Over 220,000 Britons have signed a petition against the introduction of coronavirus vaccine passports, potentially forcing Parliament to publicly debate the merits of such a scheme.
The petition warns that vaccine passports would limit the rights of people who haven’t or can’t have, or refused a Covid-19 vaccine. Such government-enabled discrimination would be “unacceptable”, those behind the claim said. At the time of publication, the petition had attracted 222,000 signatures.
The petitioners demanded, therefore, that the government commits “to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public.”
Westminster Hall debates on public petitions had been suspended during the lockdown, supposedly to help Members of Parliament social distance. That was reversed this week, however, as Parliament voted Thursday to restore the process for the first time in months.
Under the terms of the government’s petition system, 10,000 signatures earns a response on the matter from the government. Once the signatures hit 100,000, the matter becomes eligible for a debate in Parliament itself. This petition means Parliament will likely debate vaccine passports for the first time.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he would be tasking Cabinet Minister Michale Gove with heading up the government’s research on the logistics of a vaccine passport system. The appointment has raised some eyebrows, given Mr Gove himself stridently denied that the government was planning to introduce health passes as recently as December.
Asked on live television whether Britons would need a pass to go to the pub, Gove gave a one-word answer: “no.”