COVID-19 vaccine passports raise ethics concerns: 5 details

Governments are debating the idea of requiring COVID-19 vaccine passports, raising ethical concerns about those who would get left behind, according to a Feb. 26 article in The Wall Street Journal.

Supporters say a COVID-19 vaccine passport allows holders to regain normalcy in their lives while feeling confident they won't infect anyone. It can also encourage hesitant people to get the shot.

Detractors say these passports can create an onslaught of ethical issues for both those who receive the vaccine and those who don't.

Five ethical issues opponents raise:

  1. It could leave to discrimination for minority communities that are more skeptical about getting the vaccine.
  2. Younger adults and children are low priority for vaccines and could receive repercussions for not getting the vaccine. Elementary-aged children are not expected to receive the vaccine until 2022, said Anthony Fauci, MD, White House chief medical adviser, in a Feb. 19 White House briefing covered by ABC News.
  3. Allowing businesses to access people's health information is a potential violation of privacy.
  4. It can create a false sense of safety that those vaccinated are no longer at risk for getting or spreading the infection. It's still unclear whether vaccinated people can contract an asymptomatic case of COVID-19 and spread the virus.
  5. Mutations of the virus could complicate passports, as multiple vaccines may be introduced.

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