No 10 has refused to rule out extending domestic vaccine passports to pubs or other sectors of the economy from September, saying it wanted to look at data on their effectiveness from around the world.
Boris Johnson said on Monday night that Covid vaccine passes would be needed to enter nightclubs and other large indoor venues when all adults have been offered the chance to be double jabbed.
His spokesperson added on Tuesday that the government would “use the coming weeks to look at the data globally”.
Asked whether pubs and transport could be eventually subject to Covid passports, Johnson’s official spokesperson said: “The prime minister talked about the sort of areas we were considering, and nightclubs are where there is significant evidence we have at the moment.
“But we’re going to use the coming weeks to look at the evidence, particularly both in the UK and globally before making a specific decision.”
He said Johnson was “not keen for that to happen in pubs” but “we will want to consider the evidence”. The spokesperson said the main risk factors were “close proximity, late at night and consumption of alcohol”, which had led nightclubs to be the first on the list for requiring Covid passes.
No 10 also confirmed that Covid passes would have to be subject to scrutiny from parliament, and it is far from clear that he will win majority support for the idea.
The plan to bring in Covid passports for nightclubs has already drawn serious concern from some prominent backbench Tories including Steve Baker, David Davis and Mark Harper.
Labour has signalled it could oppose the plans, while the Liberal Democrats are firmly against, raising the possibility that Conservative rebels could defeat them when they come to parliament in the autumn.
Justin Madders, shadow health minister, said: “This make-it-up-as-you-go-along government is causing more chaos when what people and businesses need is certainty. How can it be safe to go to nightclubs now, with no protective measures, if in September it will require double jab status? It makes no sense.”
Announcing the plan on Monday, Johnson said: “I should serve notice now that by the end of September, when all over-18s will have had their chance to be double-jabbed, we are planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.
Unlike at pilot events, where customers have been allowed to show evidence of a negative test, they will have to prove they have been double-jabbed amid concerns in government about vaccine uptake among young people. Approximately 35% of 18- to 30-year-olds are unvaccinated, he said.
Addressing younger people directly, Johnson said: “Some of life’s most important pleasures and opportunities are likely to be increasingly dependent on vaccination.”
Less than 18 hours after almost all Covid restrictions were formally scrapped, allowing clubs to open and putting an end to mandatory masks and social distancing, the prime minister expressed concern about what he called the “continuing risk posed by nightclubs”. From just after midnight on Sunday, thousands of revellers were pictured dancing at clubs across the country as they celebrated “freedom day”.