A bipartisan group of British lawmakers said on Saturday that they were “not at all convinced” that the COVID-19 certification for domestic use should be introduced, and called on the government to scrap the plan.
The British government launched a review in March on the idea of introducing ‘COVID status certification’ to decide whether it is an appropriate tool to help reopen the economy.
But in his latest report, the PACAC (Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee) in the House of Commons said that the government “so far has not succeeded in making the scientific matter in favor of the system” and its decision-making on the issue was “largely arbitrary.”
William Wragg, a Conservative MP who chairs the committee, said ‘COVID passports are not the answer’ as the government formulates a safe way to end the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus lockdown.
“We are not at all convinced of the case for its launch. Although it is a tool that is sold and built with the aim of being to the universal benefit, it can do great damage socially and economically.
“As vaccine statistics show, any COVID certification system would discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or age,” he said.
The report emphasizes that many social groups “can be excluded from participating in parts of the economy and society, as it reopens under a certification system.”
Wragg also questions the value of the planned certification regime. In light of the government’s much-coveted “success” with the introduction of the vaccine, he said, the system would be “expensive to set up to reduce yields quickly.”
‘Honestly, the government should remove any idea of the introduction of COVID passports. ‘They are unnecessary and there is no justification for them in science, nor any in logic,’ he said.
The MPs’ report also raised concerns about privacy and data protection issues that could arise if the certification system is adopted.
“Witnesses to the investigation told the committee that the database not only contained sensitive personal information linked to medical records, but that it could also be open to hacking,” the report said.
The report also suggested that the government may have acted disrespectfully against parliament when it agreed to a COVID-19 certificate for international travel.
G7 health ministers last week agreed on the need to work together to develop ‘mutual recognition of test and vaccination certificates across countries’.
But the committee said the launch of a COVID certificate for international travel without notifying or consulting parliament “could be seen as contempt of parliament and this committee.”
Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove, who is leading the review, said earlier the benefits of a vaccine passport scheme were “finely balanced.”
A government spokesman said a review of the evidence surrounding the COVID-19 certification was still ongoing.
PA contributed to this report.