‘Absolutely No Evidence’ Vaccine Passports Boosted Uptake in Scotland: Government Adviser

By Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.
November 22, 2021 Updated: November 22, 2021

No evidence suggests vaccine passports have increased the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines in Scotland, a government adviser said on Sunday.

Stephen Reicher, a psychology professor who’s in the Scottish government’s COVID-19 Advisory Group and the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said the increase rate of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccinations in Scotland has been “exactly the same as in England,” where there are no mandatory domestic vaccine passports.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Sept. 1 that adults would have to be fully vaccinated to enter nightclubs and large events from October.

The stated purposes of excluding evidence of natural immunity and negative tests in the vaccine passport scheme were to avoid undermining “one of the policy aims of the scheme, which is to increase vaccine uptake,” and to prevent limited PCR lab capacity from being overwhelmed.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland’s Sunday Show, Reicher said “the [vaccination] curves are exactly the same as in England where they didn’t have passports.”

”When you look at the evidence in Scotland, there’s actually absolutely no evidence that vaccine passports increased the rate of take-up. It’s exactly the same as in England,” he said.

The psychology professor said the policy would deepen the scepticism among those who are suspicious of the vaccination campaign.

“The problem is that for people who are sceptical, for people who think vaccines are about controlling you, then actually they become more negative and so you create a larger pool of people who become defiant and resistant,” he said.

“And what’s more, you give traction to those arguments of political bodies who are saying vaccines are about controlling you.”

Reicher said the policy did bring about “an immediate surge” in Austria and France because the European countries have a portion of the population he called “vaccine indifferent”—people who have “nothing against vaccines” but “just haven’t got round to it.”

An evidence paper published by the Scottish government on Friday said evidence suggested that “there has been a relatively slight impact on uptake of vaccination” in Scotland since Sept. 1, adding the “rate of overall increase in first and second doses [of CCP virus vaccines] has been similar” across the UK’s four nations.

The paper also said that rates of vaccination uptake for 18- to 29-year-olds between Sept. 1 and Nov. 16 were similar in Scotland and England.

However, it went on to say extending the scheme to more settings may make it more useful in reducing infection by boosting vaccine uptake in older populations and leading to “a better understanding of the fact that the pandemic is still with us and continues to present a current threat.”

Sturgeon is expected to announce her decision on Tuesday on whether the scheme will expand to include cinemas, theatres, and some other premises, and whether evidence of negative tests will be added as an acceptable condition to enter the premises.

A Scottish government spokesman said ministers “are being open about all the options available to us that may be required to protect the public.”

“No decisions have been made and Parliament will be informed if and when any decisions are reached. We continue to liaise closely with stakeholders including the hospitality sector,” the spokesman said.

Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.