'No plans' for Covid vaccine passports but Brits can use GP's letter as proof to let them go on holiday, minister says

A TOP minister has scotched claims Brits will be handed 'vaccination passports' before they travel – after it was reported the documents could be issued to holidaymakers.

However, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi risked the ire of GPs working flat-out on the jabs roll-out by suggesting those given vaccines could write to surgeries for written proof if needed for travel.

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Greece is one of the countries stating they'll waive quarantine requirements for those who have been jabbed.

But asked about the possibility of the Government issuing immunity passports by Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday, Mr Zahawi replied: "No, we're not.

"One, we don't know the impact of the vaccines on transmission.

"Two, it would be discriminatory and I think the right thing to do is to make sure that people come forward to be vaccinated because they want to, rather than it be made in some way mandatory through a passport.

"If other countries obviously require some form of proof, then you can ask your GP because your GP will hold your records and that will then be able to be used as your proof you've had the vaccine.

"But we are not planning to have a passport in the UK."

It comes as:

  • Covid infections must fall by another 95 per cent to just 1,000 a day before lockdown is lifted, NHS bosses say
  • WHO chiefs have refused to rule out claims the virus originated in a secretive Wuhan lab
  • 'Brave' Britain has been praised for its pioneering work on the fight-back against coronavirus
  • Labour's shadow attorney general called the pandemic 'the gift that keeps giving'
  • Millions of Brits aged under 50 will get their vaccine at work

He spoke out hours after it was claimed that ministers are working on a "targeted" vaccine passport scheme that will allow vaccinated Brits to return to a 'more normal' life.

The Telegraph reports a targeted scheme could see people applying for proof that they have been vaccinated to carry out daily tasks.

The most common use would be to allow people to go away on foreign holidays, but a vaccine passport could assist people to take part in another activities, the publication reports.

Meanwhile, Labour's shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said vaccine passports "may be necessary" but raised questions over how they would be used.

In an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr, the former party leader said: "We should be open to this."

However, he acknowledged there would be "complications", asking: "Is it just for international travel?

"Is it for as you go about your business in your society?"

Elsewhere, Mr Zahawi spoke to allay fears about the more infectious South African variant of coronavirus after a study found the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offered limited protection against mild disease caused by the mutation.

The study, first reported by the Financial Times, into the E484K mutation involved just 2,000 people, most of whom were young and healthy.

It means more data is needed before any conclusions can be reached.

Mr Zahawi says research shows the Oxford jab "does protect against severe disease".

However, he suggested an annual roll-out of booster jabs is likely to be needed as the virus mutates to get around vaccinations.

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "We see very much probably an annual or booster in the autumn and then an annual (jab), in the way we do with flu vaccinations."

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