Britain doesn't need domestic Covid vaccine passports, SAGE psychologist says

Professor Stephen Reicher said passports wouldn't be needed if everyone was jabbed

Professor Stephen Reicher said passports wouldn't be needed if everyone was jabbed

Green-lighting domestic Covid vaccine passports would be an admission by ministers that the jab rollout is destined to fail, a Government scientist warned today. 

Professor Stephen Reicher, a top social psychologist who sits on SAGE, said forcing people to produce jab certificates to enjoy their freedoms would only make sense if not enough people were being jabbed.

But uptake of the vaccines has already exceeded the Government's most ambitious expectations, with over 90 per cent of people over-50 accepting their invitation. The rollout has already moved down to over-40s ahead of schedule.

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The St Andrew's University expert told a hearing of the All Party Parliamentary Group on coronavirus today that the Government would be 'setting itself up for failure' if it went down the domestic vaccine path. 

He told MPs: 'It would be an acknowledgement that we aren't getting enough people vaccinated.' 

'Logically, you don't need a vaccine passport if everyone is vaccinated. You need a vaccine passport only when there is limited uptake.'

Professor Reicher warned that a really strict jab certification regime could undermine the immunisation programme and lead to more people refusing a jab.

He said would make voluntary jabs mandatory by proxy and create resentment and anger among the public. 

Professor Reicher warned that compelling people would lead to a significant number turning it down out of protest.  

'There is a very traditional, well-known psychological process called reactance: that if you take away people's autonomy.

'If you force them to do something, they will reassert their autonomy, even if that means not doing things that they would otherwise want to do.

'Making something compulsory, or at least doing something which leaves the perception of compulsion can actually undermine activities which otherwise people would do and might even want to do.'

Boris Johnson promised that the vaccine programme alone would be the country's ticket to freedom and insisted the Government was committed to avoiding a compulsory system.   

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Covid vaccine passports have already been confirmed for when foreign travel resumes on May 17 but exactly how they'll be deployed domestically remains unknown.

The PM has ruled out using them for going to the pub or supermarket but the Government is currently trialling a similar system for larger events such as concerts, sports matches and club nights.

Under that system, people are allowed in so long as they can prove some form of Covid immunity - either by a recent negative test, proof that they've previously had and recovered from the virus or evidence of vaccination.   


MPs, businesses and pubs and restaurants are calling for lockdown to end sooner after just one Covid death was recorded yesterday.

Even 'Professor Lockdown' is now optimistic that vaccines will squash the UK's third wave of coronavirus and life in Britain will 'feel a lot more normal by the summer'.

Neil Ferguson, the SAGE adviser and Imperial College London epidemiologist whose grim death toll predictions led Britain into its first lockdown last year, said today that he expects the vaccine rollout to help keep the UK out of lockdown for good.

His comments will be seized upon by the Tory MPs calling for England's ultra-cautious roadmap to normality to be sped up. The PM has so far refused to budge in the face of calls for more freedom, with restrictions set to stay in place until June 21 — touted as England's independence day.

Sir Robert Syms, Tory MP for Poole in Dorset, yesterday said: 'We need to push the Government to get on with it. A lot of

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