Lockhart expresses concern over Covid vaccine passport

DUP MP Carla Lockhart has expressed her concerns over the introduction of so-called Covid vaccine passports.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 2:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th November 2021, 2:58 pm

The Upper Bann representative accused health minister Robin Swann of having a one point plan in dealing with the pressures on our health service.

In a social media post Mrs Lockhart said: “I know the issue of vaccine passports is divisive. I have held a position against them, and my concerns have not changed.

“I firmly believe if we are to protect our health service we needed much more than the one point plan brought forward today by the Health Minister.

“We need a multi point plan to address the:

“• slow roll out of the booster jab (only being told of plans next week),

“• we needed a plan on how to free up hospital beds by investing in domiciliary care,

“• we needed a plan on bed numbers and staff shortages,

“• and a plan to help bolster and support primary care and particularly access to GPs.”

She went on: “Many of these plans should have been addressed a long time ago, but even now the plan is laboured or non existent.”

Speaking in the wake of the announcement of the vaccine passports she said: “Today’s announcement will likely result in family incomes being lost in our hospitality industry. That could be a neighbour or friend. Yet today the Executive acted with no economic impact assessment and no equality impact assessment.

“I think we all deserve better and we will need much much better to protect our health service, its staff, and to protect our people from COVID.”

Stormont ministers voted in favour of mandatory Covid vaccine passports being introduced in NI from next month.

The vote was held at Stormont on Wednesday (November 17) - and it is understood DUP ministers voted against the move.

Sinn Féin, Alliance and the SDLP all backed the proposals from Health Minister Robin Swann, with the result finishing six to four.

It is understood the plan tabled by Mr Swann is for the rules on Covid passports to take effect on 29 November.

However there would be a 14-day grace period before fixed penalty notices could be issued.

The minister is believed to have proposed applying the measure across the hospitality sector and entry to large events.

And it is understood the measure will apply for access to: nightclubs; hospitality venues which serve food and drink; cinemas, theatres, concert halls and conference centres; indoor events with 500 or more attendees with some or all of the audience not normally seated; outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees with some or all of the audience not normally seated; and events where more than 10,000 people will be present regardless of whether they are seated.

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