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Vaccine passports and health disparities: a perilous journey
  1. Nancy S Jecker1,2
  1. 1Department of Bioethics & Humanities, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA
  2. 2Department of Philosophy, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Gauteng, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nancy S Jecker, Department of Bioethics & Humanities, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195, USA; nsjecker{at}uw.edu

Abstract

This paper raises health equity concerns about the use of passports for domestic and international travel to certify COVID-19 vaccination. Part I argues that for international travel, health equity objections undercut arguments defending vaccine passports, which are based on tholding people responsible, protecting global health, safeguarding individual liberty and continuing current practice. Part II entertains a proposal for a scaled down vaccine passport for domestic use in countries where vaccines are widely and equitably available. It raises health equity concerns related to racial profiling and fairness to people who are vaccine cautious. Part III sets forth a proposal for a flexible pass that certifies people who have been vaccinated, tested, previously infected or granted a conscientious objection. It sets ethical guidelines for the timing and use of flexible passes that promote equity, public health education, antidiscrimination, privacy and flexibility.

  • COVID-19
  • public health ethics
  • ethics
  • conscientious objection
  • minority groups

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Footnotes

  • Contributors NSJ is the sole contributing author to this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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