The World Health Organization's Emergency Committee doubled down on its stand against vaccine passports. On Monday, the agency recommended that proof of vaccination should not form the basis of allowing international travel.
A senior WHO official said that vaccine passports for COVID-19 pose numerous concerns. This includes ethical and equitable considerations. At this point, not all countries have equal access to vaccines.
The committee issued a statement after their meeting last Thursday. They cited limited evidence if vaccines reduce the ability to transmit the virus. Also, they pointed to “the persistent inequity in global vaccine distribution” as another reason.
Specifically, they said requiring proof of vaccination deepens inequities and promotes unequal freedom of movement.
WHO emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan said vaccine passports have “real practical and ethical considerations” that need addressing.
As a result, the WHO will advise against its adoption for now. “Quite simply, vaccination is just not available enough around the world and is not available certainly on an equitable basis,” Ryan said.
In addition, WHO previously noted that it’s still unknown how long COVID-19 immunity from vaccines lasts. Actually, pharmaceutical companies are still collecting data on that.
Status of Vaccine Passports
Earlier, European Union members agreed to require vaccine passports during travel. At the same time, China launched a health certificate program for travelers. Chinese airline companies will also consider requiring vaccination proof for passengers.
Meanwhile, the US earlier said that it wouldn't require vaccination passports for citizens. However, the federal government did not rule out any private sector action.
Canada has yet to decide if it will adopt vaccine passports. Canadian officials said they will require reliable “scientific evidence” before deciding.
Florida Bans Vaccine Passports
Earlier this April, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an order banning vaccine passports. The state law forbade businesses from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccinations.
Previously, DeSantis announced his intent to ban vaccine passports from becoming practice. He said that “vaccination passports reduce individual freedom and will harm patient privacy.”
Effective immediately, the order bans Florida businesses from requiring proof of COVID vaccinations. This prevents businesses from banning individuals from establishments.
However, the order does not prohibit businesses such as restaurants and retail stores to screen customers. They can still do so under accepted state and federal health protocols.
Even ACLU Does Not Endorse Vaccine Passports
Even the American Civil Liberties Union doesn't agree with vaccine passports as well. In a March 31 post, the ACLU fears that people will start getting asked for credentials at every turn.
Using systems such as vaccine passports can turn the world into a checkpoint society. even beyond the pandemic.
The ACLU clarified that they are not against the idea of providing proof of vaccination. However, they feel that this can lead to unintended consequences and side effects.
As the WHO and the DeSantis pointed out, there’s more than vaccinations that are at stake. Personal privacy and individual freedom of movement are also at stake.
Watch the CNBC News video reporting that the WHO warns against developing vaccine passports, fears it will create inequities:
Do you agree with vaccine passports as conditions for travel? Or, do you think this is the wrong approach in ensuring safe travel and movement for everybody?
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