“We’re looking at the issues that are raised by vaccination certification” but “no decisions have been taken at all,” Johnson said during a visit to a nursery in west London.
“Lots of countries are thinking about using some sort of vaccine passport” for international travel, he said. “You can see the arguments.”
But asked if such vaccine passports could be used domestically to enter pubs or restaurants, Johnson said, “I think we need to think carefully about the issues.”
“As I said before, there are lots of difficult issues because there are some people who for medical reasons can’t get a vaccination, pregnant women can’t get a vaccination at the moment.”
“You might only be able to implement a thoroughgoing vaccination passport scheme, even if you wanted such a thing, in the context when absolutely everybody had been offered a vaccine,” he said.
Johnson said “moral complexities” and “ethical problems” will need to be addressed before any decisions can be made.
Johnson was also asked about domestic vaccine certificates during Wednesday’s House of Commons Liaison Committee hearing.
He responded by saying that the concept of such certification “should not be totally alien to us,” as doctors and care workers are already expected to get vaccinated.
Asked if a vaccine certificate might be required to enter a pub, he said, “I think that is the kind of thing that may be up to individual publicans and landlords.”
But he told the media on Thursday that “none of this is obviously going to apply on April 12,” when pubs and restaurants are set to be allowed to provide services outdoors.
Vaccine passports for domestic use have been a contentious issue in the UK ever since Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi floated the idea in a media interview in November last year.
Since then, Zahawi and several other ministers, including senior cabinet minister Michael Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, have repeatedly denied the government had plans to introduce such documents.
Johnson also ruled out the idea on Feb. 15. But one week later, he suggested he could see the case for passports. “I know fervent libertarians will object, but other people will think that there is a case for it,” he told the media on Feb. 23.
Johnson revealed last month that he had asked Gove to conduct a “proper review” on the issue of domestic vaccine passports and get “the best scientific, moral, philosophical, ethical viewpoints on it.”