MP Robert Halfon issues statement on voting against vaccine passport
News / Wed 15th Dec 2021 at 10:44am
Statement by Harlow MP Robert Halfon
“TO be clear, I am absolutely supportive of the vaccine programme and encourage everyone to get jabbed and boosted.
“Last night I voted against the Government’s plans to implement a COVID vaccine passport because I felt it was wrong for both moral and practical reasons.
“In the UK, it is unprecedented to ask people to show their medical papers before entering a venue. There are also people who have not yet had the vaccine – either because they are waiting to see what happens, they may have a phobia of needles or a disability of some sort, or they have made the personal choice not to have one.
“I don’t believe these people should be discriminated against in any way.
“The public should be encouraged to get the vaccine with an accompanying education programme about the health benefits from the Government.
“Practically, I felt that the Government proposals will not work. Vaccine passports have not stopped the spread of COVID in many other countries where they have been introduced.
“Moreover, if they are required at a large venue where a number of people refuse, such as a football match for example, what would happen? Would they be arrested? Legally speaking, would this even be possible? And I worry that at best, a situation like this may cause a disturbance, but at worst, it could lead to a more serious riot, as happened in Wembley stadium a few months ago.
“Even if someone has had the vaccine, whilst it definitively reduces the negative health impacts of COVID, it is still possible for people to pass on the virus, albeit unknowingly. Surely the better option would be to require them to continue to take lateral flow tests ahead of a gathering or social occasion?
“Many institutions are already asking individuals to take these tests before entering and there doesn’t seem to be a problem with this.
“Whilst of course we must do everything to protect people from COVID, I do think that the restrictions will have unintended consequences. We’ve seen a huge rise in mental health problems and issues with people unable to see their GP or Consultant regarding anything from minor illnesses to more serious conditions such as cancer.
“Moreover, the impacts of the outbreak of COVID on children have been significant including widening the educational attainment gap, a worsening mental health crisis, an increased risk of safeguarding hazards and damage to their life chances.
“We have to try and return to a normal society sooner rather than later, but again, encourage as many people as possible to get vaccinated.”
Thank you for voting against the motion. Personal freedom is an essential part of democracy.
Thank you Robert I know it cannot have been easy, but vaccine passports have not worked wherever tried and are discriminatory as the PCAC stated. Your point regarding testing is spot on. The vaccine reduces bad outcomes but does not stop spreading (it is not sterilising like many of our injections we have a children), there is 1% difference between vaccinated and un vaccinated (24% vs 25%). The sensible thing to do to limit spread is actually focus on fast testing regardless of vaccination status and if you are feeling not quite right isolate
Passports in France have boosted uptake which can only be a good thing. Passports are easy to get and if people are worried about any delays or gaps then let's go to insisting on both an updated lateral flow and a passport. Vaccination has been the most successful ways of combating disease ever. It's been around for 200 years and is safe, infinitely safer than getting the disease. I don't think anyone has the right to a freedom to infect and kill others when they can take the jabs and sort documentation , (or they could lock themselves away: why should the majority of us have to stay at home?) Ask your grandmother or great grandparents about the millions that died from diseases we now have vaccines against. Measles, meningitis, TB, flu polio, smallpox killed or seriously disabled children and adults. Virtually every family lost close family members, brothers, sisters, mums and dads: it was common place. I can't believe people don't understand the science these days. We look at America and the 2nd Amendment, that gives even teenagers acces and the right to carry lethal weapons, guns and think how obviously stupid this is, not taking these simple measures in the uk on the same grounds of "freedom " is the stupid equivalent to the argument used by the gun lobby there. Freedom is part of a social contract not a right to put others in avoidable danger. None of us will be free until the world is vaccinated and instead of MPs huffing and puffing about measures that are being put in place to avoid lockdown should be taking measures to make vaccination universal.
I support passports and I’m unvaccinated. I don’t go anywhere other than home and work, I have no contact with any other person other than myself. I am no risk to anyone nor is anyone a risk to me. When I work, I encounter maybe 3 people who come to collect goods and that’s it. Those 3 people are to wait outside, I bring them their items through a hatch and they go. That’s that. The people I hear spreading the virus are those who think they’re immune to catching it. Aka - the vaccinated. If anything, the downside I’ve witnessed both first hand and heard stories about is that the vaccination makes people complacent and careless in their approach to handling day to day situations. Say what you want, but the passport is a good idea - and somehow, people like Robert Halfon who are playing both sides seem to get the best results they’re waiting for. Ridiculous.
It is also unprecedented to ask people to show voter photo ID when voting. There will be people who, for various reasons, will not have the ID required but do have the right to vote. Does RH believe these people should be discriminated against and have their right to vote taken away? Will RH also be voting against the voter photo ID requirement? Or does RH believe that the risk causing a "super spreader event" is somehow less than the risk of voter ID fraud? There has been many examples of spreader events, but the number of voter ID fraud at the last election was miniscule.
Thank you Robert for standing strong and your comments reflect well the current situation.
I personally think not supporting a vaccine passport is absurd. Does anyone think we would be in a better place now had vaccines not been rolled out a year ago. Anything that enables us all to lead a normal life, in my view, has to be supported. so the unvaccinated have a choice (and I appreciate that some cannot have the vaccine)-have the vaccine and be free to join the great majority or don't have it and keep yourself away from the great, intelligent, majority. Robert's view bemuses me. He was a remainer (freedom of movement included), than a leaver (reduce freedom) now he supports freedom. He also doesn't acknowledge that driving cars contributes to pollution and traffic congestion (at least, he wants lower fuel costs which I think leads to more car use). Robert, you do some good stuff, eg apprenticeships and education but not supporting your leader who is responsible for your large majority is very questionable
Thank you for voting in this way. You are obviously not alone, as we all heard on the news. I am so shocked that we are still not being allowed to see the real effects around the world and the millions of people against this that protest every week. Vaccinated or not it can still be passed on and caught by all, so why discriminate against some. By the way I am not anti vax but like freedom of choice.
Well done Mr Halfon. Vaccine passports are pointless. The vaccinated are just as likely to become infected and spread infection as the unvaccinated. Common sense in these hysterical times has prevailed. Bravo.
Well done 👏 Robert!! Vaccine passports do nothing to stop a spread of a respiratory virus! You can still catch covid and pass it on if you’ve had the vaccine! It’s ridiculous to propose that by scanning into venues it might have an impact on the spread … Seriously! I don’t like the idea of my every move being tracked like I’m China! It’s a slippery slope towards a social credit system! No thanks - I do appreciate Robert!
To a fellow Bob, you've done a great job ! The key point, as you and other comments here say, is that vaccines do not stop you catching it and passing it on. Like Typhoid Mary, those who think they are now immune, and may not feel unwell, could be passing it on unknowingly. Also, remember clapping for the NHS, the heroes who deserved so much praise? Well now they are going to be forced to get vaccinated or lose their job. Nice reward that for their efforts. Getting jabbed won't protect their patients in any way, if anything it puts them at more risk.
It seems many people are missing the point. It's not necessarily about transmission being reduced. Yes both vaccinated and no vaccinated can catch and transmit covid but your risk of serious illness and death is vastly reduced by being vaccinated. This in turn reduces the risk of the health service being overwhelmed. These anti vaccine passport MPs are a disgrace and the votes in Parliament demonstrate their callousness and disregard for the great British public. Robert Halfon should be ashamed but his continual self justification for both voting rarely against his government and in the main for his government against the interests of the ordinary men and women of Harlow shows the hypocrisy of the man.