COVID-19 vaccination passports to open economies


Science: As countries grow eager to reignite their economies and people increasingly yearn for mobility and normalcy in life, pressure is mounting for some form of COVID-19 health status certificate that would support these desires. There has already been an explosion of COVID-19 passport initiatives for domestic use and international travel. But scientific, legal, and ethical concerns abound with such documentation. Given the high stakes, what is the path forward?

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.” Revelation 13:16 KJV

From doctors’ examinations to ship inspections, clean bills of health have secured passage through centuries of human plagues. Today’s best-known health passport is the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, created by the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO’s Yellow Card has certified vaccinations for cholera, plague, and typhoid, among other infections.

There is certainly precedent for a COVID-19 vaccination passport certifying that the holder can travel, study, play, and work without compromising personal or public health. Among newly proposed COVID-19 passport schemes are the WHO’s Smart Vaccination Certificate, Israel’s “green passport,” the European Union’s proposed Digital Green Pass, and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s “My COVID Pass.” Read More