European Union cautions against the risks of discrimination

“Vaccine passports” are considered by many European countries as a means of lifting sanctions imposed against Kovid-19. An initiative that seems premature, due to fewer people being vaccinated, risk of discrimination and uncertainties related to the degree of vaccine protection.

Will “Vaccine Passport” Be the Key to Getting Out of Health Crisis? While the pace of vaccination is accelerating around the world, proponents of establishing a system to certify the health status of a vaccinated person are giving voice at the European level. The debate has intensified in Europe, where many governments expect any vaccinated traveler to revive their economy by removing quarantine and other restrictions related to Kovid.

Iceland is the first European country to issue a vaccination certificate in late January. Greece, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and Sweden: Many others have already announced policies by issuing or accepting this vaccine passport. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that the “status certificate” on the Kovid-19 would be one of the devices used to get out of the health crisis.

Attack on personal freedom

The implementation of these vaccine passports nevertheless comes against the reluctance of many members of the European Union (EU), such as France or Germany, who warn against the discrimination that the device would be infallible on the fundamental freedoms of individuals. Of recent concern in two studies published in the United States, European countries were the most advanced in their immunization program.

“If some people do not have access to these tests or vaccines against Kovid-19, or if they cannot tolerate them, they will not be able to prove their health status, and Ana Bedilichi says their independence Would really be banned. ” Professor of Law at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, author of a study on ethical issues surrounding vaccine passports. His work also highlights the risks of data privacy.

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Another study published by the Royal Society on 19 February concluded that the establishment of vaccination certificates is “possible” if several important criteria are taken into account. The twelve conditions set forth here are specifically the precise definition of the use of these certifications, so as to avoid “discrimination in employment, access to restaurants, health centers, sports or cultural events, insurance companies, housing inquiries and other services”.

“We do not take a position for or against [les passeports vaccinaux], But we note that it is in the process of being established. Many countries have already launched them, with companies saying they will include them in their contracts. Now we need to talk about it openly, ”says Melinda Mills, director of the Leverhalm Center for Demographic Science at Oxford University and the lead author of the study.

The tourism and aviation sectors are at the forefront of demand for introduction of vaccine passports before boarding. Australian airline Qantas raised the topic in early November, while Gulf Airlines Emirates and Etihad announced the upcoming testing of a travel pass designed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). But the pressure to return to normal life affects many other areas. Israel has announced that its vaccination certificate, “Green Badge”, will also be used to allow access to places of worship, sports halls, bars and cultural events.

Reluctant france

In France, the government claims that the debate over vaccination certificates occurs prematurely for two reasons: a low proportion of those vaccinated and uncertainties in the duration of immunity protection provided by the vaccination. Recent epidemic outbreaks involving various types of coronaviruses have led to particular studies on the degree of protection and infectiousness of vaccinated people.

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To date, we know that vaccines prevent the development of severe forms of Kovid – 95% for Pfizer-Bayonet and Modern, 70% for AstraZeneca – but it is not yet known whether they prevent vaccination by viruses and Others do not catch the infection.

“Today we cannot give more rights to some people who have been vaccinated than others who are not there yet because they do not have access. The vaccination campaign is slowly being rolled out. To say this Very important would be unfair and contradictory. (For non-vaccinated people) You do not have the right to resume or resume such or such activity, ”BFMTV told Clement Beaune, Minister of State for European Affairs on Monday Declared.

The idea of ​​reopening culture places only for those vaccinated was also rejected by Culture Minister Rosaline Bekhel.

“I oppose vaccinated passports which I find to be an attack on our freedom. A lover of freedom that I’m having trouble imagining! If we get there, it will be a step backwards ”, during his speech on France 2 on 10 February, underlined the minister.

“Cohesion” of certificates within the European Union

The European Union, where only 3% of the population has been vaccinated, is proceeding cautiously on this issue. Member states agreed in late January on a series of principles aimed at harmonizing anti-Kovid vaccination certificates. Eleven of them already issue such certificates according to the European Commission, and at least seven more are preparing to launch them.

The device will be used for “medical purposes” for the first time, for example if a person receives their second dose of vaccine in another country from where they received the first. Other potential uses such as the requested vaccination passport to promote tourism to Greece are not on the agenda.

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At the European level, the Minister of State for European Affairs, Clement Beaune, insisted, “There will be no illegal individual initiative on the subject.” “Some countries wanted to move faster, others like us were more reluctant. We said we were going to pay attention to how it works and in the meantime, no one is doing it.”

A wait-and-see attitude shared by the World Health Organization (WHO), which cites the low number of people vaccinated worldwide, does not recommend the beginning of the “for passport” moment.

Inequality in Use of Vaccines

The existence of such a mole would actually worsen the injustice associated with very strong disparities in access to vaccines between rich and poor countries.

“What we’re really talking about is granting rights and privileges that would be inaccessible to people who don’t have a vaccine passport,” said Alison Thompson, a professor of bioethics at the University of Toronto, during an interview with CBC Radio .

“This vaccination raises all kinds of problems on the fairness of passports (…). We have to closely examine laws relating to discrimination and human rights to determine how to use such technology properly.”

Adaptation de la editions en angelis: As more governments deactivate vaccine passports, critics raise fears of discrimination

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