Introduction: Overview of Vaccine Passports
Since the last year, the world has been suffering from a pandemic triggered by the virus COVID-19. Countries are trying to solve the problem of isolation and allow people to see their relatives and travel safely again. They want to do this with vaccine passports, including all data on the health status concerning Coronavirus of a particular person – on vaccination, illness suffered, and tests conducted (Snow, 2021). Although it is called a passport, it does not have a consistent form and can be a mobile application or a paper with a QR-code.
Despite the importance and the need to develop collective immunity, which passports should promote, at the moment, they cannot be an effective measure.
Vaccine Passports may Provoke Social Injustice
There is a significant difference in the opportunity to get a vaccine between rich and developing countries. Moreover, this gap is also observed within countries – both vaccines and COVID tests are pretty expensive. Vaccines due to health indicators also cannot be received by pregnant women or people with allergies to drug elements. As a result, social inequalities, which have already significantly divided the world, are exacerbated. For example, traveling or broad access to entertainment as a theater or restaurant are ususally the prerogative of a wealthier population.
Unproven Vaccine Efficacy
Vaccination is still not a guarantee against the spread of the virus. According to Business Traveller, the vaccine stops the disease, but a person can still be a virus carrier (Brandler, 2021). Representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) also agree with this statement (as cited in “Clarity still needed,” 2021). Moreover, it is necessary to consider the different strains of COVID and the fact that vaccines can not protect against them all. For this reason, the achievement of the goals for the introduction of vaccine passports is not relevant until the effectiveness of the vaccine itself has been proven.
Absence of Standards
Legislators, healthcare providers, laboratories, and software developers are designing different types of documents and applications around the world. For example, Brandler (2021) highlights proposed standards and forms for passports such as CommonPass, The Mvine-iProov passport, Covid-19 Credentials Initiative, Scan2Fly, Verifly, AOKPass, and several other types. As a result, confusion arises, for example, if the test is made in another country and another language (Snow, 2021). The lack of uniform standards calls into question the confidentiality of users and makes passports uncomfortable to apply.
Countries propose to solve problems of isolation and restrictions on movement due to the world pandemic of Coronavirus using vaccine passports. They may contain information about the vaccine made, the virus test, or the disease suffered. However, there are several drawbacks:
- Passports can exacerbate inequality, as not everyone has access to vaccines and tests, mainly due to the high price. This fact means that with the introduction of the passport regime, the movement of some citizens will still be limited.
- Vaccines do not limit the spread of the virus but only prevent disease development in a person who can still be a carrier.
- The lack of standards between countries and developers leads to confusion and the ineffective use of the passport.
Thus, before introducing passports, it is worth assessing whether they really contribute to safety or only create additional problems. At the moment, disadvantages are more significant than potential benefits.
- Brandler, H. (2021). Vaccine passports – arguments for and against. Business Traveller. Web.
- Clarity still needed on effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine passports, says UN health agency. (2021). UN News. Web.
- Snow, J. (2021). The daunting challenges surrounding vaccine passports. National Geographic. Web.