THE UK Government is working on ‘vaccine passports’ which could allow British tourists to head off on summer holidays abroad in a matter of months, it was claimed today.
The Department for Transport, the Foreign Office and the Department of Health are all said to be developing options for some kind of vaccine certificate.
The work is taking place now so the UK will be ready should other countries demand proof of vaccination as a condition of granting quarantine-free entry.
It came amid speculation that Greece is preparing to waive quarantine rules for Brits who can prove that they have had the jab.
Tourism officials told The Times that British tourists could be allowed to head to Greece as soon as May.
That would represent a massive lifeline to the country’s ailing tourism industry which welcomes two million Brits every year.
The speed of the UK’s vaccine roll-out has boosted hopes of a return to holidays abroad in the second half of 2021.
The Government is aiming to have vaccinated the most vulnerable groups in society by the middle of this month amid speculation that all UK adults could then have been offered a jab by May.
Plans for a certification system for tourists to prove they are protected against Covid-19 are reportedly underway.
Several European countries including Greece, Spain, Malta and Denmark have already signalled support for such a plan.
Health officials had previously dismissed vaccination passports given the lack of evidence that coronavirus vaccines prevented transmission, as well as reduce serious illness.
But enthusiasm for the vaccine document has reignited after recent studies have shown that Covid-19 jabs do cut transmission.
British tourists could be allowed into Greece from May if they can provide evidence of inoculation, tourism officials said.
Grigoris Tasios, president of the Greek Hoteliers Federation, told The Times: ‘With the rate of inoculations in the UK largely outpacing all others across Europe and beyond, British travellers will be among the safest to travel here by as early as May.’
The two million Britons who visit Greece every year contribute roughly £9billion to the country’s economy.
Denmark is also planning to bring in vaccine passports by the end of this month to revive business travel.
Tony Blair, an advisor to the government on Covid-19, last week called for the roll-out of vaccine passports.
His organisation said the documents are the ‘only way to navigate allowing people to travel internationally again.’