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Why A Covid Secure Passport Would be Better News for Live Music Than a “Vaccine Passport”

The MU has outlined the questions which would need to be addressed before we would be able to support a vaccine passport – including potential discrimination and data privacy – an described how a Covid Secure Passport with extended qualifying criteria could provide a better solution.

Published: 02 August 2021 | 9:27 AM
Photograph of a number of peoples legs, standing in a queue in the daylight behind a small, temporary fence.
There are questions which would have to be addressed for us to unequivocally support a vaccine passport. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Rather than a ‘vaccine passport’, the MU would prefer a Covid Secure Passport (CSP), attached to the NHS Test & Trace App to be a solution. This is broader than a ‘vaccine passport’ and would allow a recent negative test as well as a vaccination to qualify, or it could be paired with on the door testing, with the CSP acting as a waiver. This would allow those who cannot get a vaccine to prove they are at low risk of having Covid and get access.

We would consider Covid status certification to be a mechanism to verify that individuals pose a reduced risk of virus transmission, thereby enabling entry to live music performances and related events such as industry award shows and networking panels.

There are questions that need to be addressed

Much of the recent debate around certification has centred on so-called ‘vaccine passports’. The moral and ethical questions invoked by this concept affects sectors beyond the music industry alone – however, given the damage Covid has caused the live music sector in particular, it is an option that we must consider.

However, requiring proof of vaccination comes with a number of issues. First and foremost, some people are not vaccine hesitant and instead cannot take vaccinations for allergy reasons, among others. These groups would therefore be barred from live events if proof of vaccination was a prerequisite of entry. This could constitute direct discrimination if the reason for them remaining unvaccinated relates to a protected characteristic.

There are also questions over how information would be stored to ensure privacy. These questions would have to be addressed for us to unequivocally support a vaccine passport.

Expanding the qualifying criteria for a passport

One method of addressing these concerns is by expanding the qualifying criteria from a vaccine to include a recent negative test and tying the passport to the NHS Test and Trace App thereby creating a CSP, the CSP also be coupled with on the door testing for events with the CSP acting as a waiver.

Requiring venues to test audiences before entry could be a logistical nightmare. A CSP would help reduce the number of people who would need to be tested pre-event, avoid the issue of certain groups being excluded while retaining a carrot and stick approach of being vaccinated conferring a direct benefit.

See more Covid-19 gudiance and information from the MU.

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