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June 6, 2021

Tony Blair has called for people vaccinated against coronavirus to be allowed greater freedom than the un-vaccinated both in the UK and when travelling abroad.

The former prime minister said discriminating between the two would mean fewer restrictions both at home and abroad and provide “a powerful incentive” to get a jab.

He also criticised the current NHS app that proves vaccination status as "inadequate", as he promoted a report published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

Mr Blair said: "It is time to distinguish for the purposes of freedom from restriction between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, both for citizens here for domestic purposes; but also for our citizens and those from other countries in respect of travel on the basis that being vaccinated substantially reduces risk.

"It therefore makes no sense at all to treat those who have had vaccination as the same as those who haven't."

The report argues that health passes, for use both at home and in foreign countries, would enable the UK to “sustainably reopen the economy” by removing certain restrictions for the fully vaccinated.

It adds: “For as long as the world goes largely unvaccinated and the risk of a new variant remains significant, it’s vital that we have an alternative to the blunt tool of lockdowns to enable the country to live freely and safely.”

Mr Blair supported the report’s call for health passes "to allow citizens to prove their status in a secure, privacy-preserving way" and for a simpler and more effective NHS vaccination app.

He added: "Of course we are discriminating between vaccinated and unvaccinated. But the whole of risk management is based on discriminating between different types and levels of risk.

"Nothing matters more to risk than vaccination, which is precisely why we're doing it.

"Yes, by allowing greater freedom and fewer restrictions to the vaccinated we're providing a powerful incentive to take up vaccination, but this is a perfectly valid public policy objective.

"Other than for medical reasons, people should be vaccinated."

Mr Blair's latest intervention was dismissed by the government, with a senior source commenting: "Once again Mr Blair appears to have learned of things already in the pipeline with the NHS app and decided to publicly call for them. Nonetheless we thank him for his continued support."