BRITS could need vaccine passports for every day activities under plans announced by Boris Johnson today.
In a major u-turn the PM revealed he will order a review into whether jabs certificates should be used to help reopen the economy.
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Ministers have repeatedly ruled out the idea in the past, saying it would be discriminatory and vaccines should be voluntary.
They insisted such documents would only be used to open up international travel – and then because other countries are demanding them.
But Boris signalled a change of heart while delivering his roadmap out of lockdown in the Commons this afternoon.
He said a Government review will “consider the potential role of Covid status certification in helping venues to open safely, but mindful of the many concerns surrounding exclusion, discrimination, and privacy”.
The findings of the review are expected to be set out before step four of the unlocking, on June 21, when it’s hoped all restrictions can be lifted.
No 10 sources said people might be able to do things more easily if they can prove they’ve had a jab.
But they admitted vaccine passports are a complex area and the debate poses moral and ethical questions.
It comes after some ministers pushed the PM to consider jabs certificates to help get the “dying” arts and leisure industries back on their feet.
The PM has previously indicated he would prefer to use mass testing to get large venues like cinemas, theatres, and football stadiums open again.
And Government sources have said introducing vaccine passports would be a “bureaucratic nightmare, like setting up a passport agency from scratch”.
One added: “It would be immensely complex and there would be huge risks involved.”
Some industry insiders are also sceptical that firms will want to risk asking for proof of a jab.
Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UK Cinema Association, said that would present “a range of practical and legal problems”.
He added: “Making the proof of vaccination a condition of entry would open up cinemas to a host of possible claims for discrimination.”
Business groups have also warned firms against introducing such policies.
The CBI has backed the PM’s plan for mass testing to make workplaces safe and says there’s no case for forcing staff to get the jab.
It said businesses are “committed to doing everything they could to inform and engage their employees on the benefits of the vaccine”.
But some ministers have been lobbying the PM to introduce vaccine passports once the majority of the country has been jabbed.
One told The Times: “We’re talking about industries that are dying here. In terms of getting live music, theatre, and other parts of the entertainment industry back on their feet, it seems an obvious thing to do once the majority of people have been vaccinated.”
Many businesses are already reportedly jumping the gun by drawing up an effective vaccine passports scheme for their staff.
Companies ranging from care home operators to large multinational groups are planning to make their workers have a jab to return to the office.
Barchester Healthcare, which runs more than 200 care homes, has said it won’t hire new staff who refuse to get the vaccine for non-medical reasons.
Pimlico Plumbers has also announced a “no jab, no job” policy for new recruits, according to the FT.
Law firms, which didn’t want to be named, told the paper other companies are also looking at whether they can make existing employees have the vaccine.
But ministers expect any such attempt to make the jab compulsory to be challenged in court.
A Government official said: “Companies must ensure their business practices are legal and don’t discriminate against customers or employees.”