Covid: Public Health England data estimates the vaccination programme 'in England alone has prevented 52,600 hospitalisations'

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi addressing the House of Commons
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi addressing the House of Commons

The vaccines minister also laid out plans for a UK-wide 'NHS Covid pass'.

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Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said Public Health England data estimates the vaccination programme “in England alone has prevented 52,600 hospitalisations”, telling MPs: “A fitting example of the protective wall that our vaccination programme has given us – a wall that is getting stronger every day.”

Mr Zahawi went on to defend proposals to introduce Covid-19 vaccine passports for nightclubs and other venues from the end of September, adding: “This is not a step we take lightly.

“But all throughout this pandemic – just like governments all across the world, whether it’s Singapore or Australia or Germany and France – we’ve had to adapt our approach to meet the threats of this deadly virus, and this is no different.

“We will always keep these measures – like all our measures – under review with the goal of returning to the freedoms that we love and cherish.”

Mr Zahawi said “34% of people aged 18 to 29 have not had either dose” of the vaccine and urged people to come forward.

The vaccines minister also laid out plans for a UK-wide “NHS Covid pass”.

Nadhim Zahawi said the certificate of health status would be available via the NHS app, the NHS website or by asking for a written document.

The minister told the Commons: “This week, after a successful trial, we have rolled out the NHS Covid pass. This allows people safely and securely to demonstrate their Covid status, whether it is proof of vaccination status, test results, or natural immunity.

“People will also be able to demonstrate proof of a negative test result. Although we don’t encourage its use in essential settings like supermarkets, other businesses and organisations in England can adopt the pass as a means of entry where it is suitable for their venue or premises when they can see its potential to keep their clients or their customers safe.

“For proprietors of venues and events where large numbers are likely to gather and likely to mix with people from outside their households for prolonged periods, deploying the pass is the right thing to do.”

He added: “The pass has an important role to play in slowing the spread of the virus and so we reserve the right to mandate its use in the future.”

A total of 259,265 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England at least once in the week to July 14, up 33% on the previous week, according to the latest Test and Trace figures.

It is the highest number since the week to January 20.