Recently, health secretary Sajid Javid stated clear plans to scrap the idea of a vaccine passport in England – for now. Is this a good or a bad idea? And how will this decision affect you? Let’s take a look.
What is a vaccine passport?
We often associate passports with travelling abroad, but this one is slightly different. The idea of a vaccine passport is that you would use it domestically to prove your health status.
If the scheme were to be introduced, it would mean you may have to show vaccine records in order to gain access to certain venues and events. The other options would be using a negative PCR test or proof of recovery following a positive result.
What are the benefits of using something like this?
The basic idea is to prevent or at least slow down the spread of the virus at large events where lots of people will be sharing the same space. Introducing a scheme like this might make people feel more comfortable about attending events with big crowds or even having a boogie in a nightclub!
It’s basically an extra measure to add a layer of protection as life gets closer to normal for all of us.
What are the drawbacks of a vaccine passport?
It may sound like a simple idea, but it could mean a lot of new costs for businesses enforcing the rules and checking everyone’s status.
I’m sure at some point you’ve been stuck in a massive queue waiting to get into an event, concert or nightclub. Now imagine every single person needing to have their health records verified at the door. It would be a logistical nightmare and may put a lot of people off the idea of attending events.
Creating another barrier to normality could result in the continued slowing of the UK economy, which would be bad for businesses. The events industry was one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Understandably, many companies don’t want more obstacles stopping them from making money and paying their staff.
Why are vaccine passport plans no longer going ahead?
Sajid Javid’s reasoning was that there’s no point introducing a measure like this just for the sake of it.
This is somewhat of a U-turn on previous statements. At one stage, it was claimed that vaccine passports were the only solution to save events and nightlife.
The government received fierce warnings and lobbying from the events industry about how a scheme like this could further cripple the sector. So, perhaps this industry pressure fed into the decision-making process.
How will this announcement affect me?
It’s likely that you already qualify for entry to venues and events as a result of:
- Taking a vaccine
- Receiving a negative PCR test
- Having proof of recovery after a positive test
So if you do attend an event in England, this announcement just means you won’t have to go through the process of showing proof of one of the above.
Will vaccine passports be considered at a later date?
This may not be the end of the road for the vaccine passport. The health secretary has made clear that the scheme will remain in the government’s back pocket. It could resurface in the event of worsening problems in the autumn or winter.
The situation outside of England varies. Northern Ireland has no plans for a similar scheme, and Wales has not yet decided whether to introduce a passport plan. In Scotland, people will need a vaccine passport to enter nightclubs and many large events from 1 October.
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