Immunity Passports

Immunity Passports

In principle, immunity passports enable those who are not a significant risk of harm to others to regain normal civil liberties. We should minimise infringements on civil liberties to the greatest extent possible, without undermining overall policy goals. In practice, implementation needs to address issues around fraudulent passports, perverse incentives, impact on access to employment, or unequal access to relevant tests or vaccines, and so on.  
 
Whilst some risks may remain despite sensitive implementation, the comparison is against the alternative policies, such as lockdown, or a general easing of lockdown. These policies also impose harms or (in the case of easing lockdown) a greater risk of a virus resurgence. 
 
A surgeon may wield a scalpel to save lives or to end them. Immunity passports have the same potential.  

Under submission/in press

Under submission: Provide Vaccines, Not Require Immunity or Vaccination Passports ... For Now (Julian Savulescu)

Published

Brown R, Kelly D, Wilkinson D, Savulescu J. The Scientific and Ethical Feasibility of Immunity PassportsLancet Infectious Diseases 2020 (subscription required) [preprint in Word];

Authors' reply: A public health ethic should inform policies on COVID-19 immunity passports – Authors' reply [preprint in Word] (reply to Françoise Baylis, Natalie Kofler 'A public health ethic should inform policies on COVID-19 immunity passports' response to original article)

Brown, R., Savulescu, J., Williams, B. and Wilkinson, D., (2020), 'A Passport to Freedom? Immunity Passports for COVID-19', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: 46(10)  [OPEN ACCESS]

 

Red Box (Times Radio): Alberto Giubilini (25 March 2021)
The Only Way Is Ethics [Alberto's contribution starts at 39:50]
Matt Chorley tackles the philosophical questions behind pub passports and longer lockdowns, with AC Grayling, Baroness Deech and Alberto Giubilini.

Practical Ethics in the News Blog: Cross Post: Vaccine Passports: Four Ethical Objections, and Replies
By Tom Douglas | 4 March 2021 [This is a (slightly modified) cross-post from The Brussels Times.]
Should we all be required to produce a ‘vaccine passport’—proving that we have been vaccinated against Covid-19—before being allowed to enter a cafe, travel abroad, or work in a high-risk job? [read more]

Practical Ethics in the News Blog: Are Immunity Passports a Human Rights Issue
By Julian Savulescu | 23 January 2021 [A shorter version of this post appears in The Telegraph]
Imagine you are about to board a plane (remember that…) Authorities have reason to believe you are carrying a loaded gun. They are entitled to detain you. But they are obliged to investigate whether you have a gun. And if you are not carrying a gun, they are obliged to free you and allow you to board your plane. To continue to detain you without just cause would be false imprisonment. [read more]

Practical Ethics in the News Blog: The Libertarian Argument is the Best Argument Against Immunity Passports, But is it Good Enough? 
By Julian Savulescu and Alberto Giubilini | 1 December 2020
The government has reportedly flirted with the introduction of vaccination passports that would afford greater freedoms to people who have been vaccinated for COVID-19. However, the UK’s Minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Gove, recently announced that vaccination passports are not currently under consideration in the UK. However, the issue may linger and businesses may introduce such requirements. [read more]

Journal of Medical Ethics Blog: How Much Certainty is Enough: Immunity Passports and COVID-19
By Rebecca Brown, Julian Savulescu, Bridget Williams and Dominic Wilkinson | 11 May 2020 
There is significant debate about whether or not ‘immunity passports’ are a viable tool to use in responding to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Much of this has focused on the lack of a sufficiently reliable antibody test, and uncertainty about the immune status of individuals recovered from COVID-19 [read more]

 

The Brussels Times: Tom Douglas (27 February 2021)
There is no fundamental ethical objection to vaccine passports
Should we all be required to produce a ‘vaccine passport’—proving that we have been vaccinated against Covid-19 — before being allowed to enter a cafe, travel abroad, or work in a high-risk job? 

The Daily Mail: cites Dominic Wilkinson (20 February 2021)
Expert warns of ‘fundamental ethical concerns’ over vaccine passports and says they risk ‘creating false sense of security’
However Professor Wilkinson, who also appeared on the programme, believes there is a 'strong ethical case' for exploring the prospect of vaccine passports.

Bloomberg: references Brown R, Kelly D, Wilkinson D, and Savulescu J, Lancet paper on immunity passports, 26 January 2021
Traveler Quarantines Aren’t Going Away Soon 
Covid-19 passports based on vaccinations are problematic. Immunity checks are a promising alternative, but still distant. Until we know more about the virus, expect only tighter restrictions.
References 'The scientific and ethical feasibility of immunity passports' Lancet Infectious Diseases 2020 (subscription required) [preprint freely available in Word];

BBC Explainer: references Brown R, Kelly D, Wilkinson D, and Savulescu J, Lancet paper on immunity passports 25 January 2021
Covid: Can I spread coronavirus after the vaccine and will I get a passport?
References 'The scientific and ethical feasibility of immunity passports' Lancet Infectious Diseases 2020 (subscription required) [preprint freely available in Word];

The Telegraph: Julian Savulescu (22 January 2021)
It is unethical to keep those who have immunity locked down
There are plenty of good reasons for treating those with immunity differently

BBC Turkey: Rebecca Brown, 19 December 2020
Covid aşısı: Aşı sertifikası nedir, aşı olanlara ek haklar sağlanması ayrımcılığa neden olur mu?

i News: Julian Savulescu and Rebecca Brown, 4 December 2020
Covid immunity passports: UK Government gave up on the idea over the summer, but is now looking at them again

The World Today - ABC Radio: Julian Savulescu, 24 November 2020
Qantas reveals 'no jab, no fly' without COVID vaccine for international travellers
The growing optimism over a COVID vaccine, means the potential for Australians to again travel overseas. But that may require more than a ticket, with Qantas revealing getting jabbed will be compulsory for its international travellers before they board a flight.

ABC Radio National Breakfast: Dominic Wilkinson, 7 April 2020
UK and Germany consider issuing immunity passports to ease lockdowns
Expert commentary on immunity passports

Al Jazeera News: Julian Savulescu, 5 April 2020
Can an 'immunity passport' ease coronavirus lockdowns? [2:30 on the clock]
There is one idea out there that is already in the works, with the hope that it may ease worldwide lockdowns.

Al Jazeera Inside Story: Dominic Wilkinson, 5 April 2020
How long does immunity last?
Some countries are considering issuing 'immunity passports' for those who have recovered from the coronavirus. But would that work?

RT UK: Vaccine passports

Alberto Giubilini argues that individual liberties shouldn't take precedent over public health when it comes to the Covid vaccine (23 March 2021).


TRT World​ Roundtable: EU VACCINE PASSPORTS: Will they get off the ground?

Going anywhere this summer? You might need more than one passport if you plan to leave Europe, or if you want to visit the continent from elsewhere. With Alberto Giubilini. (11 March 2021)



BBC World News: Vaccine passports

Interview with Dr Giubilini, discussing vaccination passports (25 February 2021)


Sky News Italy: Passaporto vaccinale, i dubbi del Regno Unito : Alberto Giubilini discusses with vaccination passports on Sky Italy [in Italian] (24 February 2021)


Ada Lovelace Institute: The ethical implications of vaccine passports and COVID status apps

With Dr Alberto Giubilini. The third of Ada's public evidence events on vaccine passports and COVID status apps, in which we explore the ethical questions surrounding them, from the acceptability of discrimination on the basis of immunity status to the question of whether governments can continue to restrict the liberties of those who may no longer pose a risk to others (11 February 2021).