Vaccine certification as a means of unlocking British society would not be discriminatory, the UK vaccine minister insisted on Tuesday, as the proposal continues to generate controversy in the UK.
The minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said such a requirement raises “a number of ethical questions”, but that “it would be negligent on our part as a government” not to consider all options to reopen the economy and “get our lives back.”
No decision has been made yet, he told BBC Breakfast, but “ultimately what we decide has to be workable, it has to be non-discriminatory. You can’t have a kind of two-tier or multi-tier system. “
Zahawi’s comments, echoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s words a day earlier, are the latest indication that a government that once ruled out the possibility of “vaccine passports” is leaning toward their introduction.
Zahawi himself previously rejected the idea of introducing a vaccine passport: “First, we do not know the impact of vaccines on transmission. Two, it would be discriminatory, ”he said on Sky News in February.
But the scheme will now be put to the test in the coming weeks for large-scale events, cinemas and theaters.
When asked on BBC Breakfast how this will be possible without being discriminatory, Zahawi said: “There is not going to be a situation where a government allows that to happen, but it is fair that we consider all technologies.
He continued: “Everyone can get tested, there is no discrimination, anyone can get tested, not everyone can get a vaccine. […] so we have to look at all the technologies, make sure they work together to get us where we need to be. “
The issue has received both support and reaction from across the political spectrum, with several figures from Johnson’s own Conservative party against the idea of vaccine passports.
The government released an update to its review on easing lockdown restrictions on Monday, which read: “Even without government intervention, Covid status certification is likely to become a feature of our lives until the threat. from the pandemic back down. “
On the other hand, Zahawi stated that the Moderna vaccine is on track to be rolled out in the UK “around the third week of April”.