It’s been reported this morning that the government is working on plans for ‘vaccine passports’.
It comes as Greece is preparing to allow tourists to travel, as long as they have had the Covid jab, a report says. The UK vaccine roll-out is going from strength to strength. Earlier this week officials revealed that more than 1o million people have had the vaccine in the UK to date.
The Times reports that officials at the Foreign Office are working on the plans. The ‘vaccine passports’ would give Brits who have been vaccinated an official document that would allow them to travel. The document would only be needed countries that may demand proof of inoculation as a condition of entry.
Travel may be allowed to Greece as soon as May. Reports claim that Greek tourism chiefs say they would allow UK tourists who have had the jab by then.
Tourism chiefs there are reportedly confident that two doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines will be enough. However, they haven’t yet said what documentation they would require you to provide to prove it.
One thing that isn’t changing is tourists will still need a negative Covid test, taken less than 72 hours before they arrive in Greece.
Athens is reportedly sceptical about whether German and Russian tourists will be able to visit because of their far slower vaccine programmes. As well as the UK, the report says Israelis and US tourists will also be allowed to visit Greece.
Grigoris Tasios, of Greece’s hoteliers federation, says: “Greece has long been a favourite holiday destination for the British. With the rate of inoculations in the UK largely outpacing all others across Europe and beyond, British travellers will be among the safest to travel here by as early as May.”
The Greek PM also wrote a letter to EU Commission President Urusla Von de Leyen. In it, he wrote: “It is urgent to adopt a common understanding on how a vaccination certificate should be structured so as to be accepted in all member-states. Ensuring the quickest possible re-establishment of freedom of movement … is, of necessity, a fundamental priority for us all.”
He also clarified that he is “not going to make vaccination compulsory or a prerequisite for travel, persons who have been vaccinated should be free to travel. For countries such as Greece, which are dependent on tourism, it’s imperative that this issue is resolved before the summer season.”
“Thinking About This”
Sir Jonathan Montgomery, who was on the Ethics Advisory panel for the NHS app appeared on Times Radio this morning.
He’s warning that Number 10 should be thinking about vaccine certificates. He explained: “The government is saying it’s not planning to introduce passports, but we’re already seeing, for example, some airlines identifying that they will expect people to demonstrate their status before they travel. So I think we have to be thinking about this.”
He added: “What we don’t want to do is to undermine the response to the virus by dividing society and pitting people against each other. There’s a definite risk that the private use of these possible ideas could do that.”
The news is already causing divides. On social media, younger generations are feeling resentment towards older people who have been vaccinated and are now rushing to book holidays.
One tweet reads: “Isn’t this unfair on the youngsters? The only reason they have stayed at home, is to save the elderly. Now the elderly will be allowed on holiday and the youngsters won’t… The elderly won’t be the generation paying for the COVID debt either. Are we really ‘in this together’?”
Another adds: “So young people have given up over a year of their lives to protect the vulnerable. Now they are just thrown aside because the vulnerable have a passport to freedom. This is blatant age discrimination.”
A third questions: “Does this mean that the young who have been locked up for something unlikely to seriously affect them are the only ones who cannot go on holiday? Does this mean we have now created a further incentive for people to try and jump the queue?”
What do you think of the ‘vaccine passports’? Is it unfair to the younger generation?
Images via Alamy.