Considering that I have had both jabs already I thought a vaccine passport could be handy for traveling to Europe. It seemed rather discriminatory at first as not everyone can or wants to have the jab and some just were not offered both jabs yet, but it seemed promising at first.
The thing is: I am vaccinated. Europe at first suggested they will welcome anyone coming from the UK with the vaccine passport. BUT it’s unsure now due to the stance of Germany and the current increase of the Delta variant in the UK.
The thing is, I have aging parents in Europe. I last saw them in the autumn of 2019. As I was leaving I promised to come back to see them again in the spring 2020. But it still did not happen as the pandemic made it difficult.
I nearly went there in summer 2020 as it was possible for a while, however, in that possible window, we [anon and their partner] finally succeeded in our bid for accommodation. The move on was and still is a very good thing, but we had to move on the council’s terms. That meant moving suddenly while the place was not yet ready. By the time we moved and settled at least a bit, the cases started creeping up and my usual travel by bus across the whole of Europe become unsafe and downright impossible again.
So I promised to come to see them in spring 2021. By then, it got even more complex with the complications caused by Brexit. Nevertheless there was another lock-down. That is now ending, but travel still appears very confusing and insecure. 2 weeks quarantine on both sides or even one side? Expensive tests on both sides? I just cannot afford that and it can be imposed suddenly and at short notice on any traveller.
So the original idea of unrestricted travel with a vaccine passport, for me at least, does not look so bad after all. But will this happen? Nobody is completely sure. And it just does not look as straightforward as I was hoping for any more.
Additionally, I wanted to hold a solid document for a vaccine passport. A letter, such as suggested by Malta, would do actually. I do not have NHS app and I am not really keen on it and do not even know how to use it. I also cannot be sure about my phone, as I can never know if the battery would die just before the border crossing (possible after 16 hours on the bus) or if there would be no signal for my network. The question is how do you provide your documents including a vaccine passport via a phone that is switched off due to a flat battery? Would a solid piece of paper laminated to keep it water and tamper proof not be a better option? For me it certainly would.
And then another thing – the issue of using a Covid passport within the UK. Would I like to show a document with my health information, my name and age to be looked at every time I may want to have a coffee at a coffee shop? No, definitely not. But nowadays people are expected to swipe their NHS app to go anywhere at all, even to Costa.
Result? I do not go to have a coffee or food anywhere. In fact this all puts me off and I just avoid going anywhere and mostly avoid leaving the house all together just in case I would need to go and sit down somewhere or needed to use the toilet. So sadly I am in a kind of self-imposed quarantine to keep myself safe, but also to avoid the stress about using any apps or being suddenly asked to isolate.
However, when it comes to a vaccine passport it is rather discriminatory against those who do not have it and in a way also to those who do. Would I really like to show how old I was? No! And any ID such as the vaccine passport would very likely show too much of our information. Would I like to show my details to every receptionist, waiter or similar? No. It nearly looked like this would not be happening, but now it is not so sure as each establishment will make their own rules with apps and similar as far as I understand.
However, on the other hand the possibility of having to have a test every time I would go anywhere is putting me off even more. And the possibility of being suddenly turned away. No! It’s too anxiety provoking. I guess I am in a self-imposed quarantine for now. But for how long? Is it for ever? Will I never see my parents, will I never again set my foot into any night club ever? I’m not sure and I really hope it will pass.
So all in all a tangible vaccination passport made of laminated paper would be would be the better option for me. But of course this is not the case for everyone so perhaps the answer to the question over which form the passport should take is to give people a choice. People could chose to have a laminated paper document, an app or both.