Covid passes: Are they working in Wales?

Covid pass and healthcare professional - ITV Wales & PA photo
Dr Phillips has been researching people's attitudes towards the Covid-19 vaccines. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales/PA

A leading health psychologist has questioned the efficiency of Covid passes in Wales, after conducting a study in the field.

Dr Rhiannon Phillips of Cardiff Metropolitan University said the passes worked better in countries "where not many people have taken the vaccine."

In those countries she said, "they really have to do something to encourage people to get the vaccine."

However, vaccination rates in Wales are considered to be relatively high, with 74.5% of the population having now received two doses of the vaccine.

"In Wales, a lot of people have had the vaccine, so the balance is different here."

The use of Covid passes came into force in October last year, allowing vaccinated people access to nightclubs, cinemas and sporting events.

However, Dr Phillips said the Welsh Government policies on Covid passes are not popular with everyone.

"Some people really don't like the idea of being forced to do this [have the vaccine]. They feel that they should be able to make that decision about what happens to their own body."

The comments come as Dr Phillips surveys people's attitudes towards the vaccine, with the vast majority of the sample of 11,000 people being Welsh. 

She noticed that there was a "small group of people" who were strongly against the vaccine, but that they had the "loudest voices".

Beyond the traditional "anti-vaxxers," Dr Rhiannon Phillips said there is a cohort of people with mixed views about the vaccine.

She said, "In the middle, there is a group of people who are not against the vaccine, but who are just worried about the side effects.

"They're not sure about it because it's fairly new to us."

One woman who refuses to disclose her vaccination status is Angie Jones from Tufton, Pembrokeshire.

She said, "Why do they [the Government] want to know my Covid status? It doesn't make any difference."

Angie was a health visitor for 35 years, before retiring last year. She believes that the preservation of medical details is a human rights issue.

She disagrees with the use of Covid passes.

"Anyone with Covid can spread the virus, so why do I need a Covid pass? It doesn't make any sense."

"We now need to just live with Covid in Wales, we need to raise the restrictions and go on with our lives. We have to learn to live with it."

Angie Jones does not want to disclose her vaccination status. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

According to Dr Philip White, Chair of the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee for Wales, it is possible that the Covid passes are here to stay.

He said, “It depends how the infection goes. We’re always on the lookout for new variants, but it’s possible that we will need these passes for some time to come.”

He firmly believes that Covid passes are an effective way to protect people from spreading the virus.

“It’s a very useful policy in Wales because it does show some degree of protection. It’s not a full level of guarantee but at least you know if people are using covid passes that they have taken steps to protect themselves.”

According to the Welsh Government, “The Covid Pass has been introduced as one measure – among many – to help protect people from catching and spreading coronavirus and to keep Wales safe.

“The Covid Pass has been used for more than six months and has been downloaded by thousands of people in Wales to access events and to travel abroad. It can be accessed on smartphones, computers and laptops and can be downloaded to a device securely. Paper passes are available for anyone who cannot use a mobile phone."

  • Y Byd yn ei Le will be on S4C Wednesday 2 February at 20:25 and on demand on S4C Clic.