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Vaccine passports: the good and bad

A look at Aberdeen Uni students’ take on the ‘vaccine passport’ system

By Skye MacDonald

Graphic courtesy of Tumisu from Pixabay

On the 1st of October, the Scottish Government is bringing in the so called ‘vaccine passport’ scheme: a system where you have to prove your double vaccination status to have entry into large events or nightclubs. According to the BBC, this scheme is so to “allow events to go ahead despite surging cases of Covid-19, to avoid re-imposing wider restrictions, and to encourage the uptake of the vaccine in younger people." The system was voted in by MPs and will exclude those who have medical reasons to not be fully vaccinated. However, those who have opted not to take the Covid-19 vaccination will not be allowed access to events, where, for example, there are more than 500 unseated people indoors. While the vaccination passports are seen as another step forward into a post-pandemic normality, we can argue that questions of human freedom to choose vaccination status also arise. Curious to find out what students at Aberdeen University think, I released a google form in which 28 people responded.

Out of the 28 people who filled in the survey, 25 were double dosed, 2 were single dosed and 1 person unvaccinated.

The first question I asked in concern with the passport system was whether the person agreed with it or not. The results revealed twelve people voting yes, and equally, twelve saying “to an extent”, three answering with no and one being unsure. Further on I asked for overall thoughts on the vaccination passport and how it affects them. While there was a lot of positive responses - particularly to do with feeling more reassured in large events - one point which was highlighted multiple times was the lack of having to show a negative covid test before the events. One person wrote: “I would be more comfortable at large events and crowds, if I knew everyone attending is either vaccinated or have recently been tested.” This is an important point, as in line with what another response said, Covid still spreads despite being vaccinated.

One person argued that they think the passport scheme will be an incentive for people to get the vaccine, but it will make the ones who won't even angrier and it will cause a great and maybe even aggressive divide. This leads to the next poll, where I asked whether people believed the vaccine passport to be a form of discrimination. To this, fifteen people said no, ten said to an extent, two said yes and one was unsure. Someone wrote:

“If the "pass" wasn't just about your vaccination status, but could be substituted with tests, e.g., 24/48 hours before the event you are attending, I think it would be less discriminating. It could be seen as more of a precaution, since the virus is still here and circulating. While respecting people's freedom of choice when it comes to vaccination.”

When it comes to attending large events, fifteen people said that they are more inclined to do so because of the vaccination passports, while nine said maybe and four said no. We could argue that this emphasises that the vaccine passports are somewhat of a good incentive for aspects of normality to resume. However, from the comments made it has been signified greatly that many students see a negative test result for Covid-19 pre-event as a better form of controlling the virus. Overall, the opinions on the vaccine passport system were pretty varied amongst the students who took the poll, signifying that like other parts of the pandemic, the systems can be experimental, and it is not until they are enforced that we shall see whether they work or not.


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