Covid passports: key questions for the government

This report from UK think tank the Institute for Government looks at how failure to engage on vaccine passports could harm confidence in the Government’s approach.

The government’s failure to engage with eight fundamental questions over how vaccine passports would work could harm confidence in the government’s approach – at a critical moment in the vaccine rollout and lockdown exit roadmap. This report says the government must address concerns over how, where and when Covid passports would be used – rather than viewing the scheme as a “moonshot” or easy shortcut back to normality. The prime minister has not ruled out their use for pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential shops, but he has also refused to address questions on the difficulties and risks involved with a scheme. The report warns that there is little evidence that a widespread Covid passport scheme could be implemented safely in pubs and other venues, and a poorly implemented scheme could cause Covid outbreaks and reduce vaccine confidence. Piloting covid passports and developing some capability is a sensible insurance policy given the uncertainties ahead, including the risk of further variants emerging. But the government must be realistic about difficulties and the risks – and start persuading parliament and the public of its approach. The report says that to address mounting concerns the government must explain: Why Covid passports are worth introducing and where they are feasible How the certification system would work and how businesses would be expected to enforce measures How the government would address concerns about exclusion


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