MPs and Norfolk public give views on vaccine passports

The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is administered. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Two of Norfolk and Waveney's MPs have said careful consideration and debate is needed over Covid-19 passports. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Careful consideration and debate is needed over possible vaccine passports in England, according to local MPs.

More than 70 MPs across the country, including 40 Conservatives and former party leaders including Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Ian Duncan-Smith and Tim Farron  have backed a pledge urging the government not to bring in the scheme.

The pledge states: "We oppose the divisive and discriminatory use of Covid status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs."

The campaign has divided opinion for readers in Norfolk and Waveney, while two of the area's MPs said there were many issues to be considered.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker. Picture: Supplied by Duncan Baker

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker - Credit: Duncan Baker

Duncan Baker, North Norfolk MP, said: "Any utilisation of vaccination certificates needs to be approached with careful consideration and we must assess the potential implications of this process on those who cannot be inoculated, for medical reasons or just due to their personal choice.

"I wholeheartedly believe in free thought, choice and self-determination.

"Equally, when we already provide forms of proof in other areas of life, if there is a policy that can be implemented sensibly that would aid our safety to go about life more normally, it must be considered."

Waveney MP Peter Aldous.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Peter Aldous

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: "I can understand why it is being considered but I think there are a lot of issues surrounding it about everyday civil liberties that need to be thought through very carefully and properly debated in parliament.

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"It is a big step to take and I would need to consider the feedback from my constituents about it."

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon said: "We need normal life to resume as soon as possible. For this to happen we need to be able to identify those who have been vaccinated and those who haven't. Are there civil liberties concerns around how this is done? Of course there are. I support the government in its sincere effort to find an acceptable way ahead." 

South Norfolk Conservative candidate Richard Bacon at The General Election 2019 results at the Royal

South Norfolk Conservative candidate Richard Bacon at The General Election 2019 results at the Royal Norfolk Showground after being announced as the winner. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

MPs Brandon Lewis, Chloe Smith, Clive Lewis, Jerome Mayhew,  Elizabeth Truss, James Wild and George Freeman were all approached for comment.

There were more than 600 comments on the subject on social media from readers ranging from complete support for the passports, to those agreeing it could be discriminatory.

Some raised concerns about introducing the legislation when many groups had not been invited for vaccination.

Jules Wood said: "I don't see why anyone cares who is vaccinated or not. If you choose to get vaccinated then you are covered, and as such being around those who are or are not vaccinated poses little risk to you.

"It's the people who are not vaccinated that would be at risk and in that sense only to themselves and others that choose not to be vaccinated.

"So why does it matter? I say no to vaccine passports, it serves little purpose and would likely come at an additional cost to all of us in order to receive one and subsequently renew it in the future."

Kim Sands said: "I'd feel safer travelling if I could be certain people were properly protected and I wouldn't want to put anyone else at risk if I wasn't protected. Can't understand people who protect themselves against other infectious diseases when they travel being against it."

Debbie Ashford said: "It wouldn't bother me to have to have it but I can see how impractical it would be for the service providers."

Niki Whaites said: "It’s a hard one because there will be people that are still not offered the vaccine yet! So you really can shun them as it’s very unfair.

"At the end of the day it’s people's choice whether they have the vaccine or not. So it should be down to whatever establishment to police and rule how they want to run it.

"But, as the people not wanting vaccines hammer on about freedom of choice and speech I also hope they then understand it works both ways and if say a landlord says we don’t want you, it’s their choice, their right to refuse who they want in or not. Can’t then be up in the air about it when the script is flipped."