Vaccine Passports

Unvaccinated Australians Will Be Barred From Major Sporting Events

Australians will soon need to have proof of full vaccination to visit major sporting venues as state premiers prepare the ground for the introduction of vaccine passports. The Premier of New South Wales said in a press conference on Monday: “Any incentives we can provide to encourage people to get vaccinated and stick to the health restrictions, that is our priority.” Mail Australia has the story.

Plans are already underway to make vaccine passports mandatory in New South Wales while a similar approach is being considered in Victoria.

Fans will need to have both Covid jabs to visit a stadium and watch big sporting events like the NRL, AFL, or cricket.

Venues NSW Chairman Tony Shepherd will put forward his proposal to the State Government in the next few weeks and hopes they will be approved by next year. 

“If you choose not to have the jab that is your civil right in a free country but the Delta strain is extremely transmissible and we need to do something to reopen our stadiums,” he told the Daily Telegraph

“The venues will have to say you can’t attend. Simple as that.” …

[Victoria] Premier Daniel Andrews said at a press conference on July 21st that officials would make an “informed discussion” about reopening games to vaccinated residents.

“[The vaccine] will be here September, October, November… then I think we can have an informed discussion and say: ‘Right, we’re at X%, here’s all the benefits that might flow from that’,” he said. 

The Premier said vaccinated fans being able to attend games would be part of a wider attempt to incentivise people to get the jab.

Worth reading in full.

Andrew Bridgen MP Criticises Government Over “Serious Infringement on People’s Liberties” Threatened by Vaccine Passports

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen says vaccine passports represent a “serious infringement on people’s liberties” and that he doesn’t believe they will actually be introduced. He told LBC radio that, if the Government is serious about its plans, Parliament should be recalled so as to allow for proper scrutiny. He is quoted in the Guardian:

This is a very serious infringement on people’s liberties, it is basically unprecedented in this country, and I and a number of colleagues would oppose it.

I think it is a very blunt instrument, to threaten people with domestic Covid passports. I personally don’t think it would get through the House of Commons in any event and that’s why the Government has moved on to this ‘carrot’ inducements for young people.

Bridgen, an ally of Boris Johnson during the Brexit campaign, accused the Government of “trying to aggressively coerce these young people” into getting vaccinated but said plans would not pass through the House of Commons. He did, however, concede that the Government could introduce vaccine passports by other means. He told LBC:

If [the Government] uses the emergency powers, they probably could argue with lawyers that they could bring [vaccine passports] in without having a vote in the House of Commons. But I think that is a step far too far for Boris Johnson and this Government. …

If we can’t get out of this pandemic with our levels of vaccination and antibodies, there is very little chance for the rest of the world. They will be all watching what we do in the U.K. and I think going to domestic vaccine passports would be an authoritarian step far too far.

His comments follow criticism from within the Cabinet of plans to introduce vaccine passports, with one member saying: “It’s not who we are.”

Boris Johnson Faces Rebellion on Vaccine Passports From Within Cabinet

The number of Tory MPs who say they will vote against the Government on vaccine passports has increased slightly to more than 50. Even more encouraging is that criticism of Boris Johnson’s plans is coming from within Cabinet, with one member saying: “It’s not who we are.” MailOnline has the story.

Mr Johnson is facing a fresh headache, with some of the opposition [to vaccine passports] reported to be coming from ministers in his own Cabinet, who believe the policy was “railroaded” through by Michael Gove.

One told the Times: “I’m not comfortable with the Government being able to use health information to cut off access to certain parts of society.

“This is the kind of thing that Dominic Cummings would endorse. It’s not who we are. Once you start doing these things where do you stop? We need to tread very carefully here. There are concerns across the cabinet about denying people their freedoms.’

Another added: “My concern is that this is destabilising the party. A carrot approach is far better than a stick approach. We shouldn’t be taking people’s liberties away, we should be encouraging them.”

Dominic Raab and Grant Shapps are among the senior members of the cabinet to praise businesses who have not allowed unvaccinated staff to return to the office, amid concerns the Government is encouraging a ‘jabs for jobs’ policy.

Experts have warned companies doing so may face legal action, with fears of a host of discrimination claims sparking calls for ministers to outlaw such policies. 

A worker who is forced to have a jab would be suffering an “intrusion” on their body, advice from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development claims.

As a result, firms “cannot forcibly vaccinate employees or potential employees” unless legally required to do so, according to the group, which represents HR professionals.

Care home staff is the only sector that so far is subject to mandatory Covid jabs, although reports suggest the Government has been looking in other areas too. …

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has also advised against blanket ‘No Jab, No Job’ policies, according to the Sun, particularly given medical reasons prevent some people from getting the vaccine.

But huge firms in the U.S., including Facebook and Google, have already insisted employees must probe [sic] they’ve received doses before going back to work.

Worth reading in full.

Plans to Bar Unvaccinated University Students From Lectures and Halls Shelved

Earlier this week, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told university students they would have to wait until September to find out whether they would be required to show proof of vaccination to attend lectures and to live in halls. But the plans, which have received heavy criticism from the University and College Union (UCU) and the National Union of Students (NUS), have now been shelved, according to reports. BBC News has the story.

The idea of making vaccines compulsory for university students… was not ruled out by either Education Minister Vicky Ford or Downing Street when asked about it earlier this week.

And asked whether vaccination would be mandatory for students returning to halls of residence, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said a decision would be taken in September. 

“We will certainly make sure university students have advance warning, of course we’re going to be mindful of this,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday.

But now the idea of requiring students in England to show proof of vaccination to attend lectures or stay in halls of residence has been shelved, the BBC has been told.

The Governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are in charge of their own coronavirus rules and education policy. 

Unions have been critical of making vaccines mandatory for university students. 

The UCU previously said this would be wrong and “hugely discriminatory against those who are unable to be vaccinated” as well as for international students. 

And the NUS had called the idea “appalling”, accusing the Government of “lining students up as scapegoats”. …

From the end of September, ministers have said people will need proof of full vaccination to attend nightclubs and other crowded venues in England. 

The full details of the plan are yet to be seen but an NHS Covid Pass – which you can obtain electronically or as a letter – will be used as proof.

Worth reading in full.

“For All I Care, You Can Die Anytime”: Philippine President’s Message to the Unvaccinated

If you’re unvaccinated and live in the Philippines, the message is (for once) clear: if you leave your home, the police will escort you back, and your President doesn’t care if you die. In a televised address, President Rodrigo Duterte said “walking spreaders” should be confined to their homes, adding: “For all I care, you can die anytime.”

To those people who do not want to be vaccinated, I am telling you ‘don’t go out of your house’, because if you do go out of your house, I will tell the police to return you to your home. You will be escorted back to your house because you are a walking spreader.

AP News has more.

Rodrigo Duterte is warning that Filipinos who refuse to get vaccinated against the coronavirus will not be allowed to leave their homes as a safeguard against the more contagious Delta variant.

Duterte said in televised remarks Wednesday night that there is no law mandating such a restriction but added he is ready to face lawsuits to keep people who are “throwing viruses left and right” off the streets. …

However, more than public hesitance, the Philippines has been grappling with vaccine shortages.

Nearly seven million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated and more than 11 million others have received their first dose. That is a fraction of the Government’s target of 60 million to 70 million people.

Worth reading in full.

Brits Must Get Vaccinated ”If They Want to Travel Internationally Again”, Says Grant Shapps

Dominic Raab wasn’t kidding when he said vaccine passports are intended to “coax and cajole” people – especially young people – into getting vaccinated against Covid. This campaign has been upped again today, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warning that “if [people in their 20s] want to travel internationally again”, they must get ‘jabbed’. “It’s quite clear now,” he added. The Sun has the story.

The Transport Secretary told young people they should get double-jabbed to regain the freedom to cross borders. …

Mr Shapps said the U.K. is getting back to normal because “fortunately in this country we have very little vaccine hesitancy”.

He said a whopping 90% of Brits have now received a jab but conceded that take up has been lower amongst younger adults.

The Transport Secretary suggested that ministers are relying on the lure of foreign hols to persuade people in their 20s to get vaccinated.

He said: “They will need to get vaccinated if they want to travel internationally again. It’s quite clear now.”

Double-jabbed Brits returning from amber list countries – which includes almost all of Europe and the U.S. – now don’t need to isolate.

The new policy, which comes into force on Monday, will open up hassle-free hols to millions of Brits for the first time in two years.

A number of the popular countries with British tourists also now demand proof of vaccination to enter.

They include favourite destinations on the continent like Portugal, Malta, and France.

Meanwhile double-jabbed visitors to Spain and Greece are able to avoid the cost and uncertainty of needing to provide negative tests. …

Mr Shapps also predicted that having to be double-jabbed to return to the office will become the norm for some workers.

He said it would be a “good idea” for all Brits to get vaccinated before ending working from home.

The cabinet minister insisted there are no plans for the Government to make it compulsory but “some companies will require it”.

Worth reading in full.

Students Must Wait Until September to Find Out Whether They Need Proof of Vaccination to Go to University, Says Dominic Raab

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has admitted that the Government is “coaxing and cajoling” young Brits into getting vaccinated against Covid with plans to introduce vaccine passports at nightclubs and other “large venues”, but warned that students will have to wait for months to find out whether they need to be fully vaccinated to attend university lectures and to live in halls.

Given that Raab says “these decisions will be taken in September”, the month in which the university term starts, it is hard to see how students will have any “advance warning” of vaccine status checks, as he suggests they will. BBC News has more.

Mr Raab was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether the Government was in favour of going further and making the vaccine pass compulsory in more settings.

“I think the key principle is in crowded places where we want to open up… whether it’s going to a football game or pop concert, we want to make sure people can do that,” he said.

And asked whether they were planning to require students in university halls to get vaccinated, Mr Raab said: “When we come to the crunch, these decisions will be taken in September. We’ve got some time to go.

“Right the way through this pandemic we’ve had to take advice and decisions based on the evidence when we see it.

“We will certainly make sure university students have advance warning, of course we’re going to be mindful of this.”

He said he had recently visited France, where they had a big surge in vaccinations after bringing in a health pass for many activities.

“It’s a little bit of coaxing and cajoling and also making clear that ultimately over September when we know we’ll see, as a result of coming out of the lockdown step four, an increase in cases, we can control that with backstop safeguard measures.”

Latest Government figures show that more than 71% of adults have now had two jabs, while 88% have had a first dose.

Young people who are within three months of turning 18 – meaning those who are soon able to go to university – and those aged 12-17 who live with people who have a suppressed immune system, can now also get a jab.

The idea to make vaccines compulsory for university students was not ruled out by either education minister Vicky Ford or Downing Street when asked about it earlier this week.

“We are still looking at the scope for vaccination certifications,” the Number 10 spokesman said on Monday.

Earlier this week, the trade union for academic staff such as lecturers, criticised the idea following news reports.

“Students should be prioritised for vaccinations, to ensure as many as possible have the opportunity to be vaccinated by September,” said the University and College Union.

“But making vaccinations compulsory as a condition to access their education is wrong and would be hugely discriminatory against those who are unable to be vaccinated, and international students.”

Worth reading in full.

Netflix to Demand Proof of Covid Vaccination From Key Cast and Crew

Netflix has become the first major U.S. film studio to announce that key cast and crew will have to show proof of Covid vaccination on TV and film productions.

Far from hitting back against this ruling, actor Sean Penn – who is likely not alone in his belief – says all staff at the organisation, not just those who are deemed ‘key’, should be forced to get the vaccine. He is refusing to work on his new show Gaslit until all those who would be around him have been jabbed. BBC News has more.

According to reportsthe U.S. streaming company will require that ‘Zone A’ personnel – actors and crew in close contact with them – must get the jab.

Other firms such as Google have said workers must get vaccinated before returning to the office. 

The policy will begin at its U.S. campuses and then be rolled out globally for its 144,000 employees.

Netflix has implemented the move after new standards were recently agreed between Hollywood unions and studios that would allow companies to implement mandatory vaccination policies for key cast members and crew. 

However, the actor Sean Penn wants the policy extended for all members of production, not just those classed as ‘Zone A’. …

Netflix is making the move after the U.S. Disease Control and Prevention announced earlier this week that masks will once again have to be worn indoors even by people who have been fully vaccinated.

As the BBC News report points out, Netflix is not the only company to demand proof of vaccination from its workers.

In June, Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury said staff must have vaccinations ahead of their return to the workplace.

“The simple fact is that this virus is still extremely dangerous,” it said.

In the U.S., JP Morgan said in June that it would instruct staff to log their vaccination status on an internal web portal, with fully-jabbed employees being allowed to discard face masks at work.

Goldman Sachs bankers also have to disclose how many jabs they have had before returning to the office.

Worth reading in full.

Tottenham Hotspur to Trial Vaccine Passports Ahead of New Premier League Season

Tottenham Hotspur has become the first Premier League football club to announce they will be trialling the use of vaccine passports ahead of the new season. Supporters attending upcoming matches will be instructed to show Covid passes, but unlike the vaccine passport scheme the Government hopes to introduce later this year, proof of a negative test will be sufficient. As such, these ‘trials’ won’t be much different from the 10 trial events already carried out by the Government earlier this year which identified only 28 positive Covid test results among 58,000 participants.

The decision by Spurs comes amid reports that Premier League fans, players and staff could all need to have received two doses of a Covid vaccine for matches to go ahead later this year. MailOnline has more.

Spurs have told supporters that all adults will have to show a pass before entering the stadium ahead of their men’s and women’s teams playing Arsenal on Sunday August 8th.

The Covid pass – generated by the NHS app – confirms a person has had two doses of vaccine, has obtained a negative test for the virus or has natural immunity stemming from a previous infection.

The move comes after Government issued advice for event organisers encouraging them to use Covid passports where large crowds are in attendance, including at sports events.

However, while the Premier League is working on plans, it does not expect all clubs to have a Covid certification scheme in place by the first round of matches starting on August 13th and Spurs are the first to unveil its arrangements.

A number of top flight clubs spoken to by Sportsmail have no plans to use Covid certification in pre-season friendlies despite large attendances, and they are still awaiting advice on what is expected when the league matches begin. …

The Premier League is supportive of establishing plans for some form of passport if it enables clubs to maintain full capacity, even if Covid surges in the autumn and winter.

Spurs said their trial was part of preparations for October.

“This follows recent Government announcements and the necessity for the Club to begin preparations for the potential of full vaccination against Covid being a condition of entry to large events from October 1st.”

“It also further ensures the safety and comfort of our supporters, players and staff as we begin hosting capacity crowds for the first time since March, 2020,” the club added.

Worth reading in full.

The Case for Vaccine Passports Is Strong, Says Michael Gove

Michael Gove says there is a “strong case” for the introduction of vaccine passports “in appropriate locations”, such as at Premier League football matches, arguing that “everything… we can do in order to reduce [the risk of Covid transmission], we should”. He hopes that “some form of certification” will be introduced across all four nations in the U.K. “This,” he believes, “is the right way to go.”

In an interview with the BBC, Gove said that vaccine passports would “make sure we can have greater confidence that big events are not likely to be super-spreader events”. He cited the “spike” in Covid cases following the Euro 2020 games – which experts believe helped squash the latest peak – and said certification would help to “make sure that major activities… are safe” because those who are vaccinated are “less likely to be carriers of the virus”.

This is exactly the sort of “nonsense” that Hugh Osmond, Founder of Punch Taverns, criticised on Sunday when he highlighted that, under Government plans, someone who is fully vaccinated but has Covid will be allowed into a “large venue” but someone who is unvaccinated yet doesn’t have Covid will be barred.

By saying that certification checks will make venue owners more confident that their events are not likely to be “super-spreader events”, Gove also appears to have forgotten the results from 10 recent Government trial events. These identified just 28 positive Covid test results among 58,000 participants *without* the use of vaccine passports.

Despite all this, Gove insists that “the case for certification, overall, is a strong one”.

You can watch the BBC interview here.

Stop Press: Gove says that those who refuse the vaccine are “selfish”, according to Politics For All.