Cinemas are trialling ‘vaccine passport’ technology - but will the scheme go ahead?

Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 2:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 2:42 pm

You may need to demonstrate that you have received a Covid-19 vaccination in order to go to the cinema once they reopen.

A firm involved in developing the technology necessary for a so-called ‘vaccine passport’ scheme has revealed that it has made an agreement with a UK theatre and cinema complex.

While there has been no confirmation yet from the Government on whether there will be a standardised Covid vaccine passport scheme, a number of trials are underway to check the technological viability. Questions still remain over the legality of such a scheme being implemented on a large scale.

The cinema industry, along with other parts of the hospitality sector such as nightclubs and bars, are likely to be among the last to reopen, due to the continuing need for social distancing measures for the foreseeable future.

David Chadwick, of Verifiable Credentials, told the Telegraph that his firm has agreed a deal with a cinema company to trial a vaccine passport scheme. He stressed that the trial is, at this stage, looking at the technical feasibility of the scheme, rather than whether it is legally or commercially workable.

How would a vaccine passport for the cinema work?

The vaccine passport scheme would mean that only people who had received a Covid vaccination would be able to attend the cinema, if the trial is successful.

Anyone who had been vaccinated and wished to attend would purchase a film ticket online. This ticket would then be paired with an electronic certificate, created by Verifiable Credentials and checked against NHS records, to generate a QR code. The QR code would then grant access to the cinema.

Will vaccine passports be mandatory?

While a number of firms are trialling vaccine passports, with some having received grants from the Government to develop them, it is not yet clear whether they will become commonplace.

Government ministers have expressed differing opinions on the viability of vaccine passports, with Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi describing them as “potentially discriminatory” earlier this month.

However, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said that the Government is looking at the possibility of using them to allow people entry into shops, pubs and restaurants.