Equality watchdog warns of ‘two-tier society’ with vaccine passports

Introducing coronavirus status certificates (vaccine passports) could create a “two-tier society” which discriminates against certain groups, the equalities watchdog has warned. Tiers The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said vaccine passports could be a “proportionate” way of easing restrictions, following the “significant curtailment” of freedoms due to lockdown measures. But in a submission to the Cabinet Office following a call for evidence, it raised concerns about “unlawful discrimination” against people from disadvantaged or ethnic minority backgrounds by restricting access to jobs and services. The warning came after the Department of Health and Social Care launched a consultation on making vaccination a condition of deployment for staff at…

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“We’re in a Transition Phase”: Dr. Monica Gandhi on Vaccine Safety & Why You Still Need a Mask

U.S. health officials have delayed a decision on whether to resume the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after reports of blood clots in six women who received doses. Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease physician and professor of medicine at the UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital, says it’s “prudent” to investigate reports of blood clots but notes the issue “is very rare” and unlikely to cause more than a temporary delay. She also says it’s important to raise “vaccine optimism” by continuing to tout the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines. “Eventually we are going to get back to the normalcy of not masking and distancing. We’re just in…

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“Vaccine Passports”: ACLU Warns of Privacy Nightmare That Could Create “Two-Tiered Society”

As people try to find a safe way to gather and travel during the pandemic, there is growing interest in documenting who has been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19. The World Health Organization has warned so-called vaccine passports may not be an effective way to reopen, and healthcare professionals argue vaccine certificates may further exacerbate vaccine inequality. New York is already testing a digital vaccine passport app made by IBM called the Excelsior Pass, while countries including the U.K. and Israel have issued their own versions of electronic vaccine certificates. The U.S. government has ruled out the introduction of mandatory vaccine passports at the federal level, but…

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Boris Johnson faces battle with Tory rebels and Labour over ‘vaccine passports’

Boris Johnson faces a battle over plans to introduce “vaccine passports” for people to demonstrate their Covid-19 status before going to events. A government review into “Covid status certification” found they could “potentially play a role” in settings such as theatres, nightclubs and mass events, and might also be used in pubs and restaurants to reduce social distancing restrictions. The potential use of certificates – which would include vaccination status, test results or evidence of someone having contracted and recovered from Covid-19 – is opposed by at least 40 Conservative MPs and Labour is also sceptical about the measure. The row over vaccine passports came as the government’s…

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World’s Poorest Nations Face Setback as India Suspends Vaccine Exports Amid Fight over Patent Rights

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show with the urgent push to ensure equal access to COVID-19 vaccines for all nations, rich and poor, and growing calls for Big Pharma to waive their patent rights. As Christians around the world marked Easter Sunday, Italy moved up midnight Masses to meet a 10 p.m. curfew amidst a spike in COVID cases. And Pope Francis used his Easter Mass address at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican to warn against vaccine nationalism. POPE FRANCIS: [translated] In the spirit of an internationalism of vaccines, I urge the entire international community…

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Boris Johnson urged to share coronavirus vaccine with poorer nations instead of hoarding supplies

Boris Johnson is facing calls to immediately begin donating vaccines to poorer nations. He otherwise risks hoarding supplies while frontline workers are exposed to coronavirus (Covid-19). Health and development charities urged the prime minister on Sunday 28 March to take “accelerated action”. And they asked him to “swiftly clarify” how doses will be shared. Wellcome, led by Sage scientist Sir Jeremy Farrar, and Save the Children UK were among those making the demand in a letter to Johnson. “Hoarding limited supply” They say the UK is “one of the world’s highest per-capita buyers” of vaccines. And it’s on track to have more than 100 million surplus doses. The…

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Scientist warns that unfettered international travel could ‘undo vaccine progress’

Keeping borders open for international travel could risk undoing vaccine progress, a scientist has warned. Dr Mike Tildesley is a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M), which advises the Government. He’s said that allowing overseas trips without efficient testing and tracing in place could enable a vaccine-evading variant to enter the UK. Under current guidelines, it’s illegal to travel abroad for holidays. But travel for a range of professions including defence personnel and some HGV drivers is permitted. Red list Travellers returning from countries included on the ‘red list’, where coronavirus cases are higher, must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days. Ministers…

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U.S. & Other Wealthy Nations Block Effort to Waive Vaccine Patent Rights in Blow to Global South

The United States and other wealthy members of the World Trade Organization have blocked a push by dozens of developing countries to waive patent rights in an effort to boost production of COVID-19 vaccines for poor nations. The proposal by South Africa and India was supported by hundreds of civil society organizations, including Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam and Amnesty International. Without the waiver, vaccine production will remain in the hands of only a few pharmaceutical companies. “Millions of us are basically going to have to wait for a vaccine, putting global immunity, as well as regional immunity, particularly in Africa, at severe risk,” says South African activist Fatima…

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The government doesn’t have a clue where its own vaccine data is

As part of our #FactOfTheMatter series, The Canary Investigations team has spoken to three government departments in charge of the coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine rollout. We wanted to find out how the vaccine was allocated in England – but no one could tell us who holds that information. We spoke to NHS England, Public Health England (PHE), and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to try and access this data. Yet no one could confirm that they had it. Which begs the question: who does? We were concerned by reports of vaccine shortages and a decision by NHS England to redirect supplies between counties. This decision left some…

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‘Colour-blind’ coronavirus vaccine distribution is putting ethnic minorities at risk

Doctors have warned that the UK’s “colour-blind” vaccine distribution strategy is putting ethnic minority communities at higher risk of falling ill and dying with coronavirus (Covid-19). “Unequal impact” Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, they say the current prioritisation “disregards the unequal impact of the pandemic on minority ethnic groups”. And it’s worsening racial inequalities that the pandemic has exposed. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has largely recommended an age-based approach, saying age is the single biggest risk factor for coronavirus. It recently considered but rejected a move to prioritise people in higher-risk occupations, saying this may slow down the rollout.…

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