"We shouldn't be doing things for the sake of it", told Sajid Javid.
He said the government had looked at the evidence, adding: "I'm pleased to say we will not be going ahead."
It was thought the plan, which came under criticism from venues and some MPs, would be introduced at the end of this month.
Official stressed it would be kept "in reserve" should it be needed over autumn or winter.
Under the scheme, people would have been required to show proof - whether of double vaccination, a negative Covid test or finishing self-isolating after a positive PCR test - in order to gain entry to clubs and other crowded events.
Asked if the government was "running scared" on the policy after criticism from its own backbenchers, Mr Javid rejected this, saying vaccine passports were not needed because of other things in the "wall of defence" including high vaccine uptake, testing, surveillance and new treatments.
On Sunday, the latest government figures showed there were 29,173 new cases of coronavirus in the UK and 56 further deaths, of people who had tested positive within the previous 28 days.