A COVID-19 vaccine passport is feasible but not all the pieces are in place to allow one to be effectively delivered yet, according to a report out today

A report published by the SET-C (Science in Emergencies Tasking: COVID-19) group at the Royal Society today outlines 12 criteria that should be satisfied to deliver an effective vaccine passport.

The report (PDF) highlights key challenges such as the need for more information on the efficacy of vaccines in preventing infection and transmission by the currently circulating viruses, including genetic variants and the duration of protective immunity in order to establish how long a passport might be valid.

Other issues highlighted include the technical opportunities and challenges of having systems that can work seamlessly with each other and the need to meet legal and ethical standards.

Professor Melinda Mills, Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at the University of Oxford and a lead author of the report, said: “Understanding what a vaccine passport could be used for is a fundamental question – is it literally a passport to allow international travel or could it be used domestically to allow holders greater freedoms?  The intended use will have significant implications across a wide range of legal and ethical issues that need to be fully explored and could inadvertently discriminate or exacerbate existing inequalities.”

“International standardisation is one of the criteria we believe essential, but we have already seen some countries introducing vaccine certificates related to travel or linked to quarantine or attending events. We need a broader discussion about multiple aspects of a vaccine passport, from the science of immunity through to data privacy, technical challenges and the ethics and legality of how it might be used.”



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