U.K. authorities are pushing back against reports that coronavirus vaccine cards will be used as “vaccine passports,” or identification required for entry into certain businesses.
Public Health England took to Twitter to amplify the correction, writing: “Patients who get the #COVID19 vaccine will be given a vaccine record card. The card notes details about the patient’s jab, and their appointment date for the second dose.”
“Similar cards are given out for other NHS vaccinations. The card is not intended for any other purpose,” the agency continued.
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Public Health England shared a Tweet from Full Fact, a London-based independent fact-checking charity, which wrote: “The new NHS card cannot prove you have been vaccinated as it doesn’t have any personally identifying details.”
Messaging on the card advises recipients to carry it along in purses and wallets as a reminder for coronavirus vaccination. The vaccines, which were administered to the first, most vulnerable, participants in the U.K. on Tuesday morning, require two doses, about three weeks apart.
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The back of the vaccine card allots space for the patient’s name, vaccine name, batch number and date the vaccine was given, as well as the second appointment date.
The government in Wales previously announced similar cards: “Those receiving a COVID-19 vaccination will be given a credit card-sized NHS Wales immunization card, which will have the vaccine name, date of immunization and batch number of each of the doses given handwritten on them,” read’s the government’s webpage.
“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.”
A Sky News reporter referred to the cards as a “vaccine passport” during an interview with Foreign Office minister James Cleverly. The reporter repeatedly sought clarification, asking Cleverly: “What is it if it’s not a passport?”
“It’s about unlocking people’s lives, it’s about unlocking the economy, it’s about making sure we protect lives and protect livelihoods,” Cleverly said.
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Michael Gove, U.K. Cabinet Office minister, elaborated on the vaccine cards to Sky News on Tuesday, per reports.
“No, that’s not being planned,” Gove said. “I certainly am not planning to introduce any vaccine passports and I don’t know anyone else in government [who is].”
Further, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the outlet: “They [vaccine recipients] don’t need to carry those at all. They are standard NHS reminder cards because you have to have the second dose obviously…”
The news follows comments made late last month by Nadhim Zahawi, health minister overseeing Britain’s vaccine rollout, when he suggested venues like bars and restaurants may require proof of vaccination upon entry.
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