Britain plans to drop COVID-19 passports as a legal requirement for large events, The Daily Telegraph reported on Sunday. The UK officials working on the review into COVID-19 status certificates believe there is no chance the law will be changed to mandate their use within the UK, the report added. A government spokesman said in an emailed statement to Reuters that the COVID-19 vaccine certification review is still in process and no decision has yet been made.
There has been mounting concern over the prospect of vaccine certificates voiced by the UK’s Conservative Party, as well as opposition lawmakers and civil rights groups. In April, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also signalled the ethical issues posed by COVID-19 vaccine certification.
Recently, the United States said it is seriously considering creating a vaccine passport for Americans travelling abroad.
“We’re taking a very close look at that," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said of the idea of special documentation for vaccinated Americans who want to travel overseas, as inoculation drives allow Europe and other regions of the world to start opening up from pandemic restrictions.
The administration of President Joe Biden, Mayorkas told ABC television, wants to ensure that “any passport that we provide for vaccinations is accessible to all and that no one is disenfranchised."
Mayorkas’s agency oversees the Transportation Security Administration.
The European Union is working to introduce a vaccine travel document for this summer so it can welcome back badly needed tourists, and some EU countries plan to introduce certificates at the national level.
But the idea is controversial in the US. Some conservative states like Florida and Texas reject the idea of vaccine travel documents on grounds this would violate peoples’ basic rights.
This week a lawmaker who supports former president Donald Trump caused an uproar by saying a vaccine passport would be like the yellow star that the Nazis forced Jews to wear.
In April White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there was no federal law requiring people to get vaccination certificate in order to travel.
(WITH INPUTS FROM AFP AND REUTERS)