Vaccine passport branded ‘unacceptable’ – MPs to debate petition backed by 250k signatures

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This week the European Commission suggested a “digital green pass” would allow summer holidays to go ahead by letting inoculated people travel freely around the bloc. Despite Brexit putting the UK beyond Brussels’ clutches, people fear the bloc is trying to sway the UK to follow its policy to save Britons’ summer holidays.

So far the Government hasn’t confirmed anything. However Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the UK is “working” with the EU and other countries on the issue.

Hundreds of thousands of Britons have reacted with fury, flocking to a petition in such numbers that the Government will debate it in Parliament on March 15.

Set up by David Nolan, it states that restricting the rights of those who refuse a coronavirus vaccination is “unacceptable”.

It continues: “We want the Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public.

“Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, which would be unacceptable.

“On Dec 14 2020, Nadhim Zahawi MP said ‘there are no plans for vaccine passports’.

“He continues to deny the Government has plans despite reports that people who have received the Covid-19 vaccine will be offered a passport proving they have been vaccinated as part of a government-funded trial.

“The Government must be completely clear to the public about the use of vaccine passports & their intentions, which will undoubtedly affect societal cohesion & effect the economic recovery of Great Britain this year & into 2022.”

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Signatures grew exponentially as European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the passports “should facilitate Europeans’ lives”.

She added: “The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad – for work or tourism.”

The proposed scheme raises the prospect that unvaccinated adults and children could still travel overseas if they have had a recent negative COVID-19 test.

It would at first be for Europeans to travel more freely over the summer – but the executive also plans to cooperate with international organisations to ensure its system works beyond the EU.

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A senior EU source told The Sun Britons are “always welcome” in Europe “as long as you meet all of the conditions and standards”.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said on Monday there was still “great uncertainty” around holidays on the continent – partly because the EU’s vaccination programmes were behind the UK’s.

The draft EU legislation for the “green digital pass” is expected to be published on March 17, and the scheme itself may begin as soon as June.

Mr Hancock said: “As I understand it, the EU proposal is that certification includes both whether you’ve had the vaccine and also whether you’ve recently had a test for those who can’t get vaccinated yet, which is obviously particularly important.

“Therefore it’s something that we’re working with them and others on and it matters that we get the details of this right for international travel.”

The UK government has said that once more is known about the impact of vaccines it could introduce a system to allow people who have had a jab to travel more freely internationally.

Mr Hancock said on Tuesday that people will need to be provided with the ability to certify they have had a coronavirus vaccination.

“It is clear” that individuals will need a way of showing they have had a jab, but those who cannot be inoculated for medical reasons will “absolutely” be taken “into consideration”, he told MPs.

It comes as a UK taskforce planning the resumption of foreign holidays has met for the first time.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps chaired the meeting of the government’s global travel taskforce, with travel firms, transport operators and industry bodies joining the virtual session.

Boris Johnson announced last month that foreign leisure travel for people in England could be allowed from 17 May.

But this was dependent on several factors, such as vaccine rollouts and the prevalence of COVID variants.

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