COVID-19 vaccine passport plans scrapped in England

Plans for COVID-19 vaccine passport requirements to be implemented for those wishing to access large venues and nightclubs in England have been scuttled, at least for the time being, according to reporting from the BBC.

Reuters reported over the weekend that Prime Minister Boris Johnson would scrap not just the vaccine passport scheme, but would also put an end to additional emergency powers of which the country’s leadership availed itself over the course of the pandemic.

In announcing the move, Johnson declared, according to The Hill, “These extraordinary times required necessary but intrusive measures. But I’m determined to get rid of any powers we no longer need because of our vaccine defenses.”

As Health Minister Sajid Javid noted, the government was not expected to take additional steps toward implementation of the vaccine passport plan or pursue any further lockdowns, even though the country had seen an uptick in cases in recent months.

“We shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it,” Javid explained, according to the BBC, adding, “Now that we’re entering autumn and winter…the prime minister this week will be setting out our plans to manage COVID over the coming few months, and in that we will be making it clear that our vaccine program is working,” The Hill further reported.

The decision represented something of a surprise reversal, particularly considering that it was just a week prior that Javid had called the passport plan “the best way” to keep the nighttime hospitality and entertainment industries afloat.

Despite the cancellation of immediate implementation of the plan, the government did emphasize that the scheme would remain held “in reserve” if conditions were to significantly change over the coming months, the BBC noted.

The vaccine passport program had drawn significant criticism from England’s Night Time Industries Association, which claimed that the requirements as outlined by the government would have crippled members’ businesses and resulted in an onslaught of discrimination litigation they simply could not survive.

Expressing a sentiment with which all freedom-loving people in America and abroad would surely agree, Javid himself said earlier in the week that he “never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers” in order to “do what is just an everyday activity.”