Thank you for contacting me about COVID-status certification and vaccine passports.
This is an issue for those who believe that they should not be impeded in their lawful and daily business for certification proof. Equally, those who feel it will help to improve footfall for business, keep people safe and help the resilience of the health service, have a very different view.
I fully appreciate the arguments for, and against, the use of COVID-status certification. If it comes to it then I will consider the merits and the language in the draft legislation before committing my own vote. If you want an idea of how I arrive at my vote then this article may help (where I explain why I voted for one motion and voted against the other).
To give you a little more insight into my current thoughts, I tend to find myself instinctively on the side of those who wish to go about their business without further verification. I do value our freedoms. The state already has much control over our activities.
However, I also value the freedom from lockdowns which keeps businesses open and people in jobs. I also want to see more take-up of the vaccination. It’s alarming that those who could be vaccinated but will not, are causing those, who have done the right thing, to have routine hospital treatment blocked and further lockdowns hanging over us because they are being hospitalised by COVID. This strikes me as more impactful to freedom than showing a piece of paper, or an app, with a pass in certain venues. As I have found at the airport, it is not a massive effort for me to have to show my app or paper confirmation to proceed.
I have had a look at the Government’s latest view and it is typed out for you below. As you will see, the Government are not ruling vaccine passports out entirely but are not at the stage of introduction. It would not surprise me if we need to get the booster uptake increased in order to keep efficacy levels up from this new variant of concern if the position changes. We are currently awaiting the evidence from the vaccine manufacturers.
- The Government has been working with organisations to encourage voluntary use of the NHS COVID Pass.
- The NHS COVID Pass has provided a way for individuals to prove vaccination status, natural immunity from Covid-19 or a negative test result. Over 200 events and venues have already used the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry including at Premier League matches, Reading and Leeds Festivals and the BBC Proms.
- Considering the latest data, the mandatory use of the NHS COVID Pass will not be introduced at this point.
- That being said, it would be sensible not to rule out mandatory use in the future.
- We could see the introduction of mandatory vaccine-only COVID-status certification, as one of a range of Plan B measures, if the data suggests that action is required to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- Mandatory use of the NHS COVID Pass would also only apply in certain settings, such as nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.
- The Government would seek to provide businesses with at least one week’s notice before imposing mandatory certification and exemptions from the NHS COVID Pass would apply to people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, to those on COVID vaccine trials and to those under the age of 18.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I’m aware that feelings are strong on this issue but I very much hope you will also consider the opposing arguments to the matter.