Health

Challenges when deploying vaccine passport


The path to realizing a vaccine passport encounters barriers from technical to scientific, ethical, political and legal.

“Vaccine passport” or vaccine vaccination certificate Covid-19 is considered the “light at the end of the tunnel” for global freedom of travel. Although some countries are excited to discuss this issue, experts say the journey to a vaccine passport is difficult and complicated.

They said that the vaccine passport can cause many people to be subjective on the move, in the context of the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine with unclear variation. It also deepens the inherent inequality, as many rich countries have ordered and stockpiled vaccines since the trial phase.

“I think they are useful in the long term, but there are some immediate risks and scientific evidence against this idea. I also see ethical hazards,” said Dr. Deepti Gurdasani, translation specialist. Clinical epidemiology at Queen Mary University in London, says. “We don’t know much about the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing variant and asymptomatic infections.”

In a statement at the end of January, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the authorities “vaccination or immunization certification should not be required as a condition of entry” because “vaccine efficacy remains unknown”.

In fact, after vaccination with Pfizer or Moderna, the body needs 8 to 10 days to produce antibodies. During that time, the user may still be infected with COV or pass the infection on to others. This is relatively normal, but will complicate vaccine passport deployment efforts. Besides, scientists also do not know how long immunity created by vaccines can be maintained.

Regional variations also influence how the vaccine works. The South African variant contains mutations capable of evading the immune system. In early February, continent officials halted distribution of the AstraZeneca vaccine after research showed it had little effect against the variant. Experts are concerned that bringing vaccinated passports into use globally when vaccines are not yet effective could complicate the epidemic.

In terms of morality, Vaccine passports can lead to differentiation between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

The Economist Intelligence Unit report released last month predicts that the majority of the wealthy country’s adult population will be vaccinated mid next year. In contrast, this timeline extends until 2023 for middle-income countries and years 2024 for low-income countries. This highlights the vaccine gap between economies.

“The so-called vaccine passport guarantees that people who are immune to Covid-19 can return to normal life. So what happens to others?”, Liberty – National Council for Civil Liberties of Brother, ask questions.

“There are a lot of suggestions for vaccine passports. Some say that it should be used only for foreign travel, others are less specific. A series of technological ideas are coming up, from QR codes to applications. , even physical cards. But what all the proposals are ignored is that there is no type of passport or certification that does not violate human rights, “said the council.

Lawrence Gostin, professor of Georgetown University and director of the World Health Organization (WHO) National and Global Health Law Collaboration Center (WHO), analyzed: “A huge moral crisis will explode. to the global market when high-income countries such as Israel, the US or Europe are likely to achieve public immunity by the end of the year, but with poor countries, most people will not be vaccinated for many more years. Do we really want to give preference to those who already have a lot of privileges? “.

Green card with QR code certifying that people have vaccinated Covid-19 on March 3 in Israel. Image: AFP

In fact, vaccine passports have not been standardized between countries. The global synchronization of these documents can pose legal challenges and raise concerns about access to personal data.

The Covid-19 Emergency Response Team of the Royal Society, the British National Academy of Sciences, raised 12 conditions to ensure if you want to deploy vaccine passport. The team proposes to set international common standards, secure personal data, meet legal and ethical standards, and adjust for differences in vaccine efficacy and their changes when encountering new variants.

“Understanding what a vaccine passport can be used for is the fundamental question. Is it literally a passport that allows for travel between countries or is used domestically, allowing people to do things more freely?” said Professor Melinda Mills, director of the Leverhulme Center for Demographic Sciences at Oxford University.

“We need a deeper discussion on many aspects of the vaccine passport, from immune science to its privacy, technical challenges, ethics and legitimacy,” he added.

Thuc Linh (Follow CTV, CNBC, CNN, AFP)

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