Experts split over plans for post-vaccine ‘Covid passports’

Experts split over plans for post-vaccine ‘Covid passports’
A UK government plan to issue “immunity passports” to people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 has divided scientific advisers, with some warning that the move could damage social cohesion and lead to more infections.

“Ministers have asked passport makers to provide Britons with secure certificates to prove they are not carrying coronavirus and help pave the way for a return to normality next year,” says The Telegraph.

Once people have been vaccinated – and issued with the documentation to prove it – they would reportedly be able to travel, work and socialise at will. According to The Sun, biometric certificates “could allow air travel to return to normal” next year.

However, some experts say such hopes may be premature. Vaccine trials have proved “only that the jabs reduced the likelihood of people developing symptomatic Covid-19”, scientists told The Times, and “more work need[s] to be done on how they affect transmission”.

University of Reading virology professor Ian Jones, said the passport proposal could lead to forgeries – and to job discrimination between those who have had the jab and those who haven’t.

“I think it is more important to organise a comprehensive vaccination campaign, get the vulnerable done, and hammer home the need for everyone else to take it up for the good of all,” he said.

A paper published in The Lancet last month acknowledges that some consider immunity passports “unethical and impractical”, but argues that “a strong presumption should be in favour of preserving people’s free movement if at all feasible”. A return to normality would bring both “individual and social benefits”, the authors add.

Some members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) are backing the idea too. “I think a vaccine passport does make sense, at least initially,” Janet Lord, a professor of immune cell biology at the University of Birmingham, told The Times.

And while existing trials may not have provided definitive proof, “the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca is ‘clearly effective’ in reducing infections and transmission”, the Financial Times reports.

“It’s got every chance of being a very successful, very effective vaccine that can get us back to normal,” said AstraZeneca executive vice-president Mene Pangalos.

XL subscribe to our newsletter banner

Get the latest news and advice on COVID-19, direct from the experts in your inbox. Join hundreds of thousands who trust experts by subscribing to our newsletter.

Send your news and stories to us news@climaxradio.co.uk or newstories@climaxnewsroom.com and WhatsApp: +447747873668.

Before you go...

Democratic norms are being stress-tested all over the world, and the past few years have thrown up all kinds of questions we didn't know needed clarifying – how long is too long for a parliamentary prorogation? How far should politicians be allowed to intervene in court cases? To monitor these issues as closely as we have in the past we need your support, so please consider donating to The Climax News Room.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *