i like the eric clapton grace-note at the end of this

Covid vaccine passports are the way forward, says minister Nadhim Zahawi
George Grylls, The Times, Jul 23 2021

Vaccine passports could be required at football matches, festivals and concerts, a minister has said, despite Conservative MPs threatening to boycott the party conference in protest. Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, suggested that certification could be required in a wide range of venues, saying it was the “right thing to do” to prevent the spread of coronavirus. He ruled out vaccine passports for schools and supermarkets, although he raised the possibility that cinemas, concert halls, conference centres and sports stadiums could all refuse customers without proof of double vaccination or a recent negative test. Six backbenchers said they would not attend the Tory party conference in Manchester this year if organisers insisted on vaccine passports. Steve Baker, vice-chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, said it was with a “heavy heart” that he would not be able to attend the event if certification were required. Chris Green, the MP for Bolton West, accused the government of introducing “ID cards.” Mark Jenkinson, the MP for Workington, said:

I’m booked for Conservatives’ party conference, I’m double jabbed. I won’t be going to conference if we’re excluding people on the basis of their vaccination status.

A party official said that the conference would follow government guidance at the time on certification. The NHS app has been modified to allow people to show their vaccination history and coronavirus test results. Boris Johnson has said certification will be required in nightclubs from September amid government concerns about the level of vaccine uptake among younger generations. A third of people aged 18 to 29 are yet to receive a first jab and government sources have suggested that requiring certification could increase uptake. ‘Sir’ Keir Starmer confirmed this week that Labour would vote against vaccine passports, raising the possibility of a government defeat on the issue. In the Commons yesterday, Zahawi said vaccine passports could become mandatory in theatres, cinemas, concert halls, conference centres and sports stadiums. He said:

We’ve seen in other countries, whether it’s in Holland or in Italy, the opening of nightclubs and then having to reverse that decision rapidly. So what we’re attempting to do — the reason we have the Covid vaccination pass in place — is to work with industry in this period whilst we give people over the age of 18 the chance to become double-vaccinated. It’d be hugely unfair to bring in that policy immediately. Giving people until the end of September is the right thing to do — whilst at the same time allowing those businesses to open safely using the app now because the app went live and is very much something that the industry is engaging with. Nightclubs and other crowded, unstructured indoor settings — such as nightclubs and music venues — or large unstructured outdoor events, such as business events and festivals, or very large structured events, such as business events, music and spectator sport events, they are the ones we are most concerned about. In terms of UK nationals who have been vaccinated overseas, by the end of this month they will be able to talk to their GP, go through what vaccine they have had and then have it registered with the NHS.

The football Premier League is in talks with fans over whether or not to introduce vaccine passports next season, while one West End theatre company has introduced certification as a condition of entry for its shows. The Ambassador Theatre Group, which is behind shows including The Lion King and Cabaret, requires over-18s to show proof of double vaccination on the NHS app or a recent negative test to attend their performances. The guitarist Eric Clapton, 76, said he would not perform at venues that require vaccine passports. In an online statement he said: “Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show.”

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