Booster jabs to be added to NHS Covid pass for entry into nightclubs and events
Booster jabs will soon be added to the NHS Covid pass for entry into nightclubs and large events, the Health Secretary has announced.
Proof of a booster, as well as the original two vaccine doses, will be needed for the NHS Covid pass to remain valid in England as part of future plans.
Sajid Javid told the Commons the change would take effect “once all adults have had a reasonable chance to get their booster jab”.
MPs are due to vote on the requirement for NHS Covid passes in England on Tuesday (14 December), with the rule to come into force from Wednesday (15 December).
What has Sajid Javid said?
It is the intention of the UK government to include proof of a booster jab on the NHS Covid pass once all adults have had a chance to get vaccinated.
However, people will still be able to show proof of a recent negative lateral flow test instead of their vaccination status to enter nightclubs and large events.
It is expected that the change will be introduced early next year as the booster rollout becomes more complete.
The new policies will be voted on today, but are set to pass as Labour leader Keir Starmer has indicated his party will back them.
Mr Javid added that it is “misleading” to say MPs are being asked to vote on “vaccine passports”.
He told the Commons: “The government has been absolutely clear about when it talks about access to nightclubs or to very large gatherings … that the requirement is to take a free lateral flow test and make sure it’s negative.
“And if you don’t want to do that then you can prove your vaccine status. It’s up to that individual.
“That’s not a vaccine passport and the sooner we get rid of this misleading description of what the government is proposing, the better.”
Two vaccine doses ‘not enough’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a televised address to the nation on Sunday night that the UK is facing “a tidal wave of Omicron” and warned that two vaccine doses “are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need”.
He stressed that scientists are “confident” that, with a booster dose, “we can all bring our level of protection back up”.
The UK’s booster vaccination drive is now being accelerated in a bid to boost immunity levels this winter, with the deadline for offering a top-up dose to all adults in England now set for 31 December - a month sooner than originally planned.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland will match the aim of offering boosters to all eligible adults before 2022, while Welsh leader Mark Drakeford encouraged people to make having a top-up jab a priority.