Why the introduction of vaccine passports is a politically risky move

Downing Street’s decision to press ahead with vaccine passports for nightclubs later this month may not have the effect on jab rates they’re hoping for

The idea of vaccine passports has been debated endlessly since the start of the year, and its viability as a policy has been under constant scrutiny.

Even in July, when Boris Johnson first signalled his firm intentions that nightclubs would have to start checking NHS Covid passes, there were many who thought it was a political ruse, a calculated threat to encourage more uptake among young people.

Not so.

Yet there’s still a lack of detail.

No confirmed date. No list of the exact types of venues.

It’s a risky move from the Government.

Not only are vaccine passports attracting sharp criticism over their cost, practicality and susceptibility to fraud, there’s also now evidence that they may have little impact - or even an adverse impact - on vaccine rates.

A survey, reported by The Guardian, of people who’ve still only had one jab found that 87.8% of this group said their decision to receive a second dose would not be affected by the passport scheme.

And of the remaining 12.2%, around two-thirds suggested they’d be less likely to get vaccinated if passports were introduced.

Then there’s the valid point that even those who are double-jabbed can still carry and transmit the virus (especially the Delta variant that’s now dominant in the UK), so it’s questionable that a vaccine passport would be more effective than a negative test result.

Despite all this, the government seems determined to press on with the plans, come what may.

We can only speculate that keen clubber Michael Gove was a voice of support within the cabinet.

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