back to article Brit MPs and campaigners come together to oppose COVID status certificates as 'divisive and discriminatory'

With Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove expected to announce app-based "COVID status certificates," the UK's post-lockdown plan looks set to come under fierce attack. Seventy-eight Members of Parliament and 11 lords – including former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and Lib …

  1. EvilDrSmith

    "It is expected that, if the app-based concept goes ahead, it will have no place in steps two and three of the UK's reopening "roadmap", which includes schools, non-essential retail, gyms, and nail salons"

    Whose expectation is that?

    My expectation is that if the app goes ahead, it will be used in as many locations as the authorities think they can get away with using it, for as long as they think they can get away with it.

    1. Chris G Silver badge
      Trollface

      The simple answer is to get everyone vaccinated, for anyone entering the country just give them a shot before they are allowed off the plane and put them in quarantine for two weeks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What if they're coming from America and had their second shot months ago?

        (We do a LOT wrong when it comes to healthcare. But everyone 16 and over can now get vaccinated in the US, and for once we don't have to pay for it.)

  2. Cynical Pie

    Of course all of this assumes any apps will actually work!

    The 'World Class' T & T app won't work on my fruit based device due to the authentication app I have on it to allow me access to work emails etc so I am not holding my breath

    1. Jon 37 Silver badge

      Actually, it assumes the app will work most of the time for most people. If it happens to fail for you, tough. Go use the non-app option, if there is one and if it's accepted. It won't be accepted everywhere, no matter what the government says. Most likely, you need to go buy a new phone so you can use the app.

      1. pintofbitter

        Buy a new phone,, the second word is off !

      2. Cynical Pie

        Track and trace is a failure in every single aspect so why should I be expected to react to their shambles by buying a new device?

        My mum was rushed into hospital for emergency surgery mid February and tested positive for Covid on admission to hospital. A week later T&T contacted my father to inform him he was in contact with a positive case and to isolate... A WEEK LATER!!!

        They then threatened my parents with a fine as my mum couldn't come to the phone to confirm she was isolating.. she was in ICU on a ventilator at the time!

        A further week later they did the same, don't know their ar$e from their elbow

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Brit MPs ?

    I can see how an app may be necessary in Scotland and Wales

    But surely an Englishman's word is sacred and so all they have to do is announce that they are free from any viral impurities and that should be sufficient

    Next the bureaucrats will be demanding I carry some proof that I can drive or fly a plane

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brit MPs ?

      So add a flag to the passport database or driving license database. We don't need an entirely new database containing 99% of the same data for the Tories to whisk away £2bn creating only for it to turn out to be a spreadsheet.

      Have you not heard of normalisation?

      Come on any and all of us here could add a simple flag to some database somewhere.

      Passports already have a chip in them and you require them to fly. So a flag on your passport makes sense.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Brit MPs ?

        Not everybody has a passport or a driving licence. So at least your solution would limit the scope of things that could be authorised.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Brit MPs ?

          Yes but you have to have a passport to travel. So if they wish to restrict travel to those that have been vaccinated it can be done via existing passports.

          That is fair. The vaccine to my knowledge is free to everyone so the idea of flagging passports doesn't discriminate against anyone other than nutter anti-vaxxers. Those that cannot have the vaccine (pregnant, underlying issue etc) should have to seek medical advice and be signed off by their GP as fit to fly in the absence of a vaccine to fairly distribute risk.

          Someone without a passport is unlikely to be travelling anytime soon.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brit MPs ?

      Awww, it's so cute when the Low IQ Mouthbreathers come out to comment as though their opinion wasn't spoonfed to them by CNN.

      "Next the bureaucrats will be demanding I carry some proof that I can drive or fly a plane"

      There is a MASSIVE difference between proving you have the skills necessary to drive a car or fly a plane and proving you got a vaccine shot to enter a business, it's COMPLETELY unnecessary and a large overreach of government power, but you'd let the government do anything to do if CNN told you the science supported it.

      That's not even addressing the inability of these agencies to secure all of this data they're collecting.

      TL;DR, STFU, the adults are talking now sweetie.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Brit MPs ?

        Personally I don't need to get a vaccine shot.

        If everyone else has the vaccine then nobody can give it to me and I'm safe.

      2. Esme

        Re: Brit MPs ?

        @AC: You and your ilk are the reason that over here Americans had the reputation of not understanding British humour. Given your unnecessarily adversarial attitude to what was clearly a joke: you are Tucker Carlson, and I claim my £5! TLDR: you're clearly not used to adult conversation, so be quiet, child, until you are old enough to understand these things.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Brit MPs ?

          It's our fault for allowing them to continue to speak English.

          It was supposed to allow them access to civilizing culture, but it does mean that people can (mostly) understand what they are saying.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Brit MPs ?

            It's our fault for allowing them to continue to speak English.

            I think it's more accurate to state that it's our fault for allowing them to continue to pretend that what they speak is English. It's actually American.

            :)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Brit MPs ?

              *Gibberish

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Brit MPs ?

        Surely you realise that the sheep are the ones who don't follow facts, evidence, or logic, but do whatever Murdoch wants them to do via his Fox propaganda network.

        The amount of projection and lack of self-awareness amongst right wingers is cringingly embarrassing.

        1. NeilPost Silver badge

          Re: Brit MPs ?

          Yet American citizen Murdoch was at the head of the Queue for an OxAZ jab.

          https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/dec/18/rupert-murdoch-receives-dose-of-covid-vaccine-in-uk

      4. martyn.hare
        Happy

        Businesses should be able to choose

        The right to refuse service should include the right to refuse based upon being unvaccinated without a provably good reason. That’s not a government overreach that’s freedom of choice. There are nurseries which require proof of vaccinations for measles and the like, so why shouldn’t we have pubs which refuse to serve unvaccinated adults?

        As a consumer I should be able to look up the policy of the establishment and only choose to frequent those which do demand proof up front. Simple as that.

      5. onemark03 Bronze badge

        proof that I can drive or fly a plane

        Pardon me asking but do you have a driving licence?

    3. fluffymitten

      Re: Brit MPs ?

      "Next the bureaucrats will be demanding I carry some proof that I can drive or fly a plane"

      Now that is a shocking limitation on my civil liberties! I've been drving since before there were cars, I'll have you know, and no fly-by-night whippersnapper is going to tell me I need a bit of paper to continue to do so.

      Harrumph

      :D

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WTF ?

    So we're not allowed to travel unless we subscribe to an Apple or Google phone and all the pitfalls that brings?

    You honestly could not make it up, or come across such a bunch of ignoramuses as MP's and their policy makers.

    What the problem with having a simple paper certificate issued by the local doctors surgery with some form of security hash/key that could be checked by border agents, etc?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF ?

      Like the flight that just landed here from India where 35 people tested positive on landing, despite all having a paper certificate that showed they were tested before being allowed to board ?

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: WTF ?

        An app will do nothing about the quality or effectiveness of pre-flight testing.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: WTF ?

          No but will avoid going round to the local Staples and making a photocopy of someone's certificate

          1. iron Silver badge

            Re: WTF ?

            A properly designed certificate would include features to make a photocopy obvious. Like the paper driving licences if you're old enough to have had one.

          2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

            Re: WTF ?

            Why would anyone do that? Except in a very tiny number of cases it will be easier and less risky just to get a test!

            Fraud is not a significant issue.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: WTF ?

              A, the test is expensive and involves you going to a hospital

              B, the test might come back positive but you really want to go to visit your grandkids / cousins wedding / Disneyland

              C, you are used to a society where it's standard to just fake any type of licence / permit because interactions with government officials are 'transactional''

            2. Youngone

              Re: WTF ?

              Negative Covid tests are for sale at all Indian airports.

              Or at least they were before everyone stopped accepting flights from India.

              My source is a colleague who returned from India recently.

    2. Jim Whitaker
      Facepalm

      Re: WTF ?

      Paper? Sorry but which century has this comment come from.

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: WTF ?

        Something on paper may last much longer than its digitalized counterpart!

  5. smudge
    Flame

    Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

    They join other campaign groups, including Liberty, in backing the statement: "We oppose the divisive and discriminatory use of COVID status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs."

    And I oppose the lack of COVID status certification, which will enable individuals to endanger my health and that of the general public.

    Notes:

    1) On the assumption that people who can't have the vaccine are relatively small in number and would pose no great risk to the general population, I would treat them the same as those who had been vaccinated.

    2) Those who won't have the vaccine are on their own. To those who say it's their right to choose not to have it, I say it's also my right to be protected from such idiots.

    3) To the young who protest about age discrimination, I point out the Government's appalling record in getting effective IT systems up and running, and reassure them that everyone will have been vaccinated before any working system is in place.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

      But... You've been vaccinated so you've nothing to worry about right? Or don't you have faith in medical science?

      1. smudge

        Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

        You've been vaccinated so you've nothing to worry about right? Or don't you have faith in medical science?

        I have faith in medical science.

        I also understand percentages.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

          "I have faith in medical science."

          You mean the medical science that in March 2020 said that masks don't work and then in June 2020 said Masks work?

          You mean the medical science that said you couldn't attend church, a funeral or a concert, but could protest a police shooting?

          "I also understand percentages."

          You mean like a 97% survival rate of the virus and the great majority of those 3% deaths being 65 or older?

          You don't understand anything but what the rectangular box mounted to your living room wall tells you the truth is for the day.

          1. smudge

            Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

            You mean like a 97% survival rate of the virus and the great majority of those 3% deaths being 65 or older?

            I also understand that on my next birthday I will be 65.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

              "I also understand that on my next birthday I will be 65."

              Then if you got the vaccine, YOU will be fine. If you want to install a draconian app on your cellphone to feel safe in-between drinking your kool-aid flavor of choice, that's fine, you do you. I'm all fine with having the CHOICE to do those things.

              That's the difference, CHOICE.

              1. MatthewSt

                Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

                If we're all about choice, am I (as a business owner) free to refuse entry to someone who can't prove they're vaccinated / negative, to protect myself and my staff?

                Or does your right to choose override my right to be safe?

              2. Rich 11 Silver badge

                Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

                Then if you got the vaccine, YOU will be fine.

                Incorrect. If smudge got the vaccine then smudge will PROBABLY be fine. The background level of risk affects smudge's chance of being exposed to infection; the vaccine smudge took reduces the likelihood that smudge will contract the infection if exposed and subsequently the morbidity/mortality risk if infected. Even once vaccinated, smudge therefore retains the right to be concerned about the level of vaccine take-up in the population, since this contributes heavily to the background risk.

                That's the difference, CHOICE.

                If you choose to act in a way that puts other people at risk (whether it's not getting vaccinated without a sound medical reason, yelling 'Fire!' in a theatre, drink-driving, or throwing punches at random strangers), it's not in the least bit surprising that you would expect some form of backlash. Even if you think you are perfectly capable of making a rational fully-informed judgement when given the choice, you know damn well that there are plenty of other people in the world who are not. The greater the risk to society as a whole, the more likely it is that society will settle on not extending the luxury of choice to everyone within that society.

          2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

            And you don't understand how science works, or percentages for that matter.

            At least you posted anonymously, so you do know it's not cool to be stupid.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

        Also, there's another point, which is that some people don't have a choice. They can't be vaccinated. Usually due to other medical coniditions that make them more vulnerable. We include them in the list of those who have been vaccinated, out of fairness. They may at times want to avoid public interactions, due to the extra risk to them - but we leave that choice to them.

        However not getting vaccinated without medical cause, puts them at risk.

        There are specific cases, where we should insist on vaccine certificates. Such as care/nursing homes - and probably the NHS in general. For example, when I last looked at the stats we'd only vaccinated 96% of people over 80, as opposed to 99% of the groups down to 65. This isn't because of some failure in the vaccine programme, it's that larger numbers of that age group can't have the vaccine. Therefore we're going to need to insist on the highest level of protection from those around them.

        I believe we already insist in the UK that surgeons have the hepititis vaccine, but not other healthcare workers, because the transmission risk is much lower.

        We're also going to need a vaccine certificate/passport/thingymajig of some kind for going abroad, since whatever our society may decide, other governments still get to tell us what to do once we land in their airports.

        So this is basically inevitable.

        There is also an almost philosophical argument about what vaccines are. Some people see a vaccine as just another medical treatment, something you individually choose whether you want, or are going to get. Something that you take to protect you.

        But another way to see vaccines, is as a public good - as a way of protecting whole societies. Sometimes these interpretations can conflict. For example refusing to accept children into school if they've not been vaccinated (or can't be) - as happens in some countries.

        For a much criticised example of this conflict: The UK chose to change the dosing regimes, early in the vaccine rollout. That was the JCVI, which is a joint government committee of epidemiologists, immunologists and other public health bods. They chose to extend the gap between vaccine doses. Fine in the case of the Oxford AstraZeneca one, which had been tested in both ways, but more problematic in the case of the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech ones, which hadn't. It's later been shown that they got that dead right, that increasing the dose intervals of those vaccines doesn't have a detrimental effect on levels of immunity - and may even improve it.

        But the point was they were actually taking a small, but calculated, risk at the time. They were very slightly increasing the risk to those getting vaccinated, but doubling the number of people in the high risk groups that they could therefore vaccinate. And therefore massively decreasing the risk for those people - which is a trade-off that's probably saved a few thousand lives - and if other global bodies had followed their example would have saved tens of thousands of lives around the world.

        These trade-offs are important, but harder to understand. Even one of our main doctors' professional bodies publicly criticised the decision at the time. Though they may have partly been out of habit, at criticising the government, but it was also due to not having fully understood the question.

        i.e. in the case of vaccines, it's not all about you. Sometimes you have to accept a very slightly higher risk, in order to protect others. But in turn, that very tiny extra risk will be outweighed even to yourself. by the herd immunity of those around you protecting you from the same disease.

        1. Dante Alighieri Bronze badge
          Headmaster

          Hep B Vaccine - more than surgeons

          It is all registered doctors in the UK, not just surgeons for hep B.

          And I believe it may be beyond this for some other healthcare workers with potential blood bourne procedures - like taking blood!.

          DoI : I have a GMC number (leaking details again - but not an NHS one like below...)

          And I recently have a [non-digital] Yellow Fever record ;)

    2. DailyLlama

      Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

      I genuinely do not understand the opposition to being able to prove that you've had the vaccination. If people can't due to a genuine medical condition (fear of needles and believing what Eamonn Holmes says do not count), then issue them the certificate (or flag on the database or whatever) to say they've been vaccinated.

      Time for people to take their place in society and do their bit to protect other people, by having their jabs. If you want to go to a concert, or the big sports event, you'll need to prove you're safe to be among thousands of other people.

      Personally, I can't wait to get mine so that I can get on public transport, and go to shops, restaurants, shows, films, concerts and pubs again, and if someone sticking a needle in my arm is the price I pay for that, then so be it.

      1. EvilDrSmith

        Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

        The problem is they do not prove you are safe.

        They prove you have been vaccinated.

        That makes you a lower risk than someone unvaccinated, but not 100% safe.

        But your comment proves one of the pitfalls - people will think that if you have the 'passport' you are safe, and likely will act with less caution.

        1. James Wilson

          Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

          No, they don't prove you are safe, but they do show you're much safer than you otherwise would be. Seatbelts don't save 100% of lives yet we (in the UK at least, YMMV) do say they're obligatory. I wonder if when that was introduced there were arguments about people wearing seatbelts believing they are safe and likely to drive with less caution?

          1. smudge

            Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

            I wonder if when that was introduced there were arguments about people wearing seatbelts believing they are safe and likely to drive with less caution?

            I can't remember (possibly I am too young) to remember any controversy about seatbelts, apart from those who insisted it was better to be flung out of the vehicle.

            But there was certainly a widespread belief, especially amongst motorcyclists, that Volvo drivers were dangerous, because their cars were marketed as and were perceived to be very safe, with consequential effects on the owners' driving.

            1. Dante Alighieri Bronze badge
              Headmaster

              bicycles

              the evidence for cycle helmets is clear

              increased risk behaviour for those wearing them.

              And they only protect 1 of many potential injuries

              reduced cycle use where n=mandated with negative health outcomes

              If yo really want to protect your head on a push/pedal bike - wear a motorcycle helmet - and please tell me when you saw this.

              DoI: motorcyclist. bear headed pushbike rider - it reminds me of my vulnerability and the crapness of "cycle helmets"

              An appropriate parallel is horse riding hats/headgear/helmets - which you should read up before you click down

      2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

        Most people in the UK will have the vaccine. There is no need to any sort of "proof" in the UK.

        Instead of spending time and money and squandering privacy on some sort of certification, spend the effort on the reasons why some people do not have the vaccine.

        Only a tiny proportion are idiots who really will refuse. Most of them are people who are social outcasts for some reason (such as homeless, unable to speak English, etc) - spend the money and effort on targetting those people to both address their underlying social problems and specifically on giving them access to the vaccine and making sure they understand why they need to have it.

        Some are under the influence of people who, for whatever reason (mostly their own power kick), are convincing them they do not need or want it. This needs spending time and effort on targetted efforts to counter those particular pressures - that will mean engaging with people in many tight communities (religious, language, etc) and recruiting and empowering supporters and communicators in those communities.

        In short, spend the time and money on the social problems preventing higher vaccine takeup, not on providing tools for encouraging discrimination.

        1. cornetman Silver badge

          Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

          I agree with this.

          Even if passports work and are reliable, with the rate of vaccination in the UK, they will become redundant before they even get close to being rolled out sufficiently to be effective.

          We don't need anywhere near 100% vaccination to make the disease disappear.

        2. TheFifth

          Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

          I agree in the most part, however if we want to travel abroad it's likely that many countries will require evidence of vaccination. Some countries already require polio or yellow fever vaccination certificates (among others), so why would Covid be any different? Proving vaccination status is not a new thing.

          So no matter what the local politics or opinion is, I think the UK is going to require some sort of internationally recognised Covid vaccination certificate, be it electronic or on paper, or we won't be able to travel to half of the world for the foreseeable future. I'm sure there would be an even bigger uproar if the government didn't come up with any sort of a plan and Brits couldn't have their two week holiday in Benidorm.

          Not sure it needs to be some massive new database with lots of juicy, linkable and identifiable data though.

          1. Dante Alighieri Bronze badge
            Angel

            Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

            Excellent point.

            But off topic.

            Internal UK - no place

            External international travel - system required, AGREED

            1. TheFifth

              Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

              Agreed in part, but my point is that it should all be one system, rather than wasting money on a separate internal and international one. By saying 'internationally recognised' I meant a single system that can be used internally and internationally. If you look at the post I was replying to, it was saying that the money could be better spent elsewhere, which I agree with. But my point was that we have to spend some money on an international system anyway, so if we really need an internal one, why not make a single system. Maybe I didn't make it clear I was specifically replying to the points in that one post.

              The point of an internal system would (I hope) be that it will (might?) allow us to return to normality before the epidemiological situation suggests we should, without causing another spike in cases.

              So it will (should!) by definition be a short lived thing. Therefore it would be better not to waste money on developing an internal system that won't be used for long (I hope), when we will also need a longer lasting one for international travel. They may as well be one in the same.

              I wouldn't agree that it has no place internally though. I don't think it should be used for the local pub, or shopping etc. But when it comes to possible mass-spreader events, like indoor concerts or sporting events, then maybe it's a good idea if we want a quicker return to normal. I know it wouldn't be a perfect solution, as it's not evidence of definite immunity, but controlling a virus is all about several small measures that add up to a greater protection than each individual measure gives. We can of course just say 'no mass events until we reach herd immunity', but the very same people who shout the loudest about not wanting to be vaccinated, let alone carry a vaccine passport, would be the same ones who would shout the loudest about a continued ban on mass gathering events. They're also the ones who flaunt any social distancing rules and cause more spread (if the recent anti-lockdown protests are anything to go by).

              Sometimes we have to look beyond our own selfish wants and do things for society at large. But of course we still have to keep an eye on these systems and ensure they don't creep into everyday life beyond this pandemic. Again, why I originally say it shouldn't be some massive new database with lots of juicy, linkable and identifiable data.

              * You'll note I'm not 100% comfortable with how the Government is selling this based on the number of (bracketed) asides I've added. But I also understand that if we want to return to normality sooner rather than later, there will be some (short term) trade offs required.

        3. James Wilson

          Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

          I know at least 2 such idiots and they're not social outcasts. Though one works in sales which is pretty close. On reflection that's a good group to target as they'll meet a lot more people than us nerdy IT loners, and their grasp of science ... well let's be kind and say it is variable.

      3. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

        "I genuinely do not understand the opposition to being able to prove that you've had the vaccination."

        I don't oppose that. What I oppose is a centrally-controlled register of identification to which data can be added. If they produced a card which had my picture and said I was vaccinated, and people looked at it and thought it was probably me, then handed it back, that would be ... well not great but we could talk. They're more likely to have a card with some codes on it which get scanned by a device which promptly uploads it to the internet where a server records where I've been. Why does the government care where I've been enough to store a history of it? They probably have no reason to want it. They probably won't do anything malicious with it. They'll let the person who breaks in and steals the data figure out the malicious use for it. Unless there's someone specific with access who wants to be malicious to a specific person, in which case they now can.

        Meanwhile, having that card as a requirement to enter places has problems other than privacy. It makes any type of interaction less efficient while people scan the cards. It means that, should someone lose the card or forget to take it with them, they can't do anything. And perhaps most importantly, it isn't very useful right now. Just taking the time to issue cards to all those with a vaccination will take a long time. Eventually, the vaccination rates will increase such that pretty much everyone has one. If time B is less than time A, then the entire project is a waste of resources. Even if it's the other way around, it's not really that valuable when we already have a mechanism to protect ourselves when in public. When you also consider that the resources being spent on the massive checkpoint database could be spent on getting vaccinations to people faster, that seems like the better use of the resources.

        1. onemark03 Bronze badge

          Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

          Preface: I live in Germany which has a compulsory system of IDs for everbody.

          Story: I have registered for a jab (I will be informed of the date later.) We have been told to bring our ID cards or passports but this is simply to establish who we are, i.e. that the person who has registered is the person sitting there waiting for the jab.

          As far as I know, the fact that we have been vaccinated will not be entered into any official database but I presume we will be issued with the usual vaccination booklet.

          As I have said before on ElReg., IDs do have their uses. I don't like it (or them) but it's a fact.

          Bring on the downvotes.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

            I agree that IDs are needed at times. I think, however, that there are many cases where they are not needed where governments would nonetheless like to have them. Two factors are relevant here. First, private ID should not be the same as government ID. My employer requires me to use a card they issued to enter areas with their equipment in them. That makes sense, but it would make less sense to use a government-issued ID for the same thing.

            Second, the number of times where government ID is required should be minimized. For example, I don't think it's good for a compulsory ID check to purchase mobile phone service, which many countries mandate. Basically, I think an ID should only be needed when they have to actively certify something, such as my having crossed an international border. Not as a policing measure.

      4. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

        Fear of needles shouldn't be an issue, there is at one functional vaccine that can be taken orally.

        Though it will be poo pooed in the West as it is Russian.

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

      Of course they're discriminatory, that's the whole idea. They discriminate against people who won't take steps to protect the people they come in contact with.

      I can certainly see logistical difficulties in using them for access to bars & restaurants, I'm not sure that would ever fly, but for things like air or sea travel the process is not much different to that for electronic visa-type things like ESTAs, ETIAS, etc. Tie them to the travel document (passport, ID card). Same for jobs where people come in contact with the general public. We wouldn't let someone drive a bus unless they could prove they have a license to do so safely, proving that they don't present a health risk to their passengers is no different.

    4. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

      I oppose any requirement to identify yourself, much less provide official documentation, for any day-to-day activities.

      When I was a young child in the 1960's I was very afraid of a Russian nuclear attack (we lived in East Anglia, near many USAF bases, and would be expected to be a very early target).

      My parents, who had lived through WWII, did not attempt to comfort me with "don't worry - it will never happen". Instead, they explained why we had to stand firm against the communist threats, at the cost of our lives if necessary. A major part of that was to preserve the British way of life and freedoms, in particular to avoid the "papers please" approach that robbed the citizens of those regimes their freedoms.

      This made a strong impression on me, under the age of 10.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

        I was very afraid of a Russian nuclear attack (we lived in East Anglia, near many USAF bases, and would be expected to be a very early target).

        Didn't really matter where you were. After the first H-bomb had burst over London, Suffolk would have had no-one left anyway.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

        Ironically if they lived in that area in the 80s somebody would have checked that they didn't belong to CND or vote for the wrong party

      3. smudge

        Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

        I oppose any requirement to identify yourself, much less provide official documentation, for any day-to-day activities.

        So you don't get cash out of an ATM or use credit cards or log into any system where you have to authenticate your identity?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

          "So you don't get cash out of an ATM or use credit cards or log into any system where you have to authenticate your identity?"

          Can you step away from the Fisher-Price level comparisons here?

          Showing an ID card at a register when you use a credit card to verify you are the purchaser is NOT the same thing as installing an app on your phone to prove you got the vaccine. (An app that tracks who knows what and stores data who knows where that the government pinky swears they won't use for other purposes even though they proven time and time again that they will!).

          Even your comparison is off, at least in the United States, there has been contention for decades over ID being required for voting and how it's a cost barrier issue for some demographics. It's the same thing for smartphones and requiring an app. Not everyone has a smartphone. Not everyone has an internet connection. Not everyone has a data plan that can handle keeping a tracking app like that phoning home.

          Go back to Reddit, you'll be with your own IQ level there.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

            The USA is worse for ID cards than the UK. Cops are always expecting people they stop to have ID, and most of the Brits I know (especially the older ones) never carry their driving license with them. In fact, the only "ID" many have is their passport, and they only carry that if travelling abroad.

            1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

              Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

              I thought that in the US it was a legal requirement for you to have your license, registration and proof of insurance with you when you were driving.

              In the UK that is not the case.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

                Yes, exactly. I meant that the Brits I know rarely carry them when driving in Britain.

    5. Twanky

      Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

      To those who say it's their right to choose not to have it, I say it's also my right to be protected from such idiots.

      '...my right to be protected...' = 'someone else must protect me'

      '...their right to choose...' = 'they have made (or possibly 'taken' in this case) a decision'

      If you are afraid of mass gatherings without a scheme of 'passports' then choose not to attend them. Some people are (probably foolishly) afraid of the vaccination. Why should they be forced to accept an under-tested* vaccine just so you can feel safe? Read up on the principle of consent as described in the UK government Green Book on Immunisation against infectious disease (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/consent-the-green-book-chapter-2). Consent is one of the principles of the Nuremberg Code (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_Code).

      * The vaccines are *very* unlikely to be net harmful in my opinion. However, it is impossible for them to have completed 'normal' phase III clinical trials (not enough time) so authorisation to use them is known to be provisional/temporary. Personally, I've taken up the offer of the jab - if it turns out to be bad for people then hopefully we find that out before we damage the younger generations.

      1. James Wilson

        Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

        Yes, the vaccination should be (and is) voluntary, people can chose not to have one. However that doesn't mean the right to chose not to have one comes without any implications at all. While it shouldn't be effectively obligatory (e.g. you can't go in a supermarket without a vaccination or an exemption) it should be reasonable for e.g. mass events to insist on one.

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Unfortunately many other countries have already implemented a COVID passport of some description, and if British people want to start travelling abroad again then it looks like they might have to get some sort of official certification that shows they have had the vaccination. Or face a limits number of places they will be able to visit.

    1. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge
      Stop

      What have other countries specifically visiting got to do with this debate ?

      Getting the jab is one thing, being required to prove that I've had the jab to continue my daily life is something quite different.

      While I might be quite happy to prove I've had a yellow fever vaccine to go to parts of Africa this debate is "Do you need to carry an ID card with medical data to go to the gym, supermarket or pub?". Once such an ID card is implemented it's use WILL be expanded on history has taught us that much.

      At what point will additional vaccinations be tacked onto this? At what point will it be changed from listing "individual vaccinations" to "all required vaccinations" and then at what point will other elements be added so it's a generic "Can interact with society or not" status?

      1. Jay 2

        That's my take on it too. Other countries will want to be sure that we (as individuals) won't be causing them any more grief than we have to. So if I want to go away, then that's something I'd have to accept. After all I have the choice not to go away.

        However no-one should be stopped from visiting a pub/restaurant/shop/etc of their choice just because they don't have the app du jour or even a piece of paper.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          However no-one should be stopped from visiting a pub/restaurant/shop/etc of their choice just because they don't have the app du jour or even a piece of paper.

          Sure, but the consequence is that pubs/restaurants/shops/etc will then have to continue operating social distancing restrictions until it's clear that no outbreaks are likely to take hold and that no new variants capable of taking hold are likely to be introduced into the country. Remember that this passport argument is about getting business and society back to normal before everything is back to normal epidemiologically speaking.

          1. genghis_uk Silver badge

            <quote> Sure, but the consequence is that pubs/restaurants/shops/etc will then have to continue operating social distancing restrictions </quote>

            Says who? That has never been the stated consequence.

            The problem is that the government and the media have spent the last year instilling the fear of Covid into everyone and have done too good a job of it. Daily death rates and dire warnings in public 'service' adverts have scared the crap out of the public where they feel that everyone is a carrier and needs to be treated with suspicion.

            Now they have a vaccine that should protect the vulnerable and reduce the impact on everyone else - we have reduced hospital patients to around 2200 (or roughly 10 per NHS Trust as there are just over 220 of them) and we have broken the link between cases and hospitalisation. Daily death rates in England are almost equivalent to daily road deaths (not quite but close) but I don't hear a lot about not commuting because of the risk factor. A sense of perspective is needed.

            Covid is here to stay, get over it and learn to live with it but there is little point in denying it. We need something like 80+% take up for herd immunity but way before that we will have (and probably already have) a level where the vaccine will reduce transmission and reduce serious illness in those that get it. The problem is that while the media are all for publishing the % risk of blood clots from a vaccine, they are not very willing to do the same for % risk of Covid nastiness...

            Given that the virus is at a very low rate in the UK and the vaccine is doing its job, what problem are we trying to fix with a Covid passport for normal, everyday living? It seems to me that it is mostly a crutch for the under-informed and overly anxious.

            I have been vaccinated and I am vehemently against another form of control. Luckily, my local pubs and the few local shopkeepers that I have spoken to all agree with me.

        2. James Wilson

          But conversely you can say no-one should be stopped from visiting a pub/restaurant/etc because they would have a significantly heightened risk due to not knowing if the other people there are vaccinated.

    2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      We will need two different systems, just like we have for identity today. It is reasonable to carry a proof of identity (a passport) to be allowed entry to another country, even though it is not reasonable to carry a proof of identity (ID card) in the UK.

      Similarly, I expect to carry some sort of COVID status for entry to other countries. But I will not provide any such proof for activity in the UK.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And just as soon as you can get SARS-CoV-2 to follow border restrictions, your concept will make perfect sense.

        Want to avoid having some sort of vaccine proof to go about your normal daily life? Here's an option, and I rather like it: Anyone who refuses to get vaccinated has to wear a GPS ankle monitor and is not allowed to leave home except for emergencies.

        That way sane people can carry on with their normal lives, and the plague rats get to have the quarantine and a modern equivalent of a plague bell.

        1. Twanky
          Pirate

          Anyone who refuses to get vaccinated...

          ...has to wear a GPS ankle monitor and is not allowed to leave home except for emergencies.

          Well that's a relief. I thought you were going down the ...will be held down and vaccinated for their own good route.

        2. genghis_uk Silver badge

          Nothing like a disproportionate reaction is there

        3. Cynical Pie

          The vast majority already do, its how they spout their bile and ignorance on Social Media... I mean have you even had lunch if your lunch isn't on Instagram?

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Vaccine passports are standard in Germany and there is a certain logic to them, especially in a country where most people don't have GPs with a list of their vaccinations. Pet owners are used to them for when they cross borders with their pets so I can't really see why it should be that different for people.

      That said, as soon as the documents can be used to gain an edge you should expect fakes and sure enough the going rate in Germany for a fake passport with the relevant vaccination stickers is around € 150. These documents were never designed with anti-fraud measures… but give me them any time over fucking solutionist app nirvana!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      B.b.b.b.b.b.b.but SOVEREIGNTY !!!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is expected that, if the app-based concept goes ahead, it will

    require another 30Bn to develop, fail and be quietly 'retired'?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: It is expected that, if the app-based concept goes ahead, it will

      Hey, gravy trains don't run themselves you know!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So they get their ID card after all.

    And just how long will I be refused entry to locations because I don't want to get vaccinated?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      For as long as it takes until all the selfish people who don't want to be vaccinated realise that herd immunity only works if everyone who CAN be is vaccinated, and not just those who WANT to.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Charming

          Perhaps the app could also inform on whether you swear at people when you don't get your own way.

      2. EvilDrSmith

        If I recall correctly, a bit before Easter, when vaccination rates were rising and we started getting some good (well, not-so-bad) weather, the authorities took to reminding us all that we still had to obey all the lock-down restrictions because vaccination does not provide 100% immunity.

        That vaccinations are not 100% immunity is of course, 'the science', not just for COVID, but any vaccination.

        So proof of vaccination is not proof that you do not have/cannot catch/cannot transmit COVID.

        It might reasonably be argued that it's proof that you are less likely to have/catch/transmit COVID than someone that has not been vaccinated.

        At which point, we have moved into statistics and percentages of population that are immune / herd immunity.

        The authorities know how many people have been vaccinated. They know what percentage of vaccinated people are therefore immune to COVID (though of course, cannot readily distinguish the majority vaccinated and immune from the minority vaccinated but not immune). They can make whatever allowance the science says they should make for those people that are immune through having had COVID, or any other factor. They should therefore be able to establish what percentage of the population is immune, and therefore whether we have reached herd immunity levels.

        If we have reached herd immunity, vaccine passports (which, remember, prove vaccine status not immunity status) are not needed for activities within the UK: we should be back to pre-COVID normality.

        If we have not reached herd immunity, maybe we should just hang on in for a few more weeks until we have.

        Vaccination passports for international travel are clearly a separate consideration.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Multiple studies now show that people who have been fully vaccinated do not pose a significant risk of infection for others. This was expected but needed sufficient data in order to be considered validated.

          1. EvilDrSmith

            Thought I heard 47% reduction on the radio this morning, but that was probably one specific study with specific conditions.

            Agreed, there is a reported reduction in the risk of infecting others.

            But it's not a total elimination of the risk.

            So we are still in 'statistically, you are less likely to..." territory, rather than "vaccination makes you safe, 100%".

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              But it's not a total elimination of the risk.

              No, that's why herd immunity is based upon three factors: the infectiousness of the virus; the efficacy of the vaccine; and the percentage of population immunised. I should add that herd immunity is, like full employment, somewhat of a misnomer: full immunity is never possible but as long as outbreaks are self-limiting without additional interventions you've effectively there. You can refine this in the case of COVID-19 where the morbidity and mortality rates are so heavily skewed to the over 70s, which is why this group has generally been prioritised for vaccination (a significant departure from the norm). As soon as they have been vaccinated, the risk posed to the population as a whole is significantly less – this is observable in the inverse correlation between vaccination and mortality rates since mass vaccination started. And, as this is the group most at risk, there is little to be gained from placing restrictions on it.

              1. Twanky

                inverse correlation

                this is observable in the inverse correlation between vaccination and mortality rates since mass vaccination started.

                There must have been some effect other than vaccination in play when England and Wales mortality fell below normal levels from June-October 2020. It *may* be part of the reason that mortality has also been below normal levels since March 2021.

                Infection to death lead time (for those who died of the bug in the UK) has been calculated/estimated as 23 days.

                1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                  Re: inverse correlation

                  In many countries over the summer case rates and, hence, mortality rates fell, as they are doing again. This is largely down to people being outside more where the rate of infection is much lower. But when looking at the global mortality rate, ie. of the population as a whole and not of those infected, you have to take vulnerability into account and many of those who died in the first half of 2020 would most likely have died at some point in the year – most likely in the cold and flu season in the autumn and winter. The deaths were, in a sense, brought forward by a couple of months. If this sounds callous it's not meant to be: this is just an observation of well-established data. We all die at some point and respiratory diseases are one of the main causes, especially of those with pre-existing conditions where it doesn't take much to overwhelm the body. My sympathy is with everyone who has had a bereavement as a result of the pandemic.

                  What we're now seeing is possibly the inverse, with the precautions (restrictions but also vaccinations) taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 also suppressing the flu. We should at some point expect a return to the mean, though for the UK at least that might not be this year. And, unfortunately, I expect all politicians to go back on their word regarding funding for public health just as soon as it becomes politically expedient to do so: nurses and care workers will continue to be paid below average, funding for research will be cut, etc.

                  1. Twanky
                    Coffee/keyboard

                    Re: inverse correlation

                    ...precautions (restrictions but also vaccinations) taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 also suppressing the flu.

                    As far as I am aware the Covid-19 vaccines do not suppress or protect against influenza.

                    If we plot the mortality rates for England and Wales (percentage of people in each sex and age group who die in a year) over the long term we see a steady improvement over the years. In particular we see a dramatic improvement (especially among the under 1 year group) since 1947 (the inception of the NHS).

                    In 2000 the UK started offering influenza vaccines to all over 65s (previously it had been only offered to 'vulnerable' people). In 2000 the uptake of influenza vaccine among the over 65s was 65% and this has increased in the years since.

                    There is no observable improvement in annual mortality rates in any sex and age group associated with this intervention.

                    Please don't take my word for it. You can get the mortality data via the Human Mortality Database (HMD) at https://mortality.org/ (free registration required). I only looked at England & Wales data; many other countries' data is also available, so other public health interventions elsewhere could also be assessed.

                    Please don't think I'm an anti-vaxxer. I think the smallpox, polio, diphtheria, BCG, MMR and many, many other vaccines have been a huge success. I just don't think that a vaccine targeted at the elderly (ie people like *me*) is going to be particularly useful in delaying death.

                    Everyone dies eventually - it follows that everyone currently alive should be considered to be 'not dead yet'.

                    icon---> There is no escape.

                    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                      Re: inverse correlation

                      As far as I am aware the Covid-19 vaccines do not suppress or protect against influenza.

                      It certainly doesn't. My point was that AFAIK more people opted for the flu vaccine last year than usual. But, more importantly, the flu as another airborne virus was also denied many of its usual means of distribution through reduced mobility of the population. This was observable in the Southern hemisphere earlier in 2020.

                      Flu vaccines are known to be far less effective than COVID – I wonder whether this may change – not least due to mutability of the virus over the course of time, which is part of its modus operandus. Hence, sometimes we have mild seasons and sometimes (eg. 2017-2018) we have more severe ones, which we just tend to accept. The counter-factual test is difficult to demonstrate, but it could be conjectured that, with an ageing population, mortality might be expected to rise (until this becomes self-limiting). Whatever the reason: the flu season 2020-2021 hasn't really happened yet.

                      Of course, as you point out, if we don't die of the flu (this year), we will eventually die of something else. However, the main argument for vaccinations is that, like dental hygiene, they're dirt cheap compared with medical care and the potential long term effects. And then there is quality of life of the survivors.

                      The irony is, again of course, that because they're cheap the phama industry hasn't really been bothered with them: it was the university of Oxford that worked on the Adeno-based vaccine and the work on mRNA was initially done with an eye on developing treatments for conditions like MS.

            2. genghis_uk Silver badge

              <quote>Agreed, there is a reported reduction in the risk of infecting others.

              But it's not a total elimination of the risk.</quote>

              There will never be a zero risk - nothing is life is without risk, you just have to mitigate where you can and accept where you can't. Do you drive? Have you ever flown? Hell, have you ever had a few too many and thought of a 'really good idea'? Flu will kill you if you are unlucky - is that an acceptable level? Maybe a few more?

              Personally, I am looking forward to playing gigs again and going to festivals - then again I ride extreme motorbikes so my risk perception may not be the same as yours.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Anonymous Coward>And just how long will I be refused entry to locations because I don't want to get vaccinated?

      As long as the pandemic is in play. Another 18 months to 2 years I'd guess. Don't worry, we who are able/willing to get vaccinated have you covered. You're welcome.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And just how long will I be refused entry to locations because I don't want to get vaccinated

      As long as required to prove that you aren't a risk to the other people there. If you won't take precautions to be sure you're not a risk to us, why should we be forced to run the gauntlet of your cavalier attitude? It's fundamentally the same principle as the smoking ban, if you want to smoke you can do it at home, but not in public places where you put other people at risk.

      1. JackOAllTrades

        "why should we be forced to run the gauntlet of your cavalier attitude?"

        I know, you've been well trained, like a good little useful idiot. We're not ALLOWED to ask questions, we're only allowed to obey. The thing you're missing here is that a lot of people who are willing to get the vaccine aren't as willing to install a draconic tracking app and/or don't trust the government to protect their data. Especially on a website like The Register that caters to the IT Professional demographic that understands exactly how fragile and insecure the storage of that data will be.

        But I know, that little talking rectangle on your wall told you that it's all for your own good, don't ask questions, just obey.

        I'd tell you to go read 1984 and Brave New World, but they don't have a version with pictures for the bigger words.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Ah yes, you can't understand the arguments, so you attack the messenger. Sadly tyical of the anti-vaxx, anti-government brigade. Perhaps you could put the Trump manifesto down & open your mind a little?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Ah yes, you can't understand the arguments"

            I understand the argument just fine comrade, it's a stupid argument that was spoonfed to you.

            "so you attack the messenger."

            I attacked your lack of logic and reasoning skills.

            "Sadly tyical of the anti-vaxx"

            I'm not anti-vax, I'm anti-government tracking you via an app and telling you it's for your own good, there's a difference.

            "anti-government"

            Yes, because I don't like being tracked and forced to install an app on my phone, I must be anti-government, it's not like history is filled with authoritarian governments overstepping their powers and abusing their citizens, right?

            Might I suggest reading up on the classics of dictatorships like Stalin, Lenin, Hitler and Mao?

            "Perhaps you could put the Trump manifesto down & open your mind a little?"

            "Everything I disagree with is Orange Man's fault, a child's guide to internet discussions." Protip: Orange Man is no longer an issue, he's gone, you need to find a new person to blame. Might I suggest

            " open your mind a little?"

            Your self-awareness levels are showing here along with all the projection

            I think for myself and don't mindlessly believe what I am told and I certainly don't do what I'm told without asking questions about why. I'm sorry I have an above room temperature IQ and can think for myself.

            But no, please go back to pretending you're on the right side of history, I've got my popcorn ready to point and laugh and say "I told you so!" when you come crying for help in 20-30 years.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          You are the one with the logic problems. The conversation into which you've inserted your comment surrounds a particular quote. You might have seen it in the original post as well as quoted in most replies. For all I know, you might have written it. It has a similar tone to the rest of your writing, though you're both ACs. Here it is, in case you didn't:

          "And just how long will I be refused entry to locations because I don't want to get vaccinated?"

          The key words are "don't want to get vaccinated". That's quite different to "got vaccinated and have privacy concerns". So do I. It doesn't change the fact that people who don't want to get vaccinated are putting others at risk. Your response doesn't even try to argue against that. So, I see three options:

          1. You wrote the original quote, but you don't have any good arguments for it so you've switched your argument from "don't want" to "privacy concerns".

          2. You didn't write the original quote, but you wanted to support it but don't have any good arguments for it, etc.

          3. You didn't read the quote, decided to argue against a point without paying attention to what they said or what the person who they're arguing with said, and ended up out of context.

    4. rg287 Silver badge

      And just how long will I be refused entry to locations because I don't want to get vaccinated?

      For as long as it takes.

      I am generally on the side of BBW. Vaccination Passports need to be limited to significant risk events such as flying and possibly stadium/mass-gathering events for 2021/2.

      I would vociferously oppose attempts to introduce ID cards.

      But I'm almost willing to make an exception for the sheer, mind-blowing idiocy of anti-vax.

      Get jabbed chuckle-fuck. Or go and live in a commune with like-minded people and don't bother the rest of us (I hear Florida is nice. Sure we could crowd-fund a one-way ticket). Or maybe we could section all refuseniks under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 and confine you all to Inaccessible Island.

      It'd be a bigger public safety win than Patel's proposals to use Ascension as an immigration centre.

      1. Roger Mew

        I agree but the method of getting there, I suppose all on the plane could be like minded idiots, and the plane on its way to its last flight. I do not like the fact of having to do it, but what other option is there. So No jab certificate, then you are not coming into my pub, aeroplane, bar, restaurant etc it is not compulsory for me to accept you coming in!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'll help you out there. Many people will not want your custom indefinitely. Go on, show off how you don't care about other people, and see how many establishments are run by people who will return the favour.

  9. dirtygreen

    requires both data about an individual's health and, linked to it, confirmation of their identity

    I went for my second jab today, at the appointed hour that was set when I had my first jab. They couldn't find me or my reference code on the system! Luckily they agreed to vaccinate me anyway (I guess there's not a lot of motivation for old codgers to try to game the system somehow) so now I've got a paper card that says I've been vaccinated twice and that records my vaccine batch numbers. And I'm confident there's no computer-based record of it all. So how is any computer-based system going to validate that I'm vaccinated?

    I have an Android phone. I haven't downloaded any apps onto it, because that would require me to have a google account, which I don't want (and can't figure out how to create anyway). So no app-based solution is going to work for me.

    So it sounds like they will want to see my little piece of cardboard, if I haven't lost or burned it by then and haven't forged another, and make a QR code out of it somehow in order for me to be allowed to do whatever it is they say I have to be authorised to do in the brave new future.

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: requires both data about an individual's health and, linked to it, confirmation of their id...

      I have an Android phone. I haven't downloaded any apps onto it, because that would require me to have a google account, which I don't want

      <offtopic>Sideload fdroid - it has FOSS apps. No need for a Google account (and you can read the source). Although you might find it easier to just use /e/ (e.foundation) - but they only support a limited number of devices.</offtopic>

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: requires both data about an individual's health and, linked to it, confirmation of their id...

        F-Droid also has Aurora Store, which enables you to download some/most Google Play apps anonymously.

  10. BrownishMonstr

    Isn't it time we stop vaccinating our own population and ensure the majority of the world have vaccinated their over 50s?

    If we are only one of a few countries to have vaccinated all of our countrymen, then we might end up being back in full lockdown once a deadly mutant variant is back in our population, one which escapes our vaccines.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, but logic doesn't work with the daily mail and the gammons. They'll have a meltdown if they think we're helping foreigners.

      Mind you, they bang on about getting control of our borders back - about time the brexit government implement full quarantine on all entries to the UK. No exceptions.

    2. EvilDrSmith

      Good question and I don't know the answer.

      Which is more likely to lead to a vaccine-resistant strain developing:

      1. Concentrate vaccination in discrete areas, so as to suppress near-totally transmission in those areas (and thus presumably, minimising the risk of virus mutation in those areas), while the virus is largely free to spread (and mutate) elsewhere.

      2: distribute vaccines more widely, but more thinly, so that virus transmission is reduced everywhere, but at a generally lower rate, and the virus potentially encounters more people that have been vaccinated but not developed immunity over a longer time period, so may have greater potential to mutate?

      As I say, I've no idea which is correct. I've a suspicion that even the scientists couldn't say for sure.

  11. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Vaccine certificate?

    sounds a jolly good idea to me

    Take a numerical value for both covid shots.... say 11, tag along your date of birth in my case thats 6th of June 1966, tag along your NHS number. R4567892345 in my case, and my name

    NHS server then encrypts it with public/private key system, scanning terminal then takes that, fires it back to NHS server , then the server checks to see if your name matches and then sends yes/no back to terminal for your vaccination status.

    Does the app need to know more than that?

    Nope

    And for the ant-vaxx crowd out there..... I wer young I used to watch a kid walking down the street wearing calipers because of polio.

    We never see that any more.

    Ask yourselves why.

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: Vaccine certificate?

      When you get vaccinated, you are given a small piece of card that carries the date and the type of vaccine that was used. together with what looks like a reference number.

      This seems like a reasonable thing to wave at barmen, bus drivers and others who may want to know you've been vaccinated - and it doesn't carry any personal identifiers or provide any simple way of connecting the Vaccination Record to a person unless the NHS keeps a record of the reference numbers against NHI numbers as the cards are issued.

      Using it as proof of vaccination would be simple, cheap, and at least as secure as using a rail or bus travel card is. And everybody who has been vaccinated already has one, so there is no additional admin overhead or cost for using it this way.

      But, of course, Our Lords And Masters won't ever consider using it as proof of having been vaccinated: if they did, how could their assorted relatives, spouses and other hangers-on get their grubby little hands into the governmental till?

    2. Dante Alighieri Bronze badge
      FAIL

      Re: Vaccine certificate?

      Assuming that is your NHS number, many on here have legitimate and deniable access to NHS data

      Thank you for already sharing on elreg your

      name

      age

      address

      phone number

      family members

      GP

      current and all past illness

      all investigations (insurance risks)

      NI number (for a subset)

      previous addresses - no financial issues here

      no leverage into any other service here

      Fortunately sexual health de-identifies you (a bit). But the shared NHS data which is pseudoanonymised won't track back. Pinky promise.

      what's that - I caught the wrong digit searching the patient I was asked about

      Please consider adding your 16 digit credit card number, sort code, 3 digit CCN and account number to increase complexity and increase entropy... (you know the XKCD)

      For what it is worth : we will reach herd immunity in the UK prior to the issue of any internal document - as others have posted it is a waste of time, effort and money. Vaccine does not stop the requirement for some controls - distancing, hygiene etc for a considerable period.

      There will be a requirement for validation to allow travel abroad in some form.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LOL

    so many cattle eager to get branded so they can be sorted by the gov.

    The c19 variations/mutations vaccines will be coming out any day now. By the end of the year those participating will have to prove they have all of them. Lets just make it a digital Health card (on government DB) and have every vaccine listed on it that you have, if you have children, permission to have sex, enter a store, your criminal record, school record. 'Its such a mess to have more than one government DB on you. You can tie it to your bank account too.

    and If your file is hacked or corrupt, or a judge doesn't like you - to bad. The DB is your life, nothing you think or say matters. Only the DB records.

    When your done with all that, wait you don't have to do any of it - just move to Chi..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: LOL

      Back to your 8chan/kun fantasy shitposting, CAnon.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: LOL

      I suppose you feel it's your right to drive when drunk too...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: LOL

        Probably doesn't even have a licence. It infringes their FREEDOMs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: LOL

          and I use guns for eating utensils, government checks for toilet paper- keep dreaming cattle. Ohh what's that? is that your farmer calling? See you for dinner.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: LOL

            Uh-oh, it's Vanilla Isis.

  13. ecofeco Silver badge

    This was the warning

    This pandemic was the warning. The next one will not be so kind to the willfully ignorant and dangerously stupid who do not understand grade school science.

    You were warned.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This was the warning

      Yes, but it may not need to be the next one - idiots and incompetent governments are giving covid lots of time to mutate into something much more serious.

  14. jason_derp Bronze badge

    WaIt..

    This is about GDPR and legalities right? That's the concern? Some people don't seem convinced that that was the concern. Have you lead me astray, article?!

  15. fluffymitten

    Call for evidence

    It's a shame the call for evidence closed a month ago (it was only open for two weeks). I must have missed the comms from HMG inviting me to offer my tuppence worth.

  16. iced.lemonade

    A thought

    i think the critical issue about vaccine is that for different people with different health status / age / medical background, there are just so many unknowns on the side-effects of each kind of vaccine which is unconvincing to many people who are not facing severe risk of infection vs much higher risk of undocumented outcomes after taking the jab. if the supplier of the vaccine / health organization providing the jab are more transparent to the result of the ones taken the jab many more people will take the jab because they have the data, can decide to jab or not or which kind of vaccine they will take with justification based on that data. it's ultimately a matter of trust more than anything else.

    i'm from hk, and i am taking a variety of blood-sugar-regulating medications and others so i won't risk myself to the vaccine yet. everyone in the gov't here and other countries seems to tone down the consequence if you have any health problems that you may have, and unknown to you and even your family doctor, before taking the jab. for example, in my limited knowledge, people with long-term health problems, like SLE, or other people with potential issues (especially blood-vessel-related) with their heart / brain, and those aged 60 and above, are likely to have fatal or unrecoverable consequences after taking the vaccine, and the 'experts', when facing the report of such cases, routinely say something that 'they already have condition a, b, c and some of x, y, z so they are dying normally and not linked to the vaccine' and it is hardly assuring.

    1. iced.lemonade

      Re: A thought

      https://sciencenorway.no/covid19/norwegian-experts-say-deadly-blood-clots-were-caused-by-the-astrazeneca-covid-vaccine/1830510

      Transparency and openness important to build trust:

      https://sciencenorway.no/covid19-vaccines/the-astrazeneca-debate-has-not-created-anti-vaxxers-in-norway/1853379

  17. This Side Up

    NHS App?

    Do they mean the NHS app, or the widely discredited Serco Trash and Trace App?

  18. Roger Mew

    Really they cannot expect me and mine to welcome them!

    Yes its devisory, same as not being able to drive a car without a licence, or being able to go abroad with a drug offence, or not having any money means you cannot have a holiday. If a person has no certificate to prove an attempt to block the virus eg a vaccination, then we do not want them mixing with us, irrespective of where "WE" are. Be it on an aeroplane, boat, holiday village, or a pub or hotel. So to those that do not want a certificate or test, then do not be upset when told not here thanks. The easiest way will be a certificate to prove you have had the 2 jabs etc. You will need jabs also to go to certain places for other diseases to other places and a certificate. So look for the "NO CERTIFICATE! THEN NOT HERE PLEASE" It may not become mandatory but it will be obligatory to do something!

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