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Monday, January 25, 2021

January 25, 2021

At least eight companies have been awarded government grants to develop vaccination passport schemes, it has been reported.

The projects, worth a total of £450,000, could allow users to securely carry digital proof that they have received an approved Covid-19 vaccine.

It is hoped such a scheme would help get people back to work and also allow for the reopening of international travel.

More than 478,000 people were vaccinated on Friday, bringing the total number of people given first doses across the UK to 5.8million.

In documents from the innovation agency InnovateUK, at least half a million pounds has been allocated to projects for the trialling of vaccination passports that would verify and securely store a digital certificate to prove someone has been given a vaccine.

The government has however this morning denied that such a scheme is being considered, and cabinet minister Michael Gove has said they are 'not the plan'.

But ministers have contradicted each other on the issue, including Boris Johnson's vaccine tsar Nadhim Zahawi who said they were 'looking at the technology'.

Mr Zahawi later told a Westminster Hall debate on Covid-19 inoculation there were 'absolutely no plans for vaccine passporting' and said 'mandating vaccinations is discriminatory and completely wrong'.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week also denied plans to implement passporting, telling the Spectator: 'It's not an area that we're looking at.'

But in InnovateUK filings seen by The Telegraph, eight different projects have so far been given grants to develop vaccine passport schemes.

One of the recipient projects is led by Enduring Net, which is working on a £49,678 decentralised system that can digitally provide 'proofs of individuals' Covid-19 credentials', which will include proof of vaccination.

Another project, worked on collaboratively by firms Mvine and iProov, was given £75,000 for a passport which would be issued in the form of a free app so users could digitally prove they have received a jab.

EAS Technologies' project was given £173,876 to develop an accreditation platform that hopes to be used by organisers of the 'world's largest sporting organisations, events, and facilities'.

A short description on the funding page suggests the project will be used for proving staff and contractors at events have been vaccinated, but could also provide a 'track and trace' system for those attending the events.

It is believed the projects will look at different areas of society such as healthcare settings and public spaces and how passport schemes could help remove the potential danger of unvaccinated people coming into contact.

The scheme is being considered by many countries, including Cyprus and the Seychelles, who hope their use would open up society for people who have received a jab.

Meanwhile airline Qantas and over-50s travel company Saga have suggested that people wanting to travel with them in future will have to have taken a Covid-19 vaccine before they embark.

This weekend, the Department of Health and Social Care said: 'As with other vaccination programmes, a vaccine record card will be issued to patients with the relevant details about the vaccine, including the date of their vaccination and their vaccine type.

'But this card is not an immunity passport and cannot be used as a form of identification.'


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