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Vaccine passports: a threat to liberty or necessary safeguard? | Letters


I hope that there will be strong opposition to a virus document for domestic use, whatever form it would take (NHS Covid app could be used to prove status and access venues in England, 24 February). Such a step, apparently being seriously considered by the government, would appear to be a backstairs attempt to bring in a form of identity card; indeed, this would be even more extensive if entry to shops, pubs, libraries and cinemas were to depend on identification. Far better to continue with mass vaccination, and take up suggestions, as from the Runnymede Trust, to increase take-up where it is low.

The prime minister dismissively referred to “fervent libertarians”. No doubt this was a term used against the individual who, in late 1950, refused to show his identity card to police in a traffic issue. His case was upheld by senior judges, and led to the abolition in peacetime of this form of documentation.
David Winnick
London

• It has been said that freedom as a concept does not include the freedom to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theatre. Presumably it should also not include the freedom to wander into a pub and potentially infect half a dozen people with Covid because, although invited and not discouraged on medical advice, you refused to be vaccinated.

Some freedoms have to be tempered by an overriding social responsibility which occasionally needs to be legally enforced, or this famous “roadmap” will be an awfully long one.

Not getting a jab may well be a right, but going into a pub with a metaphorical loaded gun isn’t.
Mike Jones
Cadmore End, Buckinghamshire

• The government must not drag its feet on the issue of vaccine passports. If it does, and businesses unilaterally insist on proof of vaccination, the anti-vaccine, anti-lockdown campaigners will be out in their thousands taking these firms to court on grounds of unfair discrimination.

They will be wrong to do so, but I’m not convinced they will be unsuccessful. And even if they don’t succeed, what a waste of time, effort and worry for those being sued when a simple piece of legislation could not only exempt companies (and other organisations) from such litigation but also spell out what categories of person need not have show proof of vaccination and how they can obtain exemption. Self-exemption would not be permitted because people will cheat.
Patrick Cosgrove
Chapel Lawn, Shropshire

• Certification of Covid vaccination or immunity seems inevitable at some stage. However, a strategy of using mobile phones – especially smartphones – as the main vehicle for these would only exacerbate the social inequalities already observed. Not only are poorer people less likely to have been vaccinated, but on top of that they would be less able to prove it. A stand-alone card should be central to any such strategy. To avoid fear of commercial misuse of personal data, the system should not be run by a commercial body either.
Dr Linda Murgatroyd
London

Boris Johnson thinks having to show something to enter a pub is “not something we do in this country”. He obviously hasn’t been out in Romford on a Friday night. Last year, pre-Covid, I was refused entry to Wetherspoons because I hadn’t my passport on me for them to scan at the door. I’m 55 years old.
Ken Strong
Hornchurch, Greater London



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