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Vaccine passports give a false sense of security

December 14, 2021 10:14 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats have and always will support public health protections that work but the use of so called "vaccine passports'' provides a false sense of security.

The Government has lost sight of why they put forward these measures in the first place - to reduce transmission of the virus. The vaccines being given in the UK are highly effective at reducing the severity of Covid symptoms, the likelihood of admission to hospital and against the risk of death. But even those who are fully vaccinated can still spread the virus.

The most effective way of reducing transmission is with testing combined with rigorous tracing and supported isolation. Testing allows the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike to know whether they have Covid. This can be done quickly and easily with lateral flow testing.

The Government should scrap its plans to record people's vaccination status on Covid passes and pursue testing as a more effective form of infection control.

Lateral flow tests are highly accurate. Although they came under intense scrutiny at the beginning of the pandemic over concerns about their effectiveness, subsequent research has shown that this is not the case.

Researchers from UCL found LFTs were more than 80% effective at detecting any level of Covid-19 infection and likely to be more than 90% effective at detecting who is most infectious when they use the test.

The Scottish Government has introduced vaccine passports and yet Omicron is spreading fast through community transmission in Scotland. The UK Government has put forward no official evidence that vaccine passports significantly reduce transmission despite repeated requests.

Recent studies have also suggested that vaccine passports might actually reduce some people's willingness to get vaccinated in the UK, particularly among certain groups, such as those who are hesitant.

The Government should scrap its plans to record people's vaccination status on Covid passes and pursue testing as a more effective form of infection control.