Vaccine passports: Government criticised by Mark Harper
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Appearing on talkRADIO on Tuesday, the MP for the Forest of Dean set about a furious dismissal of the Government’s plans to implement the passports despite efforts to encourage MPs to back the plans. He complained how the passports do not help in preventing the spread of the Delta variant of Coronavirus and rendered the plans as making “no sense”. It comes as vaccine passports in nightclubs and other indoor venues in England will be required at the end of September according to the vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi. Mr Zahawi said it was the right time to start the scheme for sites with large crowds as by then all over-18s will have been offered two vaccinations.
Mr Harper, who is Chairman of the Covid Recovery Group, explained that there were two reasons why he will vote against the possible plans penned by the government.
The first being that he believes the passports are “discriminatory” explaining that due to lower vaccination uptakes in different communities in the UK, thousands will be simply prevented from participating in society if the passports are voted in.
He added that the second reason was that they were “ineffective” in preventing the transmission of the delta variant.
The Forest of Dean MP suggested: “Against the Delta variant which is very transmissible, they don’t make a lot of sense!
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“We know the vaccines are incredibly effective at stopping you from becoming seriously ill and tragically ill.
“They are very good at stopping transmission, they are not as good at stopping you from getting it (Coronavirus) and giving it to something else.”
Mr Harper added that as a result vaccine passports “simply don’t make sense” and questioned why they were necessary at all.
He went on to call on the Labour Party to stand up against the motion and follow the lead of the Scottish Labour Party who are planning to oppose the rollout of vaccine passports in Scotland.
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Mr Harper slammed: “I hope the Labour Party here gets a bit of backbone and Keir Starmer does what he is paid to do as leader of the opposition and votes against them as well!”
The Conservative was then asked whether he supported a so-called “firebreak lockdown” which ministers and members from SAGE are reportedly considering implementing over the October half-term.
It would see the UK plunged into another lockdown to combat rising infections and ease the burden on the NHS but Mr Harper slammed such a move as not necessary and insisted the country continues to carry on without the need for more lockdowns.
It comes as vaccine passports will be required in nightclubs and other indoor venues by the end of September as vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi stressed he would ensure the economy could remain open.
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Speaking to the Andrew Marr Show, he said: “The best way we can keep those industries open in my view, in our view, is to work with the industry.
“One thing that we have learnt is that in large gatherings of people, especially indoors, the virus tends to spike and spread.”
Mr Zahawi also indicated the government’s plans to offer a Covid booster jab to most vulnerable people – including all over-50s – could get the go-ahead this month.
And he said extending the vaccine rollout to all 12-15 year-olds would “absolutely” be the right thing to do if the UK’s chief medical officers recommended it.
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