Vaccine passports could still be introduced in England, says Boris

Boris Johnson has announced that ministers will work to “avoid vaccine passports if we can” after the government put its plans for introduction earlier this month on hold.

The prime minister promised to provide more details on Tuesday as he unveiled his plan for dealing with the coronavirus this winter if cases could soar again.

Amid criticism from Tory backbenchers and the hospitality industry, the government backed off plans to make vaccines mandatory in crowded places like nightclubs before October.

But Mr Johnson made it clear that their possible introduction to England will be kept “in reserve”.

“What we want to do is avoid vaccination records when we can, and that’s the course we’re on,” he told reporters during a visit to Leicester.

“But I think you have to be level-headed and keep things in reserve in case something should change.”

Health Minister Sajid Javid announced the U-turn for England’s venues on Sunday, just days after Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi defended the policy in front of highly critical MPs.

Mr Zahawi faced a violent backlash on Wednesday as he defended politics in the House of Commons, arguing that vaccine passports needed to be put in place to minimize disruption and avoid closings.

On Monday, Mr Johnson said the ministers were “both right”.

The decision means that Covid measures in England will again differ from those in Scotland, where a motion to introduce them was passed in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, while a decision is expected in Wales next week.

Stormont ministers have not yet found an official position on the use of vaccine access passports in Northern Ireland.

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