His spokesperson has not ruled out their use for activities like shopping, saying they “could have an important role to play both domestically and internationally, in terms of allowing people to move back to something more close to normal”.

However, the Labour opposition and at least 41 of Johnson’s own MPs say requiring a person to show proof of vaccination to conduct regular activities like go to the shops would be “un-British”.

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Steve Baker, the influential Conservative backbencher leading the fight against vaccine passports, said such a scheme would make Britain “unrecognisable” as well as discriminate against those unable to be vaccinated, including pregnant women and the disabled.

“After the toll families and friends have paid all over the country in the face of COVID, and after enduring the devastating cycle of lockdowns and restrictions, the last thing we should do is allow COVID to have the victory of changing our country forever into the miserable dystopia of Checkpoint Britain,” Baker said.

The issue is also dividing Americans. Some Republicans are strongly opposed to what has been dubbed “corporate communism”, while some Democrats are backing them as a tool to enable the resumption of mass gatherings. New York was the first state to officially launch a vaccine passport app, while Texas and Florida have banned them.

The Biden administration has not endorsed a national vaccine passport and said it will be a matter for the states.

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