As vaccine rollout begins, WHO has discouraged countries from prematurely using vaccine passports for international travel. Many governments are in favour of using vaccine passports, a digital way to track whether a person is vaccinated or has been recently tested.
However, on Friday WHO announced State Parties should “not introduce requirements of proof of vaccination or immunity for international travel as a condition of entry” presently. “There are still critical unknowns regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission and limited availability of vaccines.”
Covid passport rollouts have also begun to peak interest in the private sector. For example, many commercial airlines have begun to rollout the CommonPass digital health pass. Many private companies are also considering their use for access to events, restaurants, and opening up workplaces.
However, this form of digital surveillance can have many implications on privacy and free movement. Social implications can include workplace discrimination, and police profiling.
Big Brother Watch director Silkie Carlo told the Guardian last week: “Vaccine passports would create the backbone of an oppressive digital ID system and could easily lead to a health apartheid that’s incompatible with a free and democratic country. Digital IDs would lead to sensitive records spanning medical, work, travel, and biometric data about each and every one of us being held at the fingertips of authorities and state bureaucrats”.