Thousands of Brits who have been given Covid jab will be 'offered vaccine passport' in new trial
THOUSANDS of Brits will be "offered a vaccine passport" after getting their coronavirus jab in a new trial.
The passport, created by biometrics firm iProov and cybersecurity firm Mvine, will be issued as a free app so people can prove digitally if they have had their Covid vaccine.
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Despite the Department of Health denying that there were plans for a coronavirus vaccine passport, Innovate UK, the Government's science research funding agency, has given £75,000 to the project.
The plan was initially to demonstrate test results – but after receiving more funding, bosses made the switch to developing vaccine passports.
Now, the trial is set to last until March and will be overseen by two directors of public health in local authorities.
It is expected to show how the passports can be used to help the NHS keep track of the number of Brits that have received their first or second jab.
iProov boss Andrew Bud told the Telegraph: "We're talking about a piece of remarkable technology that can be brought to bear and can be readily integrated with the NHS."
Both iProov and Mvine said that if the trial is successful, the vaccine passports could be rolled out to millions of people in Britain.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "As large numbers of people from at risk groups are vaccinated, we will be able to gather the evidence to prove the impact on infection rates, hospitalisation and reduced deaths.
"If successful, this should in time lead to a reassessment of current restrictions."
But Covid vaccine passports could be the key to letting Brits holiday across the world this year.
Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis told EU chiefs there needs to be a “common understanding” on vaccine passports to help kick start travel this summer.
Although he stopped short of saying they should be made mandatory for travel he said a formal vaccine certificate would encourage people to get the jab.
PASSPORT TO FREEDOM
In December, the Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi ruled out the immunity passports a week after suggesting it was something ministers were considering.
He said: “We are not looking at immunity passports at all.”
Matt Hancock also denied plans to implement passporting last week, telling the Spectator: "It's not an area that we're looking at."
There was also speculation that Brits could be given special 'freedom passes' to allow them to live a relatively normal life – if they have two negative Covid tests in a week.
Meanwhile, latest figures reveal the UK has given 10 times more jabs than many of its European neighbours after the government kick-started Covid vaccinations last month.
More than 2.6 million people – almost four per cent of the UK population – had received a jab as of today.
And ministers have now vowed to give everyone over 50 a Covid jab before May.
The ambitious timetable, promised by ministers on Sunday night, could mean that 32 million Brits are vaccinated within 16 weeks.
It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed the Government's vaccine plan to allow us to have a "great British summer" by jabbing as many people as possible.
A huge NHS operation has seen seven mass vaccination hubs open across the country this week, supported by hundreds more GP surgeries, hospital hubs and pharmacy-led sites.
Meanwhile, there has been a clampdown on Covid flouters – with three men being fined £200 each for travelling from 100 miles apart to meet for "exercise" – at McDonald's.
Police spotted the smashed up Mercedes in the drive-thru in Chesterfield, Derbyshire – and after speaking to the three men inside, cops realised they were all from different parts of the country.
This comes as the daily Covid deaths today jumped by more than 1,000 again as cases rose by a further 45,533.
The total number of people who have died from the disease now stands at 83,203 as a mutant strain continues to rampage across the country.
The total number of infections is now 3,164,051 after 45,533 more tested positive.
This is lower than yesterday when 46,169 more cases were reported but today's death toll of 1,243 is higher than the 529 recorded.
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