Over the past week there has been both outrage and relief at the thought of a vaccination card which would essentially serve as evidence for someone who has had the COVID-19 vaccination. Whilst the government insists that the card should not be viewed as a ‘vaccination passport’, several media outlets have suggested the vaccination card could allow air travel to return to normal.
‘Vaccination passports’ for air travel are something I’ve thought of for some time now. I believe that the government will eventually have to issue such a thing to help revive international travel as it’s very likely airlines may not let people fly if they haven’t been vaccinated.
Although Michael Gove has insisted the vaccination cards are not meant to be seen as ‘passports’ that confer special privileges and said there are no plans for such an idea, Nadhim Zahawi, the minister in charge of the vaccine rollout, has warned that businesses and football stadiums could ask customers for proof that they have been vaccinated. What’s to stop airlines from doing the same? Other countries have explicitly stressed that in the future it will not be possible to travel without a ‘vaccination passport’.
Inevitably, the thought of ‘vaccination passports’ is raising concerns as experts believe they are a route to discrimination and exclusion and would severely limit our freedom of movement. There is also still a lot of work to do to convince the public to get the jab, as almost one-in-five say they are unlikely to get it.
The World Health Organization is clear on its stance on ‘vaccination passports’: there is not yet enough evidence. This is very true. There is currently no evidence at all to show that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are ‘risk-free’ and how long the vaccine protects people from the virus.
As for my stance, I am in favour of some form of ‘passport’ if it’s the ticket to normality. It appears other people are too. According to a Sky News poll of more than 1,700 people, 54% felt it would be acceptable to limit air travel to only people who have been vaccinated.
However, it would be wrong to ban people from air travel if there is no evidence whatsoever. So, it may be some time before and if they are introduced. But I do not doubt that, overall, they would help to boost people’s confidence when travelling.
What is your take on a potential ‘vaccination passport’?