A while ago, a friend told me “these politicians never think anything through these days, do they?”. And whilst my friend is indisputably correct with his observation, it also suggests there was a time when politicians, in fact, did think things through. It’s a curious notion to entertain on this Friday afternoon, but I digress.
Vaccine passports are the current idea that politicians haven’t bothered to think through. They’re utterly pointless. If Covid vaccines stopped you from catching the illness or passing it on to someone else, I could see some merit in the idea – as much as the prospect of having to verify your medical history to get into the likes of a restaurant makes me baulk.
But they don’t. Whilst the Covid-19 vaccine does provide protection against the virus, it’s not total. So this renders vaccine passports an irrelevance. As I wrote a while ago, a Spanish court previously ruled they could actually increase the rates of transmission – because a person who’s Covid positive but doesn’t know it yet could enter a venue with their vaccine passport and transmit it.
This, of course, hasn’t stopped politicians in Northern Ireland from becoming the latest to agree to the introduction of mandatory vaccine passports. This means they join Scotland, Wales, the Republic of Ireland, France, Germany and numerous other European nations in insisting on proof of vaccination to enter places like nightclubs.
One of my Twitter contacts was speaking to me about this very subject this week and estimated if you took Covid patients out of the equation, NHS hospitals in Northern Ireland would already be running at around 97% of available capacity already – and it’s only November. Which suggests to me the real problem in the province is a failure to invest properly in the NHS frontline over a period of many years.
The only question now is what Northern Ireland will do when vaccine passports inevitably fail to bring the numbers down. Several EU countries, including the Republic of Ireland, have them in place – but case numbers are rocketing in many. We’re in for one hell of a long winter…