Many of you have contacted me regarding vaccine passports or Covid status certification.
The UK has made excellent progress in its rollout of the vaccination programme. Currently, over 20 million UK residents have received their first jab. Over 55,000 Islanders have received their first dose. I thank all those who have been involved.
The government target of offering a vaccine to priority groups 1-4, over 15 million people, was reached by 15 February.
I understand that there is a range of options being considered to encourage uptake of the vaccine, however, the Government does not plan to make the Covid-19 vaccination mandatory.
As set out in the Government’s Roadmap towards easing restrictions, four programmes of work have been established to consider different aspects of how the UK should handle COVID-19 from summer onwards. One of these is a review into whether COVID-status certification could play a role in reopening our economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety.
Covid-status certificates raise complex ethical and discriminatory issues that would need to be worked through. The Government is considering these issues fully as part of the review. I am satisfied that steps will be taken to consider the impact of any certification approach.
It is right that we consider all possibilities and do not rule out any options. For now, the emphasis is on our vaccination and testing programs with a view to a return to a ‘new normal’.
As with all coronavirus regulations, I will be following developments closely.