FIRST minister Mark Drakeford has said he’s been lectured by UK Government ministers on the need for vaccine passports – a proposal UK health secretary Sajid Javid dropped this week. 

The Welsh Government is due to announce any plans it has for vaccine passports, which the first minister refers to a “vaccine certification” this Friday. Last week the Scottish Government announced it will require people to show proof of vaccination to attend large events or venues such as nightclubs from October. 

The UK Government, which announced a proposal for vaccine passports in England back in the summer, has now dropped its plans – with health secretary Mr Javid announcing on the Sunday morning news programmes he didn’t want to demand people “show their papers”. 

First minister Mr Drakeford has said vaccine passports shouldn’t be required to access essential services but has said there may be a case for requiring them for some settings which people attend out of choice. 

READ MORE: What now for Welsh vaccine passports after England U-turn?

In the Senedd today the Labour leader was questioned about his previously stated opposition to vaccine passports by Conservative group leader Andrew RT Davies. 

The South Wales Central MS asked the first minister if comments he made stating he opposed vaccine passports, on July 13, were guiding this week’s cabinet discussions on the potential of them being introduced in Wales. 

The first minister, who said he is always sceptical about putting “barriers” in the way of people living their lives,  then said he’d been “lectured” by UK ministers who he claimed had sought to ignore concerns over how, when and if they should be used. 

Mr Drakeford: “We’ve not been helped by the position of the UK Government on this. I have lost count of the number of meetings I have sat through, with UK ministers, in which they have lectured me about the necessity of vaccine certification.  

“And when I have raised with them the ethical, legal and practical issues that need to be resolved I’ve generally been treated as those were details that ought not to get in the way of this necessary course of action. 

“As late as the end of last week we were being told by UK ministers that they would be going ahead with vaccine certification in England and if I was in the leader of the opposition’s position I would probably wait to hear what they actually say on that matter today in case there is yet another change in their position since the weekend. 

“Here in Wales we will not make a decision on the basis of what is convenient for the Conservative Party and the various factions that exist within it. We will continue to weigh up the public health benefits against the very real concerns that there are with vaccine certification then we will come to the best decision we are able to make.” 

READ MORE: Covid vaccines offered to all 12-15-year-olds from next week

Mr RT Davies said the Welsh Conservatives had been consistent in their opposition to vaccine passports and wanted to know what the first minister’s position on them as he leads the cabinet debates. 

Boris Johnson has said coronavirus vaccine passports would have been a “game changer” for businesses last year, and insisted they must remain “an important part of our repertoire”. 

The prime minister abandoned plans to make vaccinations mandatory for entry to crowded places later this month, but has warned venues they could be imposed if the situation worsens. 

This is despite England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty arguing on Tuesday that people would be far “safer” going to venues where everyone is vaccinated and would reduce the chances of superspreading events.

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Mr Johnson accepted that the use of Covid-19 passes, which demonstrate vaccination, negative test results or having overcome a recent infection, could have saved businesses last autumn. 

He told a Downing Street press conference: “If you think a year ago, where we were last September, can you imagine if we’d had then… if we’d had Covid certification? 

“We would have been able, with that tool, to keep open businesses that had been forced to close and were going through an absolute wretched time. They would’ve been a game changer, a lifesaver, last year. 

“So I think they’re an important part of our repertoire.” 

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