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The 12 tests for a vaccine passport

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Twelve legal and ethical tests must be met before any vaccine passport is introduced, say top scientists. It could unfairly discriminate against the young, pregnant and those who won’t have the Covid-19 jab for medical or personal reasons.

The hope that a vaccine is a silver bullet against Covid infection is at the heart of the drive to introduce ‘vaccine passports’, but there’s no evidence the vaccine stops infection or transmission, or can protect against the various Covid mutations, say scientists from the Royal Society, an independent scientific academy.

It could also discriminate against people of different ethnicities, especially those that already are vaccine hesitant.

Any passport plan needs to pass 12 tests before it is introduced, a report from the Society has stated. Lead author Melinda Mills from Oxford University said: “What would it be used for—getting a job or attending a football match or buying milk?”

She warns employers about legal dangers of introducing a ‘no jab, no job’ policy and the tension between equality rights and legal duties of care. This could be an issue among care home workers, for instance, who refuse to have the vaccine when there is a medical necessity in order to protect residents.

The 12 tests are:

  • a vaccine would have to meet medical criteria that it gave immunity
  • a vaccine would need proof it was effective against emerging variants
  • a passport would need to be standardised internationally
  • a passport would need to use credentials that could prove someone had been vaccinated
  • a passport should have defined uses (such as whether it is needed in order to enter a shop)
  • a passport should be based on a platform that could be read by different operating systems and on different devices
  • a passport must ensure personal data is safe
  • a passport would have to be portable
  • it should be affordable for people and governments
  • it should meet legal standards
  • it should meet ethical standards
  • it should have conditions of use that are understood by the passport holder

The tests would be vital in ensuring a passport was not discriminating against certain people or jobs. “What if we start barring people from essential goods and services? There is a risk of unjustly discriminating in hiring, attending events, insurance, housing applications, and there are many other examples,” she added.

(Source: BBC, February 19, 2021)

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