Corona Passports: Ireland Considers Giving Vaccine Certificate Holders Extra Freedoms

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Despite controversy in other countries over the possibility of creating a two-tier society where those with vaccination papers have more freedoms than those without, Ireland is considering coronavirus passports, allowing bearers to escape lockdown.

Irish citizens may need to present paperwork proving they had received a coronavirus vaccination in order to go out, enjoy social activities, and enter venues in future, the nation’s health minister Stephen Donnelly said.

Donnelly compared the corona passports to plans being considered by the airline industry where proof of vaccination could be required to board an aircraft.

Decisions on whether to go ahead with the scheme would depend on an assessment of how effective the vaccinations actually are, and whether the jab manages to reduce transmission of coronavirus in the community. The Irish government said “nothing was being ruled in or out” in terms of vaccine passports at this stage.

The minister said Wednesday: “The vaccine certificate is part of the implementation plan and what we need to see is exactly what impact these vaccines will have… Then we will be able to make an informed judgment”, reports the Irish Times.

The discussion of restricting freedom for those who get an injection came as Ireland eyed the possibility of the European Union’s health regulator approving the Pfizer vaccine. Unlike the United Kingdom, which used its own medical safety protocols to approve the jab a fortnight ago, Ireland has relied on the centralised European system to test whether the vaccine is safe.

In the United Kingdom — Ireland’s near neighbour in the British Isles — the government has repeatedly made headlines over the question of whether the price of individuals regaining their liberty lost over 2020 is to be getting vaccinated, and then carrying the papers to prove it.

UK Vaccination minister Nadim Zahawi said earlier this month that while the government wasn’t planning to make the jab mandatory, he still foresaw a situation where private businesses and venues would make use of tools the government would make available to them to check whether would-be patrons had got the injection or not.

Zahawi cited “restaurants, bars, and cinemas… sports venues” as examples of places that may wish to discriminate based on vaccination status.

Former Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox responded to Zahawi’s remarks, noting that preventing anyone who hadn’t yet been vaccinated from living a normal life was tantamount to making it mandatory. Baroness Fox said: “When Boris assured us that no-one would be forced to vaccinate, he forgot to add, ‘but if you don’t, you will be effectively prevented from being part of the public sphere, ever’. Public shaming next? I want to be an enthusiastic advocate for vaccines. This COERCION doesn’t help.”

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