We haven’t seen the end of plans for the introduction of Covid vaccine passports, according to the Times. Its splash today says that “Covid certificates” will be needed to enter bars, restaurants and nightclubs under plans to combat a “fourth wave”, though the actual reason – as before, and as in Israel – is to push young people to take the vaccine, following a fall in take-up in this age group.
Entertainment venues in England would be forced to make customers use so-called vaccination passports from autumn, to prove that they had either had both doses or a negative test the day before. Recent figures have shown a reduction in the take-up of vaccines with first doses halving in two weeks. Fewer than 100,000 a day are being given out on average for the first time since April.
Unvaccinated young people are believed to be behind a rise in cases. One in 160 people in England were thought to have the coronavirus after a 58% rise over seven days, according to the Office for National Statistics. It estimates that 332,900 people had the virus in the week ending July 3rd, similar to levels in mid-October, with cases more than ten times higher in those aged 16-24 than the over-70s. …
Government sources said it had been decided not to force Covid certificates to be used as part of the easing of restrictions this month because it would discriminate against younger people who had not had their second jab.
There were also concerns it could have hit the so-called “spontaneous economy” with people being turned away from businesses because they could not prove a negative test result.
However, by mid-September ministers say all over-18s will have had the chance to have both jabs and officials believe that vaccination passports could be mandated for use in premises where social distancing is not possible.
“In autumn vaccine passports could become an important tool that will allow us to keep things open,” a Downing Street source said.
Another Government figure added: “If we can show real benefits of getting vaccinated in terms of everyday life then it could be quite a useful tool.”
While more than 95% of the over-50s have been vaccinated, the rate is 76% in those aged 30-34 and is now plateauing. So far 58% of those aged 18 to 24 have had a first jab.
Helen Stokes-Lampard, Head of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said that dropping the requirement to quarantine for the fully vaccinated could also be a “very helpful incentive” for young people but urged the Government to “redouble efforts” to ensure they accepted the jab. But in a blunt warning she said that it was “unhelpful and potentially dangerous” to think of life returning to normal this month and people should continue to be cautious about socialising.
“July 19th should not be regarded as Freedom Day,” Stokes-Lampard said. “From a medical perspective, it shocks me to think that all restrictions would suddenly be dropped. We are in the middle of a dangerous third wave.”
She said that continuing to wear masks indoors was an “obvious one” in terms of tackling the spread.
Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England, is also understood to be concerned that people will give up infection prevention measures once restrictions are lifted.
Worth reading in full.