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England Drops Plan for Vaccine Passports

Health minister cancels requirement for nightclubs, other large places
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2021 10:40 AM CDT
Updated Sep 12, 2021 10:30 AM CDT
Vaccine Passports in the Works for UK
A coronavirus vaccination event, with music mixing deck in the foreground, takes place at Heaven nightclub in central London last month.   (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)

(Newser) Update: England won't require vaccine passports for entry to nightclubs and other large venues after all. Days after the plan was announced, officials sounded cool to it, the BBC reports. A Labor leader said there was confusion about how the passports might work, calling the government's approach "shambolic from the start." On Sunday, the health minister said the plan was off. "I've never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity, but we were right to properly look at it," Sajid Javid said. The plan could be revived, per the AP. Our original story follows:

story continues below

Patrons soon will have to show certificates proving they've been vaccinated for COVID-19 before entering England's nightclubs. The government's vaccines minister made the announcement Sunday in interviews. The notion has opposition, but Nadhim Zahawi said the plan will protect the economy, the BBC reports, even through future coronavirus surges. "The best thing to do then is to work with the industry to make sure that they can open safely and sustainably in the long term, and the best way to do that is to check vaccine status," he said. The requirement also will apply to large events and venues.

"The worst thing we can do for those venues is to have a sort of open-shut-open-shut strategy," Zahawi said. The plan would take effect around the end of the month, Zahawi said, because everyone over 18 would have had a chance to receive two doses of vaccine by then, per the AP. Scotland, where COVID-19 cases are surging, plans to require passports, as well. Opposition is building, however, per the BBC. Government data show one in 75 people in Scotland had COVID last week, up from one in 140 the week before. Officials in Wales said they don't plan to require vaccine passports, citing "ethical and equality considerations." No decision has been made on Northern Ireland. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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