Dear Boris Johnson,
I am writing as your constituent to ask you to oppose the Government’s plans for mandatory vaccine passports, or indeed any type of domestic Covid pass.
Covid passports sacrifice equality, privacy and liberty, with no public health benefit. They would turn the UK into a two-tier, checkpoint society. I believe they are undermining the liberty and equality that Great Britain should stand for as a representative to other nations.
I am asking you to disregard Covid passes because they are:
Unevidenced: The only parliamentary committee to analyse Covid passes in detail, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC), concluded that there is “no justification for them in the science and none in logic”. The Government’s own Covid certification review in July concluded that Covid passes would be “disproportionate” and should not be mandated. Since then, vaccination rates have only increased – so it is unclear what the Government’s policy change is in aid of. After months of nightclubs and large events being open to all, there can be absolutely no justification for this authoritarian, divisive and discriminatory move to impose vaccine IDs.
Discriminatory: Internal health passes would socially and economically exclude millions of disproportionately marginalised people. Vaccine IDs discriminate against young people, where uptake is lower and slower due to reduced risk; ethnic minority groups and migrants, particularly black and Asian people, where vaccine access may be lower, hesitancy higher, and the risk of exclusion higher; religious groups where hesitancy is higher or where beliefs (such as for Christian Scientists) typically reject medical interventions; disabled people, as some medical conditions may prevent individuals from being able to receive a vaccination; and pregnant or breastfeeding women, where hesitancy is particularly high.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told PACAC in late May 2021 that vaccine-only passes were not being considered, citing the “risk of either direct or indirect discrimination”. Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi called vaccine passports “discriminatory and wrong” in a Westminster Hall debate earlier in the year, and as recently as July stated on Twitter that Covid passes would be discriminatory if vaccine-only.
Harmful to jobs and workers’ rights: Millions of people who work in night-time industries, events, or who attend conferences face being questioned about their personal medical choices and many risk losing their jobs if they decline or delay vaccination. The effect is likely to spillover to other sectors, reversing long-held protections for employees’ medical privacy.
Counter-productive: A major study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that vaccine passports would cause many people, particularly those in marginalised groups, to reject vaccination. Far from encouraging uptake, coercive measures harden uncertainty, breed distrust and deepen alienation. It can lead to isolation of hard working individuals in a functioning society.
Intrusive: Covid passes would lead to a checkpoint society. The purposes of such passes would inevitably expand and endure beyond the pandemic. It is a draconic measure that can only lead to more authoritarian measures as the government goes further unchecked in their actions in these turbulent times.
We know there are no truly perfect solutions. There are however far more proportionate, effective and inclusive measures than excluding healthy people without Covid IDs from society. Free and fair access to vaccines and healthcare; serious self-isolation support; an improved test and trace system; and proportionate safety measures are all needed to protect public health and get the country back to normal. But we can never get back to anything like normal as a checkpoint society that leaves people behind.
Please do not continue to further restrict the peoples liberties, we have suffered enough under the pressure of the pandemic and do not wish to associate further unnecessary politics with such a turbulent and terrible time.
Thank you for reading,