The UK’s Finance Minister Rishi Sunak on Sunday said that a review into the idea of domestic vaccine passports will come to a conclusion in a few months’ time.
When asked about vaccine passports on Sunday, Sunak said it may be a way to help with reopening parts of the economy.
“Obviously it’s a complicated but potentially very relevant question for helping us reopen, particularly those parts of our country like mass events,” Sunak told The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC.
“That’s what the committee and the review will do, is work through all of those questions and come to a view in a few months’ time,” he said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Feb. 23 that he was going to order a review into the possibility of introducing a vaccine passport for domestic use, despite having ruled it out just a week before.
“We haven’t had stuff like this before. We’ve never thought in terms of having something that you have to show to go to a pub or theatre,” he said. “I know fervent libertarians will object, but other people will think that there is a case for it,” he said.
He said there are “deep and complex issues” that need to be worked out—“ethical issues about what the role is for government in mandating people to have such a thing, or indeed banning people from doing such a thing.”
“We can’t be discriminatory against people who, for whatever reason, can’t have the vaccine,” he said.
Johnson said he wants a “proper review” into this issue led by senior cabinet minister Michael Gove, who is tasked to get “the best scientific, moral, philosophical, ethical viewpoints on it.”
Up until mid-February, Johnson and other government ministers, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi, and Michael Gove—had repeatedly denied there were plans for domestic vaccine passports.
According to the government website, petitions with over 10,000 signatures get a response from the government, and petitions with over 100,000 signatures are considered for debate in Parliament.
A previous petition that closed on Feb. 4 urged the government to prevent any restrictions being placed on those who refuse to have any potential CCP virus vaccine. It had 337,141 signatures.
Alexander Zhang contributed to this report.