There has been a growing movement in favour of vaccine passports and they are currently – under the name of Covid-status certificates – being considered by the Government as a means “of reopening the economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety”. Today we’re publishing an original piece by a post-doc in the arts at a Russell Group university who argues that vaccine passports violate the principle of free and informed consent, as set out in the Nuremberg Code. Here are the opening paragraphs:
I once read a children’s story about a princess who wanted to write a book. Unfortunately, she couldn’t write, and sales were disappointingly low. The king then announced (I quote from memory):
that the people must have their choice. And so he issued a proclamation which gave all citizens a choice of:
a) Buying a copy of the princess’s book
b) Going to prison for one year
Buying a bad book and receiving a vaccination are different things, and prison has not yet been proposed for those who do not receive a COVID-19 vaccine. But that children’s story wittily makes the point that any tyranny could be justified by a certain definition of ‘choice’, and I recalled it when I read Guy de la Bédoyère’s recent article on this site:
‘“I’ll lay my cards on the table. I am going to be vaccinated as soon as I can. That is my choice, and I am glad that it is my choice.
“I accept for example that in order to protect other people I needed to learn to drive and to have a driving licence to prove it. Similarly, I accept the normal passport as a means of proving who I am and protecting me and everyone else from maniacs and others not entitled to come to this country. I also accept that there are consequences of making choices. If I choose not to have a driving licence, then I would have to accept I cannot drive on a public road. And I doubt if anyone would want me to. If I chose freely not to have a passport then I would not be allowed to travel. So, I have no problem with the notion of vaccine choice as another facet of choice with consequences. I grew up at a time when large numbers of children had polio, a disease that gradually dwindled away as a result of the vaccine program.
“That is all about freedom of choice…“
Here I attempt to lay out the basic case against the ‘vaccination certificates’ currently suggested, by various people, for everything from international travel to shopping. These proposals differ qualitatively as well as in degree.
Not a driving licence
Justifying comparisons along the lines of driving licences or hard hats do not resolve the issue, because there is a qualitative difference: this is not a proficiency test or a piece of clothing, it is a medical procedure.
That medical procedures require the explicit and free consent of the individual concerned, is accepted by legal authorities and international bodies.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Israel has already rolled out a vaccine passport scheme which operates through an app. It’s a bit of a disaster, according to a recent report in Hareetz, and might not even do the job for which it was designed:
Cryptographers and information security experts who examined the official mobile app for Israel’s “Green Pass”, a Government-validated certificate for Israelis who have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine, have found a string of flaws that pose a threat to its functionality. …
Initially the app was supposed to be extremely simple and quick but the final product, experts and users says, is heavy and slow, taking up a large amount of memory. Moreover, the choice to use closed (as opposed to open) source code and the lack of involvement by security and privacy specialists has also caused concern among developers. Security experts and cryptographers who examined the app’s code have discovered several problems that cast doubts on the reliability of its verification that someone has been vaccinated.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press 2: Vaccine passports are only a temporary solution and should die out in due course, according to André Rogaczewski, Chief Executive of Netcompany, which has received contracts to develop a certification system. Andrew Bud, Chief Executive of iProov, which is also working on certification, is less sure: “If, on the other hand, Covid continues to flare up and become more transmissible, it’s possible that . . . vaccine certificates will be a routine part of daily life.”
Stop Press 3: The Adventure Island theme park in Southend-on-Sea has adopted what might well turn out to be a winning recruitment strategy: An absolute rejection of ‘No Jab, No Job’, as the Southend Echo reports.
James Miller, Operations Director at Adventure Island, told the Echo: “Let there be no misunderstanding. Adventure Island is not against taking the jab nor are we encouraging people not to have it.
“Both my Dad (Philip Miller) and my cousin Marc, Managing Director, have taken the vaccine, so our position has nothing to do with the jab itself.
“It is the bullying, peer pressure, invasion of privacy, and the fact that it is not our right to tell people what to do with their bodies, that we cannot condone as a company.”
Watch James Miller’s interview with Mike Graham on talkRADIO here.