Vaccine passports: Expert discusses 'schemes'
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Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told Times Radio no decision had been made on vaccine passports but there will have to be a vote on the idea in Parliament if ministers wish to roll it out. Several Conservative MPs have already voiced their opposition to the idea, citing discrimination and civil rights concerns. Mr Zahawi stressed there are many issues which will need “careful consideration” before anything is decided as he insisted people should “not jump the gun” about the introduction of vaccine passports.
The vaccine minister was asked whether the idea of vaccine passports will be put to a vote.
Mr Zahawi said: “Absolutely.
“The PM was trying to be really clear on this yesterday, let’s not jump the gun here.”
The jabs minister added how the Government “haven’t even got to the stage” where they have decided “what we want to do on this domestically.”
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He added that there are “so many issues that do need careful consideration” before anything is set in stone despite upcoming trials of the Covid passport at major sporting events such as the FA Cup final and Snooker World Championship already having been announced.
The Tory MP went on to highlight Michael Gove, who is producing a report on vaccine passports, is “consulting with all stakeholders, including parliamentarians.”
Mr Zahawi said” “But the PM made it very clear if we do get to that place then, of course, it will go to Parliament for a vote.”
The potential introduction of a vaccine passport once the economy reopens has resulted in a cross-party alliance of MPs and peers opposed to the proposal.
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In a joint statement issued earlier this week, the group pledged: “We oppose the divisive and discriminatory use of Covid status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses and jobs.”
At least 41 members of the Conservative party signed up to the pledge so far.
The Government’s review into “Covid-status certification” said the system may stay in place until the risk of contagion has been completely eradicated. The review read: “Some measures may be required for a period after all adults have been offered a vaccine, in order to prevent a surge.”
The document “is likely to become a feature of our lives until the threat from the pandemic recedes” but the review did stress that it would likely be a temporary system.
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The report added: “It is also important that there are appropriate exemptions for people for whom vaccination is not advised and repeat testing is difficult.”
But experts have raised concerns the certificates could contribute to “widening existing inequalities” in the UK.
Speaking earlier to Times Radio, data expert Elliot Jones said he was growing increasingly concerned about how people’s personal data would be handled if an internal vaccine passport was introduced in the UK.
He said: “It seems almost kind of useless to some extent that we are going to have it for a couple of months and then there doesn’t seem to be any use for it after that.
“The other side is if this is not going to be a ‘have it for a couple of months and then get rid of it, what kind of system are we building for the future?”
Mr Jones warned that the UK could be “building in a system of sharing health information, of digital identification, that then doesn’t get unrolled after the pandemic is over.”
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