Support for Covid passports grows

Should we all be obliged to carry a vaccine passport?

Just don’t make us show it at the pub

The battle against Covid-19 is not and will not be won; coronavirus is here to stay. But with NHS staff working tirelessly in rolling out vaccinations across the nation, the possibility of overseas travel in the foreseeable future has again become a reality. Many nations are keen to reopen their borders, particularly to holiday makers, with Cyprus stating that it will be open to UK tourists who have had both Covid jabs from May.

Other nations, especially those with economies largely dependent on the tourist industry, will be anxious to follow suit, and when borders do begin to reopen most countries will want an assurance that visitors are Covid-free. But how far should that go? Is a Covid test before going abroad enough or should we all be obliged to carry a vaccine passport? In the UK, anyone who has a jab receives a vaccination card with the details added to their medical records. But the UK is among a number of countries considering implementing more formal proof – in other words, a vaccine passport.

In the UK it could potentially be added to the NHS app, which would enable people to use their phones to prove they have been vaccinated or had a recent negative test. Some countries have already begun the process, with Denmark and Sweden developing vaccine passports and Greece confirming it will admit visitors from Israel who can prove their Covid-free status with Israel’s “green” digital vaccine certificate.

It all sounds relatively simple, and many would say sensible, but not everyone sees it that way. A petition requesting the Government not to introduce vaccination passports has raised more than 200,000 signatures, and while there is no legal obligation to have the jab, rows continue over whether employers can insist their employees be vaccinated. Pregnant women are not generally recommended to have it unless they are at particular risk, and it isn’t suitable for those with certain health conditions, including some allergies and immune system problems.

Vaccine passport critics point out the possibility of legal and ethical issues, with even vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi expressing concerns that making such a document obligatory may be discriminatory. And for some it’s not just about foreign travel. They fear a vaccination passport could also mean having to show it in the UK before entering places like pubs and sports stadiums.

What our surveys show

Anumber of surveys including our own have shown there is growing support for the idea of having a vaccine passport for overseas travel. Our survey showed a strong 67% answering “Yes”. Support was especially strong amongst the older age groups, but significantly less so amongst the young. Just 23% in total were against the scheme and a further 10% said they don’t know. When it came to getting a jab to get a job, opinion was split almost precisely down the middle.

The numbers saying “Yes”, we should have to prove our vaccination status in the workplace, totalled 46% while 45% said “No” and 9% were undecided on the issue. However, when it came to having to prove our vaccination status simply to visit the pub or go to a restaurant, the response against was pretty emphatic with 74% giving a firm “No”. Just 22% were in favour and 4% were “Don’t knows”.

And on this question, there was again a strong generational difference within the majority answer group. The youngest, the Z Geners, were 91% anti, whilst in the oldest, the Traditionals, the figure was 46%.

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