DOWNING Street has said that vaccine passports are still being considered as an option to protect against a winter wave of Covid cases, despite Sajid Javid saying they were scrapped.

Checks on the vaccine status of people attending nightclubs and other crowded events remain a crucial part of the UK Government's winter Covid plan after the English Health Secretary told the media that they were being scrapped on Sunday.

Plans had been in place for the scheme to go ahead at the end of this month, but Javid rolled back the introduction after pressure from Tory MPs and the hospitality sector.

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Appearing on the Andrew Marr show, Javid said that he did not like the idea of telling people they had to "show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity" but told the programme that he was "pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports".

Now, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that ministers will avoid introducing them "if we possibly can” and said that they will be kept "in reserve".

The National:

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Vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi (above) faced a fierce backlash from Tory MPs on Wednesday as he defended the policy in the House of Commons, arguing vaccine passports had to be introduced to minimise disruption and avoid closures.

Johnson has insisted that Javid and Zahawi are “both right”.

It comes as the Prime Minister is expected to give an update on the UK Government's Covid winter plans tomorrow (September 14) with lockdowns being a "last resort".

Susan Michie, director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at University College London and a member of the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) was critical of the constantly changing advice from UK ministers.

“We’ve had this all the way along, where different ministers say different things, or they say one thing and do another, and all of this undermines trust,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Parliament approved plans to bring in such a scheme in Scotland which is scheduled to come into force from October 1.

SNP and Green MSPs voted in favour of the plans on Thursday but they were not backed by any opposition parties.

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The Scottish plan will apply to people over the age of 18 using nightclubs and those attending unseated indoor live events with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor live events with more than 4000 people and all events where there are more than 10,000 people.

Businesses will be legally required to ensure compliance and only those with medical exemptions and venue staff will be able to enter without showing certificates. Anyone found using forged documentation may face prosecution.

Covid Recovery Secretary John Swinney (below) said that there are no immediate plans to introduce vaccine certificates for access to cafes and restaurants, but they are being rolled out in a limited number of circumstances.

The National:

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“I think that’s a key critical point in relation to the civil liberties issue,” John Swinney told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He said: “There will be no question that vaccine certificates will be applicable to any public services whatsoever, under any circumstances.

“So what we’re talking about is a scheme that would be across a limited number of sectors. Nightclub access and some larger gatherings would have to involve vaccine certification.”

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Swinney added that talks are under way with the affected sectors to put the scheme in place efficiently.

He said: “We’re now going through a process of dialogue with a range of key affected sectors to make sure we can take the practical steps to implementation, which we want to put in place by October 1 to give us another measure to help us to deal with the challenges that the virus is posing to us.”