The Welsh Liberal Democrats have described Mark Drakeford’s decision to introduce the use of vaccine passports in Wales as ‘disappointing’ stating it is an example of government overreach that could set a worrying precedent. The party’s leader, Jane Dodds MS, stated that she will vote against the measures if it is brought to a vote in the Senedd.
Commenting on the announcement Jane Dodds MS said: “I understand many people want to get back to a sense of normality, but vaccine passports are not the way to do this and we need to be careful about the precedent they set. They are medical ID cards in all but name and Welsh Liberal Democrats will lead the fight against their introduction.
“The introduction of the cards would mean that for the first time, you will be asked to provide your private medical data to a stranger to enjoy certain freedoms in our society, yet it won’t actually help reduce transmission rates.
“Vaccine passports are an infringement of our civil liberties, and they will disproportionately exclude black and ethnic minority communities who have, to date, been more hesitant than others to get vaccinated.
“Vaccines are certainly our way out of the pandemic, but vaccine passports are not.”
People need clarity as to whether someone would be issued a passport/certification if they were not take up their booster vaccination or were not in a priority category for booster vaccines.
Research undertaken by Swansea University finds that, of the factors contributing to vaccine hesitancy, vaccine passports were one of the factors which might encourage some of those delaying the decision of whether or when to get vaccinated.
In France, where vaccine certification has been the norm for months, a black market for certification has already emerged.
Vaccine uptake at over 75 per cent among white 18 to 29-year-olds while only 55 per cent of black and ethnic minority groups in the same age bracket, the impact of these exclusions will be felt disproportionately by minorities.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats would favour asking that customers present a negative lateral flow test to confirm their Covid status before entry. Lateral flow test requirements are different from vaccine certifications because they don’t compel you to have a form of treatment and then present a record of that treatment to access freedoms in our society.
“Other measures the Welsh Government could introduce include providing further assistance to businesses looking to install better ventilation systems and continuing to provide helpful information to those groups thought to be more reluctant to take the jab.