ALLIANCE briefing on COVID-19 vaccine passports

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 18th May 2021
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The ALLIANCE has published a briefing on the potential impact of COVID-19 ‘vaccine passports’.

The ALLIANCE has submitted a briefing paper ahead of the Scottish Parliament debate on a vaccine certification scheme or ‘vaccine passports’ (this link will take you away from our website). The debate will take place on Thursday 9 September 2021.

Informed by our members’ views and research, the briefing is intended to offer constructive observations and recommendations on how to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of population groups who may be impacted by the rollout of a vaccine passport scheme.

Vaccine passports offer the promise of a “return to normal”, where people can move freely within society, travel, and work without the restrictions that have characterised much of the pandemic period, and with minimised risk of contracting or carrying COVID-19. However, ALLIANCE members have highlighted the complexity of vaccine passports in policy and practice. There are practical questions to be answered around the scope of any proposed scheme, as well as key ethical, equality and human rights considerations.

Some of our key recommendations are outlined below:

  • Greater clarity is needed around the scope, purposes, and length of a vaccine passport scheme, including what data protection measures would be taken and what controls would be put in place to prevent discriminatory impact on specific population groups.
  • Any vaccine passport scheme should be co-produced with disabled people, people living with long term conditions, unpaid carers, and other seldom heard groups to ensure that lived experience is at the heart of decision making.
  • Communication around any proposed vaccine passport scheme must be inclusive and accessible, and third party support and independent advocacy should be offered to people who face language or communication barriers.
  • The risks of a fully digital passport scheme should be recognised, and a ‘digital choice’ approach should be implemented to promote and protect individual rights, health and wellbeing.
  • Issues around vaccine hesitancy should be recognised, understood and considered sensitively and compassionately.
  • Greater clarity, and more robust preventative guidance would be welcome to ensure that employers cannot discriminate against people who cannot – or who choose not to – be vaccinated.
  • A clear privacy framework should be implemented – and made publicly accessible – outlining how individual data would be used, stored, and accessed.

You can read our full briefing via the link below.

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