The UK’s newly appointed vaccine minister, Nadhim Zahawi, has suggested that people will have to show they’ve received the Covid vaccine if they wish to return to normal life and the resumption of social activities.

Zahawi was asked by the BBC on Monday if it will become virtually impossible to do anything without the vaccine, and the minister responded that people should expect pressure from service providers to demonstrate that they have been vaccinated. 

He suggested that people who refuse to get vaccinated could face continued restrictions, potentially preventing them from attending bars, cinemas, restaurants and sports venues if they cannot provide proof down the line that they have been inoculated against the coronavirus.

However, Zahawi, whose new role will see him oversee the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine in the UK, made clear that getting vaccinated will be voluntary – although he strongly encouraged it, as he believes it will be good for the community and the country if people receive the jab.

Baroness Harding, who is responsible for the existing NHS Test and Trace app service, recently told her team that it may be turned into a kind of ‘Covid-19 passport’ that displays people’s inoculation status. 

The Department for Transport is also reportedly considering stamping the actual passports of individuals who have been vaccinated to show they are safe to travel, avoiding delays and border crossing issues when international travel picks up again next year. 

The discussion around the vaccine comes on the day that Moderna formally filed for US and European emergency regulatory approval, so it can begin distributing its vaccine, after studies showed it was more than 94 percent effective at protecting people. 

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