Uncertainty over the effectiveness of the Covid vaccines in transmitting the virus rules out the immediate likelihood of a so-called ‘Covid Passport’.
Chief Min HQ was asked in Tynwald by Jason Moorhouse MHK whether plans are being developed to produce additional travel documentation for those who have the vaccine?
Mr Quayle said there is ‘no evidence’ that the vaccines will prevent people from acting as a carrier for the virus and said that the issue of documentation for people who have had the jab is a ‘global issue’ and that the island will respond quickly to meet what standard is required for Manx residents to travel, if it was to become a requirement.
Mr Moorhouse raised the point that over the weekend, the European Commission had said that a ‘vaccination passport’ was the ‘only solution’ for the tourism sector and asked if the island is ready for this.
HQ said: ‘GPs will hold records of those vaccinated and if required for travel, it would be possible for individuals to be provided with confirmation with this when required.’
However, he said there are many complicated issues globally on what will be the standard for post Covid travel, including debate surrounding vaccine passports. These include data privacy, what form of documentation would be required and what can be done for those who can’t be vaccinated due to other issues.
Following a question from Chris Thomas MHK, HQ said there is currently no plan for the island to offer private vaccinations to allow travel to the UK but that the island ‘will of course react and respond to that to ensure our residents aren’t affected by any request from the UK’.
Claire Christian MHK also asked HQ whether, like some countries do with Yellow Fever jabs, the island would be requiring visitors to prove they have had a vaccine. He told Tynwald that while the Yellow Fever vaccine prevents transmission, there is no research that proves whether or not the Covid jab will do the same, but what when the island has the data required ‘we will adapt accordingly’ and if the Covid jab is successful in preventing transmission then it be will be a ‘game changer’ that will ‘make our lives so much easier’.
Ann Corlett MHK, who is a political member of DHSC, noted that the science is still out on whether the vaccine will be a one off or a continuous process of vaccination will be needed, so any vaccine passport decision is still reliant on results of further testing.