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Vaccination Passports

What's going on here?

  • Covid-19 vaccines are becoming increasingly available, so more people are getting vaccinated. Many developed countries have plans to safely vaccinate a large portion of their population. This has raised questions about re-opening borders and creating ease of travelling for those who have been vaccinated via a "vaccination passport."

  • This is a controversial issue. While some believe that the aviation and travel industry can begin to recover with such initiatives, others consider it too discriminatory, too dependent on bureaucracy, and perhaps even ineffective in preventing the spread of the virus.


  • Greece has called for certificates for "facilitating freedom of movement" in order to revive their travel industry and local economy.

  • Microsoft, Oracle, and other US health groups are working together on the Vaccination Credential Initiative - this is a digital passport that confirms a traveller vaccination history.

  • Although vaccinated passengers are protected against contracted the virus, these passengers might still carry the virus and spread it to other non-vaccinated passengers.

  • Those who had contracted the virus are immune to reinfection. This means that they do not need to get a vaccination. How will the initiative include them?

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) deems the unequal distribution of vaccines between the poorer and richer nation as a "catastrophic moral failure." The initiative might worsen discrimination between travellers from nations that have less access to the vaccine.

  • A coordinated international system is required to ensure that the system works for all countries. This is tricky as countries approach bureaucracy differently.

Useful Vocabulary:

  • jabs: an injection with a needle, typically for vaccinations

  • potential drawback

  • cannot be relied on

  • cutting/reducing transmission

  • innoculate

  • stand in line for a swab: queue to get tested

  • without imposing de facto prohibitions: without placing restrictions (on someone or something)

Discussion Questions:

  1. In your opinion, is it a good idea to create a vaccination passport for travellers? Why or why not? What could be better?

  2. The WHO referred to the imbalance of vaccinations between poorer and richer countries as a "catastrophic moral failure." Explain why and propose a solution.

  3. In your opinion, who benefits the most and least from the vaccination passports: the local government, travellers, the healthcare industry. Rank them accordingly and provide a reason for your ranking decision.

  4. Would you prefer to get a vaccination passport or get tested at the airport before travelling? Why?

What are your thoughts on these questions and the article?

Leave your comments down below!

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