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Britons won’t need a coronavirus vaccine passport to go to pub in 2021, says Gove

Ross McGuinness

Watch: ‘Up to pubs’ whether to admit unvaccinated customers

There are no plans for people in the UK to be given coronavirus “vaccine passports” to allow entry into pubs and restaurants, a government minister has said.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the government does not plan to introduce immunity passports once vaccines are available to let businesses know customers have had the jab.

His comments appeared to contradict those of a cabinet colleague, newly appointed vaccine rollout minister Nadhim Zahawi, who suggested on Monday that the hospitality industry could refuse entry to those who haven’t had a COVID-19 vaccine.

On Tuesday, Gove told BBC Breakfast: “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, that’s not the plan.

“What we want to do is to make sure that we can get vaccines effectively rolled out.

“Of course, individual businesses have the capacity to make decisions about who they will admit and why.

“But the most important thing that we should be doing at this stage is concentrating on making sure the vaccine is rolled out.”

On Monday, Zahawi told the BBC: “We are looking at the technology.

“And, of course, a way of people being able to inform their GP that they have been vaccinated.

“But, also, I think you’ll probably find that restaurants and bars and cinemas and other venues, sports venues, will probably also use that system – as they have done with the [test and trace] app.”

But in a separate interview on Tuesday with Sky News, Gove said: “That’s not being planned.

“I think the most important thing to do is make sure that we vaccinate as many people as possible.”

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On Sunday, the government announced it has acquired 2 million more doses of the Moderna vaccine, which has tested almost 95% effective against coronavirus, on top of the 5 million it had already secured.

The UK has also placed orders for 100 million doses of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, enough to vaccinate most of its population. It has also ordered 40 million doses of a vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech.

Michael Gove arrives in Downing Street, London, ahead of a Cabinet meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said there are no plans to introduce 'immunity passports' once a COVID-19 vaccine is available. (PA)

MPs are set to vote on Tuesday on the government’s plan to return to the three-tiered system after the second national lockdown ends on Wednesday.

The government has been trying to head off a Conservative Party rebellion against the proposal, but the measures are expected to pass with both Labour and the SNP abstaining from the vote.

Gove echoed previous comments by foreign secretary Dominic Raab and environment secretary George Eustice that the government is not ruling out a third national lockdown for England.

He told Sky News: “I am as confident as confident can be that we won’t need one because the tiers that we have now are pretty robust.”

Watch: How England's three-tier COVID system will work

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