The UK’s “roadmap” to easing lockdown restrictions has been met with much fervour, as the British people now finally have preliminary dates for when lockdown might be able to ease and normality can return. For dance music fans, the biggest part of this news is a return of festivals and nightclubs as of June 21, with the almost sacred pilgrimage to Ibiza looking like a possibility. The key to this return is vaccinations, with the UK leading the way in their national roll-out, but the issue of “vaccine passports/certificates” whereby someone will have to prove they’ve had their jab before taking part in certain activities, has quickly become a political issue.
Firstly, the UK government have made clear that vaccination will not be mandatory in the UK, and their position on this has not changed. The evidence for vaccines being safe and effective is growing by the day, with zero evidence that vaccines are in any way dangerous, with plenty of data now suggesting they not only prevent serious illness and death, but also that they have a strong effect on preventing transmission. The UK’s roadmap to reopening society has vaccination as one of its key pillars when it comes to returning to normal, so the message is clear – you are not required to have one, but the more people take up the offer when it is their turn, the quicker we can return to normality.
Yet the issue of vaccine passports/certificates is still high on the political agenda. In terms of “passports” this is similar to how a regular passport works – no UK citizen is required to own a passport, but you wouldn’t be able to travel to another country without one. Much the same story with vaccine passports – while it is not something being mandated by the UK government, other countries can require proof of vaccination before allowing entry, much as many countries have for decades for the likes of yellow fever. Various countries are already planning this, with Spain and Greece – both popular holiday destinations for UK tourists, and the former of course being the home to Ibiza – have said they are planning such systems, and it seems the EU are keen to roll out this idea across the entire bloc. Given strict controls on entry in places such as China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, and countless other nations across the world during the pandemic, it would seem the lesson of the Covid-19 pandemic is going to mean vaccine passports will become the norm when it comes to international travel, for the medium term at least.
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