So the Scottish Government has bowed to football after all, and Neil Doncaster, of all people, gets to steer a major national initiative to protect people’s health.
Instead of introducing vaccine passports en masse at football, which would have given the clinically vulnerable some peace of mind, there will be “random spot checks” instead, which absolutely defeats the purpose.
This makes it clear that the whole policy is for PR purposes rather in the best interests of public health.
It’s the appearance of acting rather than taking a decisive step. And it will do nothing to help keep this virus under control, but will cause our stewarding staff serious problems and undermine public confidence in the whole vaccine passport idea.
Say spot checks account for 10% of the crowd. We’re failing to tackle 90% of the problem.
In the meantime, those who are already complaining that the very idea of vaccine passports is discriminatory will be given further impetus by the news that not everyone will be checked, which blatantly is discriminatory in the same way “random” stop and search is.
This was supposed to be a public health measure.
Instead it’s devolved into a PR stunt.
Checking a handful of people out of the ground renders the whole exercise pointless and if I didn’t have my own double vaccine certification and I got checked on the day I would be demanding to know why I had been singled out over hundreds of others.
This discourages fans from downloading the forms, even amongst those who have had two vaccines and can produce proof of it. A number of those who will be turned away from Parkhead will be turned away on exactly that basis; I’ll make a bet on that right now.
This will happen because the government has encouraged people to play the odds.
And as true as that will be of those with vaccine status certificates, it’s just as true of those who do not.
They will be free to take their chances, and lots of them will, people who have openly stated that they have no intention of prioritising their own safety or that of others.
People at Celtic Park are going to bring the virus with them and they are going to spread it to many unvaccinated people.
These puny regulations will not deter a living soul. If I had not been vaccinated and was considering avoiding Parkhead because of vaccine passport laws, I would be laughing today at the utter folly of this policy and I’d brass neck it.
In a straight up decision between what was likely to have the best public health impact and what was convenient for clubs, the Scottish Government has taken the easy road rather than the right road.
As someone who worries about friends and family, some of whom are immunocompromised, and who understands full well the implications of this shabby piece of backtracking, I find it appalling.