Vaccine Passport

The term vaccine passport refers to a variety of “proof of vaccination” systems implemented worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. Introduced under different names and formats, the system has been introduced in earnest to limit or expand individual “privileges” as authorized by a governing agency, such as a public health agency or elected government.

Vaccine passport systems were rolled out in a limited fashion in 2021 at multiple levels of community governance based on COVID-19 vaccination status.

The merits of vaccine passports and proof of vaccination programs have been hotly debated. Proponents of the concept have dismissed concerns as right-wing “conspiracy theories”.1)

Vaccine Passport History

September 19, 2019 - Brussels - WHO - EU Global Vaccine Summit

Everyone should be able to benefit from the power of vaccination. Despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines, lack of access, vaccine shortages, misinformation, complacency towards disease risks, diminishing public confidence in the value of vaccines and disinvestments are harming vaccination rates worldwide. Vaccination is indisputably one of public health’s most effective interventions.

We must endeavor to sustain vaccination’s hard-won gains but also aim to do more and to do better, in view of achieving effective and equitable health systems and reduce the harm that is caused as a result of the illness and suffering that is otherwise preventable. This also includes making the necessary R&D investments to address unmet medical needs by developing new vaccines and improving existing ones.

Lessons from the day and actions needed towards vaccination for all and elimination of vaccine preventable diseases -

  • 1. Promote global political leadership and commitment to vaccination and build effective collaboration and partnerships -across international, national, regional and local levels with health authorities, health professionals, civil society, communities, scientists, and industry- to protect everyone everywhere through sustained high vaccination coverage rates.
  • 2. Ensure all countries have national immunisation strategies in place and implemented and strengthen its financial sustainability, in line with progress towards Universal Health Coverage, leaving no one behind.
  • 3. Build strong surveillance systems for vaccine-preventable diseases, particularly those under global elimination and eradication targets.
  • 4. Tackle the root-causes of vaccine hesitancy, increasing confidence in vaccination, as well as designing and implementing evidence-based interventions.
  • 5. Harness the power of digital technologies, so as to strengthen the monitoring of the performance of vaccination programmes.
  • 6. Sustain research efforts to continuously generate data on the effectiveness and safety of vaccines and impact of vaccination programmes.
  • 7. Continue efforts and investment, including novel models of funding and incentives, in research, development and innovation for new or improved vaccine and delivery devices.
  • 8. Mitigate the risks of vaccine shortages through improved vaccine availability monitoring, forecasting, purchasing, delivery and stockpiling systems and collaboration with producers and all participants in the distribution chain to make best use of, or increase existing, manufacturing capacity.
  • 9. Empower healthcare professionals at all levels as well as the media, to provide effective, transparent and objective information to the public and fight false and misleading information, including by engaging with social media platforms and technological companies.
  • 10. Align and integrate vaccination in the global health and development agendas, through a renewed Immunisation agenda 2030.2)

One month later, in October 2019, Event 201 was held. Event 201 was a simulated pandemic exercise focusing on a zoonotic novel coronavirus originating in bats. It was sponsored by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the World Economic Forum, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Technological Applications

COVID Vaccine proof can be added to iPhone's Apple Wallet. And it cannot be deleted? https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/coronavirus/covid-vaccine-proof-can-now-be-added-to-iphones-apple-wallet-heres-how/3358178/

Industry

A rogues gallery of companies are developing vaccine passport products and services.

Repercussions

Segregation

In December 2021, a man was denied access to a Toronto farmer's market because he did not provide proof of vaccination.3) The organizer of the market responded claiming they were simply following the law under the Reopening Ontario Act.4) However, the regulation was pointed out to clearly state “proof of vaccination is not required at event spaces “where a patron is entering an indoor area solely to make a retail purchase”.5) The market in question is funded through the Toronto Artscape Foundation by TD Bank Group, the Hamilton Community Foundation, BMO Financial Group, RBC (Royal Bank of Canada), Vancity, CIBC, the Peter and Melanie Munk Charitable Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Toronto Foundation, Air Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada Council for the Arts, Deloitte, IBM, Lyft, Ryerson University, TELUS, and the Royal Conservatory of Music, among others.6)

Resistance Against Vaccine Passports

In many nations around the world, vaccine passports are being protested.

Organized Resistance

1)
Rothschild, M. (2021, April 14). Welcome to the ever-expanding world of vaccine passport conspiracy theories. The Daily Dot. https://archive.ph/0ajMk
3)
Parks, G. (2021, December 21). Unvaccinated Man Denied Access to Buy Food in Toronto Farmer’s Market. Bright Light News. https://archive.ph/yyOEO
4)
Ritchie, C. (2021, December). Farmers Market Proof of Vaccination Required. Twitter; Artscape Wychwood Barns. https://archive.ph/n6q4M
5)
The Peoples Media (@_ThePeoplesNews). (2021, December 19). @AtTheBarns say they are just following the law under the Reopening Ontario Act, O. Reg. 364/20. However under Schedule 1, s2.1(3) of the regulation, proof of vaccination is not required at event spaces “where a patron is entering an indoor area solely to make a retail purchase”. [Tweet]. Twitter. https://archive.ph/B70yS
6)
2019 Annual Report. Toronto Artscape. Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://www.artscape.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/2020.08.14-2019-TAF-Annual-Report-FINAL-Web.pdf
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