The Government “will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports” to gain access to nightclubs and other crowded venues, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said.

Vaccine passports will be introduced in Scotland for entry into venues with large crowds from 1 October, but the UK Health Secretary told the BBC that the scheme would not go ahead in England.

It had been speculated that the plan would be introduced at the end of this month in England which would require members of the public to show proof they have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in order to gain entry to clubs and other crowded events.

Javid told The Andrew Marr Show: “I’ve never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity, but we were right to properly look at it.

“We’ve looked at it properly and whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.”

“With the vaccination rates rising – for example with 16 and 17-year-olds we only started just last month, now over 50% of 16 and 17-year-olds are already vaccinated – I think we need to take that into account and make a final decision, but I hope we can avoid it.”

He added: “I am not here today to rule that out. We haven’t made a final decision as a Government.”

The UK Health Secretary also confirmed that measures would be looked at - but that restrictions would not be rolled out for the sake of it.

He said: “There’s a lot of defences – we’ve just gone through some of them – that we need to keep in place, because this virus hasn’t gone anywhere. There’s still a pandemic so of course we need to remain cautious.

“But we just shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it or because others are doing, and we should look at every possible intervention properly.

“So you asked about vaccine passports, so I think it’s fair to say, I think most people probably instinctively don’t like the idea, I mean I’ve never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers or something to do, you know, what is just an everyday activity, but we were right to properly look at it, to look at the evidence."

The announcement came shortly after the minister had appeared on Sky News and told host Trevor Phillips a final decision had yet to be made.

Asked about the policy, Mr Javid had said: “We have been looking at that. We’ve been open about that. Instinctively I don’t like the idea at all of people having to, let’s say, present papers to do basic things.

“So if we do that, it has to be something that is looked at very carefully and something that we believe that has to be done with no alternative."

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi faced a fierce backlash when he defended the policy in the Commons on Wednesday, with Tory MPs accusing the Government of picking an “unnecessary fight” with them.

He said: “It is not something… we do lightly, it is something to allow us to transition this virus from pandemic to endemic status.”

Speaking about the recovery of the NHS waiting lists after coronavirus, the Health Secretary told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I’ve had a couple of months now reviewing NHS targets, and I’ve got to say looking at the targets that have been set under successive governments, long before we had Covid, some of them are wrong, they’re just nonsense.

“We need a proper review of targets because it’s the act of a lazy politician just to set some target that gives them a good short-term headline, that actually leads to the NHS going backwards and not looking after patients. I’d rather have clinicians doing their clinical work helping patients rather than sitting there filling in forms all day.”

The Prime Minister is set to host a press conference next week, as a decision is expected on how to roll out a booster jab programme.

Mr Johnson is expected to say that vaccines will continue to be the first line of defence over the autumn and winter, a high-risk time for coronavirus as other respiratory illnesses circulate.

The decision means Covid measures in England again deviate from those in Scotland, where a motion on their introduction was passed in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, while a decision is expected in Wales next week.

Stormont ministers have yet to reach an official position on using vaccine access passports within Northern Ireland.

Responding to the announcement that the Government would not go ahead with plans to introduce vaccine passports, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: “This is a victory for the Liberal Democrats and all those campaigners who stood up for our civil liberties against these deeply illiberal and unworkable plans.

“The Conservatives have needlessly sown confusion among businesses for months by threatening to introduce Covid passports, and will not be forgiven for it.

“After this inevitable U-turn, the Conservatives must now see sense and scrap the unnecessary and draconian Coronavirus Act altogether.”