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The imposition of vaccine passports is likely to make hesitant people even more reluctant to be vaccinated against Covid, research involving more than 16,000 people shows, as Downing Street pledged to move the plan forward within a period of time. ‘a month.

Boris Johnson announced in July that the government would make it mandatory for nightclubs and other crowded indoor places to ensure that patrons have been fully vaccinated before allowing them entry.

No details have yet been released, suggesting the plan would be scrapped amid a backlash from backbench MPs and conservative business groups. But the prime minister’s official spokesperson said on Tuesday that there had been no change in policy.

“We have outlined our intention to require vaccination for nightclubs and certain other parameters. We will communicate in the coming weeks with details on this subject, ”he said.

In addition to helping protect clubbers from the virus, the move aims to boost vaccine uptake – but research, which will be published in the Lancet journal EClinicalMedicine this month, suggests it could be counterproductive among the hardest to reach groups.

The survey was carried out in April when most people were not vaccinated or had only received one dose of the vaccine. He suggested that groups least likely to get vaccinated – including young people, non-white ethnicities and non-English speakers – also view vaccine passports less positively.

“This creates a risk of creating a divided society in which the majority are relatively safe but there remain pockets of inferior vaccination where epidemics can still occur,” the authors wrote in the paper, which is currently in prepublication form.

The analysis covered 16,527 people, of whom 14,543 had not yet received the two doses of the vaccine. Among this group, the vast majority (87.8%) indicated that their decision to get stung would not be affected by the introduction of passports.

However, of the remaining 12.2%, about two-thirds suggested they would be less likely to be vaccinated if passports were introduced, while the rest said they would be more prone. Vaccine passports were viewed less negatively by this group if they were only required for international travel rather than domestic use.

Lead author Dr Alex de Figueiredo of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said these percentages become significant when applied to the general population.

Younger age groups, black British ethnicities (compared to white people) and non-English speakers were more likely to express a lower propensity to get vaccinated if passports were introduced. Although these groups represent a relatively small proportion of the UK population, they cluster together geographically and tend to be less inclined to get vaccinated in the first place.

Evidence that imposing vaccine passports could have the opposite behavioral effect of that intended by ministers will strengthen the hand of Conservative backbenchers determined to push back the plan if it is passed in the House of Commons.

Labor has also expressed concerns, suggesting that a system that includes Covid testing as an alternative to vaccination would be a better approach as fully bitten individuals can still catch and transmit the virus.

Research into the behavioral effects of vaccine passports suggests the program triggers social divide, said Professor John Drury, a participant in the Sage Behavioral Science Advisory Subcommittee, who spoke in his personal capacity and was not involved in the investigation.

“Not only would vaccination passports create an exclusion, but this exclusion would be structured by existing inequalities. One need only look at the data on people who have not yet been vaccinated to understand this: young people, the poor, ethnic minorities are at risk of being excluded.

The negative impact of vaccine passports – once the underlying intention to get stung was factored into the investigation – was found disproportionately among men and highly educated people. It is not known why, said de Figueiredo.

The study echoes historical data which suggests that those who are already medically disenfranchised will not be made more receptive to jabs by the introduction of more coercive measures, according to Caitjan Gainty, senior lecturer in the history of science, of Technology and Medicine at King’s College London. , who did not participate in the survey.

Another problem with vaccine passports, especially in light of the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus, is their weak scientific basis, scientists say. Someone who is double-bitten is always half as likely to be infected as an unvaccinated person, notes Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia.

Many people will have been vaccinated to regain their freedoms, but with high rates of breakthrough infections, it is not impossible that freedoms can be taken away or made contingent on further doses, de Figueiredo adds. “This could be quite problematic because people can get tired of it, can start to refuse vaccines, and it is not unlikely that it will rub off on other vaccinations.”

The vaccine passport proposals have been met with skepticism by the UK nightclub industry, which warns it could harm their recovery, while representatives of the live music industry have expressed preference for the requirement. current entry for most venues and festivals – which allows the choice of providing proof of double-vaccination or recovery from Covid or a negative test.

Vaccination passport schemes introduced abroad have evolved in different directions and elicited different reactions. In France, tens of thousands of people demonstrated against a health subscription allowing access to restaurants, bars, planes and trains. The government this week extended the mandate to certain categories of personnel.

The Danish system of “coronapas” has been operational since April but is abandoned from September 10, the authorities believing that the virus is no longer a “critical threat” to society. Bars, cafes, restaurants, museums and tattoo artists have been opened to anyone who may have a negative test result less than 72 hours old, or a completed vaccination, using a digital certificate.

Israel, which has been at the forefront of the jab deployment, has had a “green pass” for much of the year. He released an app in February showing whether people have been fully vaccinated against Covid or have suspected immunity after contracting the disease.

A QR code system introduced in China last year has classified people into different colors, with green allowing them to move around freely if QR codes are requested in public areas for entry.


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