Plans to introduce vaccine passports for access into nightclubs and large events in England will not go ahead, the health secretary has said.
Sajid Javid told the BBC: “We shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it.”
He said the government had looked at the evidence, adding: “I’m pleased to say we will not be going ahead.”
It was thought the plan, which came under criticism from venues and some MPs, would be introduced at the end of this month.
No 10 stressed it would be kept “in reserve” should it be needed over autumn or winter.
Under the scheme, people would have been required to show proof – whether of double vaccination, a negative Covid test or finishing self-isolating after a positive PCR test – in order to gain entry to clubs and other crowded events.
The Night Time Industries Association warned the plans could have crippled the industry and seen nightclubs facing discrimination cases.
The industry body has since welcomed the move, saying it hoped businesses could now plan with some certainty and start to rebuild the sector and regain customers’ confidence.
The Music Venue Trust, which aims to protect grassroots venues, also welcomed the announcement, describing vaccine passports as “problematic”.
There was opposition too from Tory MPs on the Covid Recovery Group and the Liberal Democrats, whose leader Ed Davey called them “divisive, unworkable and expensive”.
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, Mr Javid said: “We just shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it or because others are doing, and we should look at every possible intervention properly.
“I’ve never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity, but we were right to properly look at it.
“We’ve looked at it properly and, whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.”
Asked if the government was “running scared” on the policy after criticism from its own backbenchers, Mr Javid rejected this, saying vaccine passports were not needed because of other things in the “wall of defence” including high vaccine uptake, testing, surveillance and new treatments.