Time to stop beating about the bush and get vaccine passports into the game for the UK’s ’21’ comeback

Charlie Mullins

Charlie Mullins

In his latest Business Leader column, Founder of Pimlico Plumbers Charlie Mullins shares his views on the importance of a ‘vaccine passport’.

Last week my team made a submission to the government’s call for evidence on what it’s calling ‘Covid-status certification’, which says it all really.

Outside of Westminster circles airlines have been testing people for Covid to screen out infection for months. And hospitality, travel and retail are all desperate for any edge to get the tills ticking over again.

We all know the answer is vaccine passports, but Boris and Co can’t even say the words out loud in public.

The logic is clear. If vaccines are the answer, and they are, which is why the UK has doubled down on getting the population immunised, then being able to prove you are a very low Covid risk must be a good thing.

So why is it so hard to decide to let businesses create safe zones where everyone in a bar, restaurant, shop, train plane or bus is unlikely to be ill?

Vaccine passports are the way forward, and everybody knows it. Companies like British Airways are already looking at ways to log passengers’ Covid status on their own apps, and the amount of emails we’ve had from private companies developing systems to allow people to prove they have been vaccinated is growing by the day. 

We may get some of our freedom back by the summer, but vaccinations, and yes passports, are going to be a fact of life very soon and it’s about time our government grew a pair and publicly accepted this fact.

We need to start working on vaccine passports now so that by the time every adult has been offered a vaccine they can be in use. If we wait, we restrict the ability of the economy to recover and place people at greater risk.

It’s the anniversary of the first lockdown today, and more than 126,000 of our fellow citizens haven’t lived to see this day.

One reason is that we waited too long to take things seriously. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

Just like with mask-wearing there are three basic groups: the largest, those who can and do; those who for medical reasons are unable to wear them, and the selfish few who show no regards for others and refuse point-blank.

Wearing masks protects everyone, and that’s especially true for those who might be at a greater risk of dying from Covid.

And it’s the same with vaccines; those who have had them deserve to be able to benefit from playing their part in the UK’s fight back, those who are for good reason unable to have a vaccine deserve our protection also.

And those who don’t give a damn, well it’s their choice – be part of the solution or stay at home.  Undoubtedly, it’s time to say, ‘we need vaccine passports, and we need them now!’

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