Monday, April 19, 2021

The passage to freedom

 In Britain

At present, people who have had a Covid jab in the UK  receive a vaccination card, and the details go on their medical records. However, the government is now looking at how to allow people to more easily show their Covid status, as "a temporary measure". This could mean a record of whether people have been vaccinated, recently tested negative or have natural immunity after being ill with Covid. In other words a vaccine passport. 

In order to be useful for travel , this would have to be recognised by other countries e.g. the EU. 

Concern has been shown by various groups, including church leaders, who claim that a passport would create a "surveillance state" and a "medical apartheid". So, it is not yet clear whether the UK will issue some form of document that would allow people to demonstrate their Covid status.

We know that the UK has been reluctant to issue any form of national identify card like we have in Spain.  Here, we also carry SIP cards that are used to access our medical records. 

I believe that the cards we carry increase rather than restrict our freedom because they are simple way to prove who we are, our rights of access to services and travel. 

The European position 

Spain, along with other European countries, will forge ahead with Covid-19 vaccine passports, which the European Union is officially calling “Digital Green Certificates”.  These will allow citizens of Europe to enter the country without having to quarantine or take a coronavirus test.  The document will come in the form of a free QR code, will be available by the end of June, and will allow for more people to arrive in the country in a safer manner..

The tourism sector and major companies in the country have voiced some concerns about the new certificate. Each EU state will be able to include its own additional measures. If individual countries opt to add restrictions to mobility – for example, obligatory quarantines after a trip – the usefulness of the Green Digital Certificate will be greatly reduced.

Like in the UK, another of the arguments against this type of certificate is the possible discrimination that could result between people who have been vaccinated and those who haven’t. 

Those who would be at a disadvantage in this way fall into two groups, the ones whose turn has not yet come and the ones who have refused the vaccine. I assume there would be more sympathy for the former than the latter. 

Presumably, both of these groups would still be able to travel but they would have to follow current restrictions regarding testing and quarantining. 

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