A scheme for vaccine passports for entry to nightclubs and large events in England will not be going ahead, the health secretary has said.
“We shouldn’t be doing things just for the sake of doing them,” Sajid Javid told the BBC.
He stated that the government had reviewed the evidence and that “I’m pleased to say we will not be proceeding.”
The plan, which has been criticised by venues and some MPs, was expected to be introduced at the end of this month.
Members of the public would have been required to show proof of two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in order to gain entry to clubs and other crowded events under the scheme.
According to the Night Time Industries Association, the plans could have crippled the industry and resulted in discrimination lawsuits against nightclubs.
There was also opposition from Conservative MPs on the Covid Recovery Group and the Liberal Democrats, led by Ed Davey, who described them as “divisive, unworkable, and expensive.”
Mr Javid said on The Andrew Marr Show, “I’ve never liked the idea of saying to people you have to show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity, but we were right to look at it properly.”
“We thoroughly examined it, and while we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not proceed with plans for vaccine passports.”
The government appears to have made a sharp U-turn.
Last week, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said on the same TV show that the end of September was the best time to start the vaccine passport scheme for sites with large crowds because all over-18s would have received two jabs by then and it was the “best way” to keep the night industry open.
Before Mr. Javid made his announcement, shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth was asked if Labour would applaud the government if it scrapped the vaccine passport.
“If the government does not bring the vaccine passports to Parliament, that’s the end of it,” he said.