Closed petition Do not implement Covid-19 Freedom Passes
We ask the Government not to proceed with any plans for the implementation of Freedom Passes. For these to be in force it requires the bearer to consent to at least twice weekly tests.
However the nature of the Freedom Pass means that people might feel coerced into consenting to these tests rather than doing so freely.
The Government would be very unwise to implement such a policy. The Government needs to protect people's rights to medical freedom, bodily autonomy and freedom from discrimination.
This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months
This response was given on 21 January 2021
We are continually exploring ways in which we can return to normality as soon as possible while controlling the spread of the virus. This includes ways in which technology can be used to achieve this.
Read the response in full
As from the beginning of the response to the pandemic, the Government’s first priority remains to protect the NHS and save lives. It is important that we all continue to take the steps to beat the disease. This includes following relevant Covid-19 regulations and guidance and remembering to wash your hands regularly, use a face covering when social distancing is not possible and try to keep your distance from those not in your household.
We are continually exploring ways in which we can return to normality as soon as possible while controlling the spread of the virus. This includes ways in which technology could be utilised to enable workplaces, educational centres and health and social care services to reopen to the public safely.
The Government is increasing community testing, which is a crucial tool for Local Authorities to identify and isolate those who have Covid19 but do not have symptoms and may inadvertently spread the virus – and to break chains of transmission. We published the Community Testing Guide for Local Authorities on Monday 30 November, and the updated guidance was published 16 December to reflect the extension of community testing to include Tier 2 areas at significant risk of entering Tier 3. This is part of our broader strategy to help areas move out of Tier 4 and 3 restrictions faster and reduce the risk of a Tier 2 area entering Tier 3.
As with other vaccination programmes, a vaccine record card will be issued to patients with the relevant details about the vaccine including the date of their vaccination and their vaccine type. This is a vaccine record card, similar to those given to patients for other NHS vaccinations as a note of when they received their vaccine. It is not intended to be used for any other purpose, or as an immunity certificate
The UK has a world class national immunisation programme which is constantly reviewed and updated to reflect the changing nature of infectious diseases and provide the best protection for the public. All vaccines used in the UK are thoroughly tested, meet strict safety criteria and are carefully monitored after they are introduced into the national programme. Our evidence-based immunisation programmes are informed by the advice of our world leading expert committee – the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which reviews a wide range of scientific and other evidence, keeping the vaccine schedule safe and relevant.
Thanks to an incredible amount of hard work across the country, over 500,000 people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine - those aged 80 and over, NHS and care home staff. Hundreds of local vaccination services run by family doctors and their teams have opened across England this week. Nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and other NHS staff are working alongside GPs to vaccinate those aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers and residents, identified as priority groups for the life-saving vaccine.
It is an individual’s choice over whether they get vaccinated. We think that is the right step for people to take to protect themselves and their loved ones, and we are supporting people in making an informed choice by providing the public with the necessary information to do so.
Department of Health and Social Care
Other parliamentary business
MPs investigate plans for Covid passports
The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (a group of MPs who look into issues relating to the UK constitution and civil service) has published a report which calls for the Government to scrap any plans to introduce domestic Covid-status certification, also known as Covid passports.
The Government has suggested that such a system, based on proof of vaccination or a negative test result, could help manage the disease in future, allowing the economy to reopen and social restrictions to be lifted. It is currently undertaking a review into whether (and how) such a system could be introduced.
However, the MPs on the Committee said the Government had so far failed to make the scientific case in favour of the system, and raised concerns that such a system could “disproportionately discriminate” against people on the basis of their race, religion, age or socio-economic background. They concluded plans for Covid passports were "unnecessary" and "unjustified".
Read the report (HTML):
Read the report (PDF):
Read the Committee's press release:
The Government will respond to the Committee's report in the coming weeks.
What is the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee?
The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee examines constitutional issues, and the quality and standards of administration provided by Civil Service departments. It's a cross-party committee and is independent of the Government.
Find out more on their website:
You can get updates on their work by following the Committee on Twitter:
This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work:
Ministerial statement on covid-19 and covid-status certification
On Monday 5 July, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid MP gave a statement to the House of Commons on covid-19. The Secretary of State updated MPs on the Government's plans for social restrictions and guidance from 19 July.
He also announced the outcome of the Government's review of domestic covid-status certification, also known as 'covid passports'. The Secretary of State confirmed the Government will not mandate the use of covid-status certification as a condition of entry for visitors to any setting, such as shops or events, at the present time.
Watch the statement here:
Read the transcript here:
Read the Government's report on its covid-status certification review:
The Government's review concluded that there would be a public health benefit to covid-status certification, but that the burden of implementing such a system, to businesses and individuals not yet fully vaccinated, would be disproportionate to that benefit at this stage of the pandemic.
However, the Government has stated that individual organisations may make a discretionary choice to require covid-status certification (for example, via the NHS app) to help keep their premises safe, although the review has concluded that "essential services" should not do this.
The review also noted that the Government will keep the option of routine covid-status certification under review, and that certification could provide a means of keeping events going and businesses open if the country is facing a difficult situation in autumn or winter.
What are Ministerial statements?
Ministerial statements are a way for Ministers to bring an important matter to the attention of the House.
Find out more about them here: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/statements/