Boris Johnson’s admission that pub landlords could be allowed to ask customers for proof of a Covid-19 vaccination before entry has sparked anger about the possibility of so-called “vaccine passports” in the UK.
The prime minister told the Commons Liaison Committee on Wednesday that it may be left up to “individual publicans” to decide whether unvaccinated drinkers would be allowed entry to individual venues.
However, ministers could also introduce proof of a negative Covid test as a requirement for entry to avoid discriminating against those who have not had the jab for health (or other) reasons.
The comment has caught some people by surprise as Johnson said only last month that he did not expect proof of vaccination to be required for activities in the UK.
He told Sky News:
“What I don’t think we will have in this country is - as it were - vaccination passports to allow you to go to, say, the pub or something like that.”
However, the concern around vaccine passports goes beyond the usual suspects - as human rights experts have also raised issues with the proposal.
On Thursday morning, Gracie Bradley, interim director of the human rights group Liberty, warned that the government had been “flip-flopping” over the use of vaccine passports and should not leave the decision to individual publicans.
“The reality is with vaccine passports there are really significant human rights and equality issues at play here and it shouldn’t just be left to individual business-owners to try to figure those things out.”
'This is a pretty worrying road to be going down'
On vaccine passports, Liberty's Interim Director @graciemaybe sa… https://t.co/d6AhGBmvx4
— Good Morning Britain (@Good Morning Britain)
Meanwhile, the public appears to be broadly in favour of some sort of Covid vaccine certificates for pubs, gyms, cinemas, restaurants and care homes, according to a new YouGov poll.
Boris Johnson has said requiring Covid vaccine certificates to enter pubs ‘may be up to individual publicans'. We f… https://t.co/ArqFHCZzCu