There has been little evidence supporting the effectiveness of COVID passes so far, a British statistics expert said.
Jamie Jenkins, former head of health analysis and labour market analysis at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), told NTD on Thursday that he saw “very little evidence” that shows the COVID passes are “having any effect at all.”
Based in Wales, Jenkins argues that if boosting the COVID-19 vaccine uptake has been the purpose, the COVID passes didn’t appear to have worked.
“If you track the figures in Wales, we haven’t seen really any change at all in the percentage of people who are coming forward to take the vaccine,” Jenkins said, adding that some say it’s too early to assess the impact of the policy.
The vaccine uptake has grown by 3.5 points in Wales since COVID passes mandate was announced, but the growth has been slightly smaller than in England, where there isn’t mandatory COVID passes.
According to official figures, Wales’s take-up rate for the first dose of a CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine was 86 percent on Sept. 17, when the Welsh government first announced the intention to mandate COVID passes in nightclubs and large events. The number has increased to 89.5 percent by Nov. 18.
The roll-out of vaccinations for 12- to 15-year-olds, which started on Oct. 4, may have contributed to the growth.
The number in Scotland grew by 3.6 points in Scotland since Sept. 1, when the Scottish government announced vaccine passports.
However, the growth has been higher in England, the only nation that didn’t mandate COVID passes.
The take-up rate for the first dose in England—while slightly lower than in other nations—grew 3.9 points since Sept. 15, when the UK government said it was shelving the plan to deploy vaccine passports.
If the purpose of mandating COVID-passport is to control the spread of the CCP virus, the policy didn’t appear to make sense either, Jenkins argued.
Similar to those who have received three doses of a vaccine or vaccines, “you’re 80 percent less likely to test positive if you’ve already had the infection,” he said, citing the latest ONS data.
“So if you’ve got a lot of natural immunity as well, the vaccine passport policies that are enforced don’t consider that at all, actually, which is a bit of a flaw within the policy,” he said.
Jenkins said he had recently tested positive for the CCP virus despite having a previous infection and being double vaccinated, but under the rules, he would have been eligible for a COVID pass if he hadn’t taken a test, since he didn’t show any symptoms.
“We know that the vaccine doesn’t stop people catching or spreading it. It does help reduce it, but it doesn’t stop it ultimately,” Jenkins said.
The statistician said the numbers of cases have fallen over recent weeks in both Wales, where there are mandatory COVID passes and face-coverings, as well as England, where no legal restrictions currently apply.
He added that case numbers are now increasing, seemingly mirroring the wider picture across Europe.
“So I just think that the difficulty for me is that all these Western European countries seem to have these vaccine passports, cases are still going through the roof. There’s very little evidence really, that they’re having any effect at all,” he said.
Jane Werrell from NTD contributed to this report.