People in Wales will be given ID cards by the NHS after getting the coronavirus vaccine so they can prove they have had the jab, the Welsh government has announced.
Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething said vaccinated people will receive a “credit-card sized” token, after the UK became the first nation to approve the jab developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
While plans for so-called “immunity passports” remain unclear in other parts of the UK, Welsh ministers believe new cards will help remind people to get the second part of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine.
In a written statement Mr Gething said: “Those receiving a Covid-19 vaccination will be given a credit card-sized NHS Wales immunisation card which will have the vaccine name, date of immunisation and batch number of each of the doses given handwritten on them.”
He added: “These will act as a reminder for a second dose and for the type of vaccine, and it will also give information about how to report side effects.”
The Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove appeared dismissive of the idea of immunity passports to help people move around more freely when he was asked about it earlier this week.
Asked if there would be a vaccine passport, Mr Gove told Sky News: “No, that’s not being planned … I certainly am not planning to introduce any vaccine passports and I don’t know anyone else in government who is.”
Yet UK health minister Nadhim Zahawi, who has been put in charge of the vaccine roll-out, suggested proof of vaccination could be particularly useful for the hospitality industry.
He told the BBC: “We are looking at the technology … 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.”
Deborah Dunn-Walters, professor of immunology at the University of Surrey, suggested the government had to get more detail about the exact protection any vaccine might provide before ministers were able to outline how vaccine passports could be used.
“For example, how long would vaccination provide protection against contracting Covid-19? Would vaccination stop you from transmitting the illness as well as preventing you getting sick?
“These are just a couple of the questions that will need to be answered, on top of the ethical considerations, before we can start to consider the possibility of vaccine passports.”
Tony Blair told the BBC on Thursday that it was “absolutely clear” that international travel would require Covid-19 vaccine or test certificates in the near future.
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