – if more mixing of indoor social spaces is to be allowed again – could result in hospital admissions rising to the level reached during the January peak, according to scenarios based on “pessimistic but plausible” assumptions about how effective vaccines will be.
Covid status certificates are being reviewed by a panel led by Cabinet Minister Michael Gove to allow society to return to normal while minimizing the risk of another wave of falls.
The Prime Minister has stressed that the government has not finalized any plans, but ministers are concerned that if there is no official certificate, companies could require customers to show that they have had a vaccine or test.
Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi admitted that using coronavirus certificates domestically raises tough ethical issues.
He told Times Radio, “We haven’t even reached the stage where we have decided what to do domestically because there are so many issues that need to be carefully considered.”
“Michael Gove is consulting with everyone involved, including parliamentarians, so we’re not there yet.
“But the Prime Minister has made it very clear that when we get to this place we will of course go to Parliament to vote.”
Given the scale of the Tory opposition and Labor’s reservations about policies, which Sir Keir Starmer said were directed against “British instinct,” any vote could be close.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth told BBC Breakfast that Labor was “very skeptical” and wanted more details on how they would work.
The interim government review found that public transportation and essential businesses would not require vaccination certificates.
But Mr Ashworth said, “I am not going to support a policy requiring anyone in my Leicester constituency to go to Next or H&M to have a certificate of vaccination on their phone and in an app.”
“I think that’s discriminatory.”
He said that while it “makes sense” to ask people to take a test before going to events like football matches, “we don’t think it fair to ask you to provide a vaccination record that is this one digital identity card. “
“It’s discriminatory,” he said.
The plan is opposed by MPs ranging from former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn to chairman of the powerful 1922 Tory Backbench Committee, Sir Graham Brady.
Senior Tory Mark Harper, chairman of the lockdown-skeptical Covid Recovery Group, warned of the certification of Covid status, “which will lead to a two-tier UK”.
Covid status certificates would not be rolled out until later in the year, if England followed Mr Johnson’s roadmap, on which restrictions could largely be lifted by the end of June.
An article by modeling experts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said their projections indicated that Stage Four – slated for June 21, when remaining restrictions are expected to be lifted – “will result in a greater increase in cases and could result in deaths comparable to that seen during the first wave ”.
They warned that their results were “preliminary” and made “pessimistic assumptions” about the later stages of the roadmap.
However, University of Warwick scientists also shared a similar conclusion that a “significant third wave of infections” would occur due to the currently planned unlock rate, with hospital admissions peaking between late July and mid-August.