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STOP COVID PASSES

Divisive. Discriminatory. Wrong. We need YOU to join the fight against Covid passes.

EMAIL YOUR MLA

EMAIL YOUR MLA NOW

If you live in Northern Ireland, contact your MLAs NOW! A vote on Covid passes is expected within days.

Step 1: Find your MLAs' email address here and email them!

Step 2: Copy this email template

Step 3: Spread the word!

Increase your impact: Share this campaign with friends & family and ask them to email their MLAs.

EMAIL YOUR MP NOW

Step 1: Find your local MP's email address here and email them!

Step 2: Copy this email template

Step 3: Spread the word!

Increase your impact: Share this campaign with friends & family and ask them to email their MPs.

JOIN THE CHALLENGE AGAINST COVID PASSES

We are crowdfunding to grow the greatest possible fight against domestic COVID passes - and now we're bringing the first human rights legal challenge in the UK against COVID passes.

JOIN THE CHALLENGE - WE NEED YOU!

Your donations will build the biggest possible campaign to fight domestic COVID passes.

Together, we've pushed back COVID passes twice in England. Now, we're fighting to repeal mandatory COVID passes in Scotland, Wales and soon, Northern Ireland.

With your support we're leading a national campaign, lobbying parliaments, making the case all over the media and bringing legal action with an expert team of human rights lawyers.

Help us make history - join the fight today.

MPS LAUNCH CROSS-PARTY CAMPAIGN AGAINST COVID PASSES

To date, 11 rights groups, 16 peers and 83 MPs (44 Conservative, 25 Labour, 12 Lib Dems, 1 Green, 1 Ind) have joined the cross-party campaign to oppose COVID-status certificates. MPs and peers from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Conservative parties have signed a pledge: "We oppose the divisive and discriminatory use of COVID status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs."


If you are a parliamentarian or organisation and you wish to join the list please email info@bigbrotherwatch.org.uk

Name Party
Diane Abbott MP Labour
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP Labour
Tahir Ali MP Labour
Rebecca Long Bailey MP Labour
Clive Lewis MP Labour
Beth Winter MP Labour
Rachel Hopkins MP Labour
Apsana Begum MP Labour
Richard Burgon MP Labour
Ian Byrne MP Labour
Dawn Butler MP Labour
Mary Kelly Foy MP Labour
Ian Lavery MP Labour
Ian Mearns MP Labour
John McDonnell MP Labour
Grahame Morris MP Labour
Kate Osborne MP Labour
Zarah Sultana MP Labour
Claudia Webbe MP Labour
Mick Whitley MP Labour
Nadia Whittome MP Labour
Baroness Chakrabarti Labour
Baroness Bryan of Partick Labour
Lord Woodley Labour
Lord Sikka Labour
Lord Hendy Labour
Emma Lewell-Buck MP Labour
Kim Johnson MP Labour
Baroness Christine Blower Labour
Paula Barker MP Labour
Andrew Gwynne MP Labour
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Ed Davey MP Liberal Democrats
Layla Moran MP Liberal Democrats
Munira Wilson MP Liberal Democrats
Alistair Carmichael MP Liberal Democrats
Daisy Cooper MP Liberal Democrats
Wendy Chamberlain MP Liberal Democrats
Sarah Olney MP Liberal Democrats
Christine Jardine MP Liberal Democrats
Jamie Stone MP Liberal Democrats
Tim Farron MP Liberal Democrats
Wera Hobhouse MP Liberal Democrats
Sarah Green MP Liberal Democrats
Lord Scriven Liberal Democrats
Lord Strasburger Liberal Democrats
Lord Tyler Liberal Democrats
Lord Clement-Jones Liberal Democrats
Baroness Sarah Ludford Liberal Democrats
Baroness Brinton Liberal Democrats
Mark Harper MP Conservative Party
Steve Baker MP Conservative Party
Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP Conservative Party
Harriett Baldwin MP Conservative Party
Esther McVey MP Conservative Party
Adam Afriyie MP Conservative Party
Bob Blackman MP Conservative Party
Sir Graham Brady MP Conservative Party
Nus Ghani MP Conservative Party
Andrew Mitchell MP Conservative Party
Peter Bone MP Conservative Party
Ben Bradley MP Conservative Party
Andrew Bridgen MP Conservative Party
Paul Bristow MP Conservative Party
Philip Davies MP Conservative Party
Richard Drax MP Conservative Party
Jonathan Djanogly MP Conservative Party
Chris Green MP Conservative Party
Philip Hollobone MP Conservative Party
Adam Holloway MP Conservative Party
David Jones MP Conservative Party
Simon Jupp MP Conservative Party
Andrew Lewer MBE MP Conservative Party
Julian Lewis MP Conservative Party
Karl McCartney MP Conservative Party
Craig Mackinlay MP Conservative Party
Anthony Mangnall MP Conservative Party
Stephen McPartland MP Conservative Party
Anne Marie Morris MP Conservative Party
Sir John Redwood MP Conservative Party
Andrew Rosindell MP Conservative Party
Greg Smith MP Conservative Party
Henry Smith MP Conservative Party
Julian Sturdy MP Conservative Party
Sir Desmond Swayne MP Conservative Party
Sir Robert Syms MP Conservative Party
Craig Tracey MP Conservative Party
Jamie Wallis MP Conservative Party
David Warburton MP Conservative Party
William Wragg MP Conservative Party
Sir Charles Walker MP Conservative Party
David Davis MP Conservative Party
Simon Fell MP Conservative Party
Lord Moylan Conservative Party
Baroness Helena Morrissey Conservative Party
Pauline Latham OBE MP Conservative Party
Caroline Lucas MP Green Party
Baroness Jenny Jones Green Party
The Lord Bishop of St Albans (Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith)
Big Brother Watch
Liberty
Migrants Organise
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
medConfidential
Privacy International
Pregnant Then Screwed
Manifesto Club
The Runnymede Trust
Open Rights Group
Medact

As part of a wider movement of groups and businesses opposed to Covid passes, other efforts include Christian leaders against Covid passports and OPEN FOR ALL: Over 60 leading hospitality figures against Covid passes.

ACCESS DENIED
THE CASE AGAINST COVID CERTIFICATION

Click here to read the report


In light of the Government's review into whether COVID-status certificates should be used for segregation in the UK, we've launched a report detailing the case against making Britain a two-tier society.

#BoycottCovidPasses

We understand businesses have had a tough time, but fairness, rights and equality are more important than safety theatre. Covid passes make no one safer, but seriously harm rights and equality and are turning us into an exclusionary papers-carrying society. When businesses and events are open, they must be open safely and fairly for everyone. We’re writing to every business that denies entry, services or jobs to people based on their medical papers, to urge them to rethink.

If you know a business or event that demands Covid passes for entry, please email us.

Name Location Type Letter sent by BBW Status
The Glory London Nightclub 10/08/2021
Dalston Superstore London Nightclub 10/08/2021
Karaoke Hole London Nightclub 10/08/2021
VFD London Nightclub 10/08/2021
Gal Pals London/Brighton Nightclub 10/08/2021
Village Underground London Nightclub 10/08/2021
Big Dyke Energy London Nightclub 10/08/2021
Little Gay Brother London Nightclub 10/08/2021 Ceased use
Killing Kittens London Members club 13/10/2021
Fox Den Various clubs Members club 13/10/2021
Jamie HP Private Events Various clubs Members club 13/10/2021
Fabric London Nightclub 13/10/2021
Qantas N/A Travel
Saga N/A Travel 21/09/2021
P&O Cruises N/A Travel 21/09/2021
Pimlico Plumbers London Workplace
Bank of America London Workplace
Bloomsbury London Workplace
Betway Group London Workplace
Berkeley Group London Workplace
ASM Group of Venues Various locations Workplace
Reading & Leeds Festival Reading & Leeds Festival 04/08/21
Green Man Brecon Beacons Festival 04/08/2021
Wireless London Festival 04/08/21
All Points East London Festival
Latitude Suffolk Festival
FarmFest Somerset Festival
Wilderness Oxfordshire Festival 03/08/2021
Tramlines Sheffield Festival
Camp Bestival Dorset Festival
Beautiful Days Devon Festival 04/08/2021
Victorious Festival Portsmouth Festival 09/08/2021
Field Day London Festival 09/08/2021
Camp Wildfire London Festival 09/08/2021
Life Festival Brighton Festival 04/08/2021
The Big Feastival Oxfordshire Festival 12/08/2021
Mighty Hoopla London Festival 01/09/2021
HowTheLightGetsIn Brecknockshire Festival Ceased use
Henley Festival Henley-on-Thames Festival
Isle of Wight Festival Isle of Wight Festival
Rochester Castle Concerts Rochester Festival
Big Weekends (Butlins) Butlins Festival 13/10/21
Ambassadors Theatre Group London Theatre 11/08/2021
Delfont Mackintosh Theatres London Theatre 10/08/2021
LW Theatres London Theatre 11/08/2021
Harrogate Theatre Harrogate Theatre 02/09/2021
Liverpool Empire Theatre (ATG) Liverpool Theatre
Theatre Royal (ATG) Liverpool Theatre
Princess Theatre (ATG) Torquay Theatre
The Alexandra (ATG) Birmingham Theatre
ASM Venues Multiple Theatre
Baths Hall (ASM) Scunthorpe Theatre
Bridgewater Hall (ASM) Manchester Theatre
Playhouse Whitley Bay (ASM) Whitley Bay Theatre
The Plowright Theatre (ASM) Scunthorpe Theatre
York Barbican (ASM) York Theatre
Christ Hospital Theatre Horsham Theatre
Regent Theatre (ATG) Stoke on Trent Theatre
The Gardener's Arms Norwich Pub
Greengrass Campsite bar Yorkshire Pub
The New Bell Inn Harwich Pub
The Engine Shed Lincoln Music Venue 10/08/2021
Royal Albert Hall London Music Venue 10/08/2021
Utilita Arena Newcastle Music Venue 13/08/2021
NEC Group venues (Utilita Arena, Resorts World Arena) Birmingham Venue 13/08/2021
Glyndebourne Lewes Music Venue 15/09/2021
Troxy London Music Venue 20/09/2021
Manchester Academy Manchester Music Venue 20/09/2021
Scarborough Open Air Theatre Scarborough Venue 20/09/2021
Junction Cambridge Cambridge Music Venue 20/09/2021
Eventim Apollo Hammersmith Music Venue 02/11/2021
Brighton Dome Brighton Music Venue 09/11/2021
Alexandra Palace London Music Venue 02/11/2021
Scarborough Open Air Theatre Scarborough Venue 20/09/2021
Junction Cambridge Cambridge Venue 20/09/2021
02 Academies Nationwide Music Venue 11/08/2021
Liverpool Philharmonic Liverpool Music Venue 10/11/2021
Trading Boundaries Sussex Music Venue 02/11/2021
ASM Venues Multiple Music Venues 04/11/2021
First Direct Arena (ASM) Leeds Music Venues
AO Arena (ASM) Manchester Music Venues
Bonus Arena (ASM) Hull Music Venues
P&J Live (ASM) Aberdeen Music Venues
SSE Hydro Arena (ASM) Glasgow Music Venues
Utilita Arena (ASM) Newcastle Music Venues
SSE Arena Wembley (ASM) Wembley Music Venues
Horsham Folk Club Horsham Music Venues
Sofar Sounds London Music Venues
Printworks London Music Venues
Brighton Centre Brighton Music Venues
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club London Football Ground 04/08/2021
Premier League Nationwide Football League 04/08/2021
Brighton & Hove Albion FC Brighton Football Ground 14/10/2021
Chelsea FC London Football Ground 12/11/2021
Arsenal FC London Football Ground 12/11/2021
Aston Villa FC Birmingham Football Ground 12/11/2021
Brentford FC London Football Ground 12/11/2021
Everton FC Liverpool Football Ground 12/11/2021
Leicester City FC Leicester Football Ground 12/11/2021
Liverpool FC Liverpool Football Ground 12/11/2021
Manchester United FC Manchester Football Ground 12/11/2021
Wolverhampton Wanderers FC Wolverhampton Football Ground 12/11/2021
Hartpury University and College Gloucester Education 15/09/2021
The Bed Show Telford Expo 15/09/2021
Professional Beauty London London Expo 20/09/2021
Scoop/Pure, Hyve Group PLC London Expo
Top Drawer, Clarion Events London Expo
London Home Show London Expo
Olympia beauty show London Expo
Duxford Air Shows London Expo
Informa Event London Expo
Spring & Autumn Fair London Expo
MCM Comic Con London Expo
The Flavel Devon Cinema 04/11/2021

9 REASONS WHY COVID PASSES MUST BE STOPPED

1. UNNECESSARY

There is no evidence that covid passes will improve public health. The only parliamentary committee to analyse Covid passes in detail, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC), concluded that there is “no justification for them in the science and none in logic”.

A vaccine ID does not tell you that an individual does not have covid or cannot spread covid. Vaccination status primarily tells the individual about their own risk of illness from the virus.

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The availability of effective vaccines means that those most vulnerable to covid-19 are highly protected from serious illness. Over 90% of people aged over 16 years old across the four nations have received a first dose, and approximately 94% of the population has antibodies (ONS)

The available vaccines are not able to prevent infections or transmission of the virus - but data shows they are successfully cutting hospitalisations and deaths from the virus.

Therefore, during a wave of infections, transmission of the virus is highly likely in vaccinated-only environments. A paper by researchers at Oxford University found that peak viral load of the Delta strain of the virus is similar in unvaccinated people as it is in vaccinated people, meaning there is a similar risk in an infected vaccinated person spreading the virus as an infected unvaccinated person.

The Government’s own covid certification review in July 2021 concluded that the “burden” of covid passes would be “disproportionate” to any benefits, and that they should not be mandated. Since then, vaccination rates have only increased – so it is unclear what the Government’s policy change is in aid of. If the Government’s analysis is that the situation is worse now than it was in July, the case for vaccine passes would be weakened further still, as vaccination coverage is considerably greater than it was in July.

Mass testing is not the answer. The MHRA, senior advisors at the Department of Health, and the Royal Statistical Society have all voiced concerns about the Government’s use of mass testing. Lateral flow tests (LFTs) suffer from inaccuracy and miss the majority (60%) of asymptomatic infections – the very purpose they would be deployed for. The Innova LFTs, which the Government has spent £3bn on, do not meet the acceptable standards set by the WHO for confirming or ruling out COVID-19 whilst the FDA issued an urgent recall of the tests due to accuracy issues and urged people to put them “in the trash”.

The recent Cochrane meta-analysis, carried out by an international, independent team of experts, concluded that there is “virtually no evidence for mass screening of asymptomatic individuals using rapid antigen tests in people with no known exposure.” Read more in our summary briefing on test certification.

Moreover, if community prevalence were high, people being tested could be exposed to the virus between tests and the events in question – e.g. on public transport to the event or pubs.

As PACAC concluded, there is no justification for covid passes in science and none in logic.

There is no silver bullet out of the pandemic. Free and fair access to vaccines, healthcare, quarantine support, test and trace, and proportionate safety measures are needed to protect public health.

2. DISCRIMINATORY

The effect of Covid passes would be to socially and economically exclude people based on private medical data, and deny them basic freedoms. In doing so, some of the most marginalised in society would suffer discrimination.

Under equality law, it is unlawful to discriminate against people with ‘protected characteristics’ - which include age, disability, pregnancy and religion or belief.

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If the Government segregates society according to vaccination status:

  • young people would be discriminated against, since there will be lower and slower vaccine uptake as young people are both generally at a low risk of serious illness from the virus and last in line to be offered a vaccination. Further, if vaccines are required annually/periodically, young people could be discriminated against on a cycle as they will always be last in line to receive vaccines.
  • disabled people could be discriminated against as some medical conditions prevent or obstruct individuals from receiving a vaccination;
  • pregnant women would be discriminated against, as many women remain cautious about vaccination whilst pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive;
  • religious groups and groups with other protected beliefs may be discriminated against, where hesitancy may be higher than average and if certain beliefs deter vaccination.
  • ethnic minority groups would be discriminated against, particularly black and Asian people, where vaccine access may be lower, hesitancy higher, and the risk of exclusion higher. The exclusionary impact on migrants would also be significant. Although the Government committed to ensuring everyone can receive Covid vaccinations regardless of immigration status, an investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that 76% of GP surgeries in the UK refuse to register undocumented migrants, making vaccines difficult to access.

Research shows that people on lower incomes are the most ‘hesitant’ or unlikely to receive Covid vaccines. The poorest in our society have been at disproportionate risk during the pandemic, working in sectors that broadly remained open whilst others worked from home. As a result, millions of working class people were exposed to the virus and acquired natural immunity, which research suggests is longer lasting than vaccine-induced immunity.

We cannot simply erase histories and experiences of discrimination and hostility that have created distrust – in fact, vaccine segregation would only deepen discrimination and alienate people even more. This would be disastrous for trust in public health authorities when trust is desperately needed.

Finally, it is important to remember that there are millions of citizens of the world who simply will not have access to Covid-19 vaccines for years to come. Only 1.8% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose. As we emerge from the pandemic, disproportionate vaccine requirements should not unfairly impede their freedom of movement and close the world to them.

Some people have suggested that exemptions could be created to allow certain unvaccinated people with protected characteristics into vaccinated-only spaces – but a Covid pass would incur a serious privacy intrusion for those people. Others may deduce that the exempt individual has health problems, is pregnant, or has a certain belief system – this is not only an invasion of privacy, but could lead to disadvantageous treatment.

3. COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE

A recent major study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that Covid passes would harden vaccine rejection among many people in the UK, particularly those in marginalised groups. Far from encouraging uptake, coercive measures increase uncertainty, breed distrust and deepen alienation.

In fact, coercing people to have vaccines can be counter-productive if it lowers trust and raises suspicions.

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Further, the Government’s repeated U-turns and ‘review’ into vaccine passports has done little to foster trust. Many people are now understandably preoccupied with protecting their right to freely choose vaccinations, anxious about how it could affect their employment, and worried about the threat of social exclusion, rather than building a positive association with their free choices over covid vaccines. Warranted distrust in proposals for an unprecedented system of vaccine checkpoints could rapidly blend into distrust of the whole vaccine programme.

There is some precedent in the UK on vaccine compulsion. In 1853, the Vaccination Act made smallpox vaccinations of infants compulsory; in 1867, vaccinations were made compulsory for all under-14s. The new laws resulted in fines, prosecutions, court challenges and even a mass protest of 100,000 people. The policy had sparked an anti-vaccination movement and the emergence of the National Anti-Vaccination League. Eventually, in 1898, the law was changed so that vaccines were no longer mandatory and the anti-vaccination movement subsided. Today, the Public Health Act 1984 specifically prohibits forced vaccinations – and we have some of the highest vaccine uptake rates in Europe. It would be backwards and counter-productive for the UK to make the same mistakes of coercive Victorian medicine policies.

4. CHECKPOINT SOCIETY

The UK has a proud history of opposition to ID cards. We are not a papers-carrying country. But covid passes would turn us into a two-tier, checkpoint society where we each have to show an app or certificate simply in order to enjoy public life. This would be a serious break from our long-guarded democratic traditions and would disadvantage marginalised people.

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In fact, when arguing against ID cards in 2003, Michael Gove – who led the Government’s review of Covid Status Certificates - said:

“We as free citizens devolve power upwards. We don’t operate at the license or leisure or pleasure of those who happen to govern us at any given point (…) The idea that we should be licensed to exist by the state is, as a matter of principle, wrong.”

However, covid passes do precisely that – they are a license to exist.

5. SURVEILLANCE STATE

The combination of apps with sensitive health data and the subversion of everyday businesses and events into checkpoints could constitute the biggest expansion of the surveillance state ever seen in the UK.

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Proposals for Covid Status Certificates must be viewed in the context of the ever-growing surveillance state and growing problems with data exploitation. In particular, we have been observing and challenging moves by political and corporate powers towards biometric surveillance systems for border control, law enforcement and generalised surveillance.

For many, covid passes rely on facial recognition on the NHS app. If the whole population is forced to accept this, it may not be too long before facial recognition checks come off our phoness – after all, not everyone has a smart phone – and onto facial recognition cameras at so-called “seamless” checkpoints.

Tech vendors will claim facial recognition is necessary to prevent vaccine pass fraud, and also that it makes the certificate “more private” than an ID card as it won’t need to show other personal details like your name and address. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, biometric health passes could easily be like ID cards on steroids. Having your private medical data digitally connected to permanent, unchangeable, biologically identifying data like your facial biometric can be dangerously more intrusive than an ID card. Facial recognition opens the possibility of us all becoming walking ID cards, whose data can be accessed with or without our choice.

6. MISSION CREEP

Covid Status Certificates are currently only used for covid-19 – but after the huge cost and reorganisation of society, it's likely that covid passes will expand for other purposes. The rationale underpinning health passports will likely be applied to other vaccines, seasonal influenza and other health issues – and potentially much more. It is quite possible that biological risk scores could expand and morph over time.

7. IRREVERSIBLE

Covid Status Certificates are not time-limited. If we accept covid certificates now, we will never be able to get rid of digital health passes. Almost every promise about ‘temporary’ measures over the past two years has been broken as they have endured and expanded.

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If people accept the claim of authorities that covid passes are the only way for us to get our freedom back, taking them away will create insecurity. Similarly, over-bearing airport security theatre and many of the excessive counter-terror laws enforced post-9/11 have never been rolled back, but expanded.

8. DIVISIVE

This isn’t even as simple as a division between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. As more research emerges about the effectiveness of different vaccines against different coronavirus strains, it is feasible that covid passes could be used to put controls on people who are deemed to require booster shots..

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And, it’s not even just about controls from authorities – it’s also about the severely divisive social impact covid passes would have. The segregation of vaccinated and unvaccinated people will lead to fear, hatred, and a sense of entitlement among some to be abusive to others who are suspected of being a ‘risk’. A national policy allowing or encouraging such division could severely fuel and exacerbate hostility between social groups.

We are experiencing one of the greatest challenges the world has faced since WWII. The best way we can get through this is together – with compassion, care and community. However, Covid Status Certificates would force people apart, leading to division and discrimination.

9. AUTONOMY

Bodily autonomy is an important aspect of the right to privacy. Compulsory vaccination, as an involuntary medical treatment, amounts to an interference with the right to a private life (Solomakhin v Ukraine). We believe individuals have the right to make their own choices about their own bodies.

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UK laws generally respect medical consent and mandatory vaccines are prohibited under the Public Health Act. However, vaccine passports clearly cause some people to feel coerced, rather than supported, to receive vaccines. They have a similar effect to mandatory vaccine policies, which are typically imposed by exclusion or penalties for those who decline vaccines. The penalty of reduced liberties for otherwise healthy individuals who refuse medical treatment or testing marks a serious change in our public health system.

FAQs

What is a vaccine passport?

A vaccine passport is a document or digital pass that details the covid-19 vaccinations an individual has received.

What is a Covid Status Certificate?

A Covid Status Certificate is a digital pass that details the covid-19 vaccinations and/or recent covid-19 test results than an individual has received. It is used by businesses, services and events in order to exclude people who have not received a covid-19 vaccine, people who have not had a recent covid test or people who have had a recent positive test result.

What if I don’t have a smart phone?

Many people find Covid pass schemes even more onerous and obstructive if they do not have a smart phone. This disproportionately affects older people and people on lower incomes. In theory, people without a smart phone can apply for a paper certificate, which they then have to carry, and which has a time-limited QR code. The process for obtaining a physical certificate varies across the four nations.

Isn’t this just like a driving license?

No, a covid pass is nothing like a driving license. A driving license provides evidence of a qualification. We do not need a qualification merely in order to live.

Isn’t it just like a yellow fever certificate?

No, covid passes are nothing like a yellow card. Unlike yellow fever certificates, the Covid Status Certificate is a population-wide, digital pass for access to domestic businesses, services and events.

Evidence of a yellow fever vaccination is typically a paper document provided for entry to select countries where the local risk of yellow fever – which has a far higher fatality rate than covid-19 – is high.

Should a Covid-19 vaccine pass be required for international travel?

The WHO advises against requirements of proof of Covid-19 vaccination for international travel as a condition of departure or entry, given that there are “critical unknowns” regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission. The WHO states:

“A number of scientific unknowns remain concerning the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines: efficacy in preventing disease and limiting transmission, including for variants of SARS-CoV-2; duration of protection offered by vaccination; timing of booster doses; whether vaccination offers protection against asymptomatic infection; age and population groups that should be prioritized for vaccination, specific contraindications, how long before travel vaccines should be offered; and possible exemption of people who have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.”

Vaccination entry requirements have never been imposed as blanket rules internationally – they should be specific, limited and proportionate to the local context and risks associated with individual countries.

If people could be exempt for medical reasons, what’s the problem with vaccine passports?

You can read all the reasons above on why vaccine passports, even with exemptions, are unnecessary, divisive, discriminatory and wrong.

It’s important to consider that even a covid pass showing an individual is medically exempt would incur a serious privacy intrusion, leading others to deduce that the exempt individual must have health problems or is pregnant. This is not only an invasion of privacy, but could lead to disadvantageous treatment – particularly in an employment context.

Don’t businesses have the right to use vaccine passports if they want to?

Businesses can broadly decide who they do and do not serve. However, if businesses deny services based on vaccine passes, they may be at risk of unlawfully discriminating against people on the basis of protected characteristics (see our section above on discrimination). The Government has a duty to protect people from discrimination too – so if public authorities support checkpoint systems that lead to unlawful discrimination, the Government could be breaching its legal duties too.

Do we need vaccine passports to avoid future lockdowns?

No. Austria has entered into a full lockdown despite its policy of mandatory vaccine passports. Previously, the Austrian government used vaccine passports to impose a lockdown just for the unvaccinated. There is no example, anywhere in the world, where the use of vaccine passports has significantly reduced or eliminated transmission of Covid.

We need serious public health policies, not a reductive ultimatum between life under house arrest or living on tag. Vaccine passports are not a silver bullet solution – in fact, there’s no evidence they are any kind of solution at all. To protect public health and avoid future lockdowns we need free and fair access to vaccines and healthcare, adequate support for infectious people to quarantine, a highly effective test and trace system, and proportionate public safety measures.

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