Thank you for contacting me about proposals for domestic COVID-19 vaccine passports. I appreciate that there are strongly held views on both sides of this debate.
I believe that vaccines are the most effective public health intervention against COVID-19, both to protect people against the virus and to enable restrictions to be lifted. However, based on current evidence my Labour colleagues and I do not support a wide-ranging rollout of domestic COVID-19 passports based on vaccination status alone.
In my view, the use of COVID-19 passports capturing only vaccination status would be costly and impractical; and being double jabbed does not prove that an individual is not carrying the virus. Testing for access to venues would be more efficient, for example, and it would give people and businesses more certainty.
I know lots of you have contacted me specifically about nightclubs and live events, and as you may know, the Government recently conducted a review into the use of “COVID-status certification”. While the review concluded that the domestic use of certification would not be mandated, the Prime Minister said on 19 July that it is the Government’s intention to make full vaccination a condition of entry to nightclubs and other large capacity venues from September.
I am concerned that Ministers have created confusion over COVID-19 passports. I share the frustration that will be felt by many at their indecision and the stress and confusion that this has caused for businesses as well as individuals.
I believe the Government must do everything possible to avoid a two-tier society in which those who are unable to be vaccinated are blocked from essential services or excluded from hospitality settings. I am concerned that asking people to produce a vaccine certificate to access pubs, shops and other indoor settings, for example, is discriminatory; it will add burden to businesses, and it may come at a significant cost.
As your elected representative in Parliament, I will follow developments in this area closely and bear in mind the points you have raised.