I have been contacted by many constituents with a range of views on vaccine passports and Covid-19 status certificates.
The Government have consulted on this, and are currently assessing these responses as well as the legal, logistical, medical and ethical issues raised. I have been engaging with Ministers throughout the process.
I must make it clear that at the time of writing there are no firm proposals from the Government.
I must also make it clear that the Government have stated that these would not be needed for the reopening of outdoor hospitality or non-essential retail on 12 April or indoor hospitality from 17 May and that the certificates will never be required for essential public services, public transport and essential shops.
It is right that all options are considered to stop the spread of this virus. Whilst the vaccine programme is the most essential part of this strategy, it must be remembered that no vaccine is 100% effective.
I believe it is extremely sensible for there to be an authoritative record of vaccination available. This would be particularly important for international travel, where other countries may require vaccination as an entry condition. There is nothing the UK Government can do to stop another country insisting on this, and it would be akin to having to have proof of yellow fever vaccination which some countries require.
All rights are balanced with responsibilities and the rights of others. I recognise there is a moral dilemma here; is vaccine and testing certification a mechanism to creating a safer society or an unacceptable intrusion and expansion of the surveillance state?
Individuals should be free to choose to refuse vaccination for their personal reasons or refuse to show any such evidence. However, this freedom is balanced by the freedom of others to determine who should have access to their non-essential private premises or services, for their own similar personal reasons. I only refer to those who have chosen not to receive the vaccine here. I explicitly do not refer to those who have a valid medical exemption, as this is not a choice.
I continue to closely monitor this situation and will carefully assess any Government proposals when they are published.