United Kingdom

Tony Blair calls for vaccine passports: Ex-PM says scheme would make public 'feel safe'

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that society is unlikely to return to normal without a domestic vaccine passport scheme in place. 

Speaking at an event with the Institute for Government, Mr Blair said that it will be difficult to see how the public will have the 'confidence' to go back to life as normal without a means to show people have been vaccinated or have tested negative for Coronavirus. 

The UK Government is considering a 'Covid clear' system where people can show they have tested negative for the virus or been vaccinated to help open up pubs and sporting events once again. 

Tony Blair has urged the public to take the Coronavirus vaccine when it is offered to them 

Boris Johnson has cast doubt on the idea of 'vaccine passports' saying it could be 'discriminatory' against people who 'genuinely' refuse jabs or cannot have them for valid reasons. 

But the PM has ordered Michael Gove to carry out a review of whether a wider system of Covid certification can be used to help reopen the UK.

One option understood to be on the table would involve businesses able to check test results on the NHS app. Individuals would be able to show that they have either had a jab or tested negative - maintaining their choice about vaccination.

Government sources stressed that no decisions have been taken and work is at an early stage. But supporters say such a concept could help theatres, cinemas, sporting venues and workplaces get back towards normality more quickly.

An illustration of an example of a Covid-19 vaccination certificate which could be used

Mr Blair, 67, who has already received his first vaccination, urged those who are considering not having the vaccine to reconsider.  

 'I hope there aren't too many people who as a matter of principle won't go and take the vaccine because really it isn't very sensible,' he said. 

He added that the public will want rules in place around meeting at venues ahead of England's anticipated reopen date of June 21. 

 
'I think you are going to find that venues where large numbers of people are going to congregate close to each other, people will want to have some rules around it and I think other people will feel more comfortable if they know there has been at least some requirement, even if it isn't someone's been vaccinated, that they have at least been tested before they go,' he said. 

'Otherwise I think it is hard to see how people have the confidence to go back to life as normal.  

PM Boris Johnson has ordered Michael Gove to carry out a review of a Covid passport system

 'Life as normal is not just about Government saying, 'We allow you to do this'. It is also about people feeling safe to do it - that's the balance.'   

The ex-Labour Party leader said for those exempt from vaccines for medical reasons or those who choose not to be vaccinated could use proof of a negative test when lockdown lifts.

But, he urged those who are considering not having the vaccine to reconsider.  

'I hope there aren't too many people who as a matter of principle won't go and take the vaccine because really it isn't very sensible,' he added. 

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