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Published on Monday, February 15, 2021

Vaccine certification 'right way to have safe travel', says Matt Hancock

The idea of vaccine passports or certificates to allow Brits to travel overseas is back on the table again as the Health Secretary confirmed discussions are taking place on how they could work.

Mr Matt Hancock said this morning said the Government is working with countries around the world on 'how that vaccine certification can happen in a way that can be assured'.

Speaking on Sky News, Mr Hancock said: "There are some countries around the world considering bringing in rules saying you can only travel if you've been vaccinated. These aren't in place yet but there are countries that are actively floating this idea and proposing it. And it that case it would be important for people from the UK to be able to show whether or not they've been vaccinated in order to travel."

He said the vaccine certificate needs to happen in such a way that countries are confident that people 'who say they've had a vaccine have actually had it', but [vaccine certification] was 'obviously a very important piece of work'.

"We want Brits to be able to travel to those countries and therefore be able to demonstrate their vaccine status," he said.

"And so that vaccine certification is something we are talking to our international counterparts about and there are people who are arguing that is the right way to have safe global travel again because that's very restricted at the moment and that's obviously a very important piece of work."

His comments are the strongest signal yet that some sort of vaccination certification is likely to be introduced to get the British public travelling and were echoed on Sunday by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, saying that vaccine passports were being discussed.

Responding to a question on the BBC's Andrew Marr Programme yesterday about the introduction of international travel passports to get travel moving again, Mr Raab said: "We discuss these things but the reality is you need to have a workable system…that countries around the world can rely on."

And a little later on Valentine's Day, speaking on LBC radio's Swarbrick on Sunday show, the Foreign Secretary said the Government is "considering" Covid vaccine passports for both domestic and international travel.

Mr Raab told LBC the modalities and mechanisms for reopening the country still "need to be worked out" but that ministers are considering the introduction of domestic Covid passports.

"Whether it's at an international, domestic or local level, you've got to know that the document being presented is something that you can rely on and that it's an accurate reflection of the status of the individual.

"I'm not sure there's a foolproof answer in the way that it's sometimes presented but of course we'll look at all the options," he said.

However, a government spokesperson later told LBC: "There are no plans to introduce immunity passports for use domestically."

Both Mr Hancock and Mr Raab's comments come in stark contrast to those of Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi who only a week ago said the Government had no plans to introduce vaccine passports, claiming they would be 'discriminatory'.

A Covid vaccine passport would effectively require travellers to show their vaccine passport in order to move internationally and within Britain's borders.

Meanwhile Brittany Ferries has called for the adoption of 'vaccination-led travel corridors' to allow holidays to go ahead this summer.

CEO Christophe Mathieu said: "Vaccine roll-out is moving apace in the UK, thanks to the NHS, volunteers and support of the armed forces. While France and Spain are a little behind, the ramp-up is gaining significant momentum. We all believe that vaccines are the way out of this dreadful crisis. So by spring we think there will be a clear case for the adoption of vaccination-led travel corridors - or in our case sea lanes - that allow holidays to go ahead this summer and for hope to return."

Brittany Ferries said reciprocal travel corridors based on a combination of high vaccination rates and low infections, would offer a 'clear pathway towards a morale-boosting holiday, supporting the wellbeing of the nation'. These measures could be supported by testing, and (potentially) vaccine passports.

"Now is the time for optimism, not a shutdown on the summer getaway," added Mr Mathieu. "Lockdown Britons should look forward to holiday with growing confidence - and the time is ripe for a re-think on travel corridor policy. We should all be encouraged to book with companies that offer flexible travel, allowing easy amendments or refunds, in the event that the situation changes in the months ahead."


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  • We use to have Certificates in the 70's

    We use to have Certificates in the 70's travelling abroad. An idea maybe have a vaccination Visa stamped in the passport.

    By David Johns, Monday, February 15, 2021

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Are Vaccine Passports the best way forward for travel ?
YES 54.67 %
NO 45.33 %

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