The Oxford University team behind a new report believe uncertainty over how long vaccines confer immunity and how well they stand up against new Covid variants could prompt countries to demand proof of a recent vaccination for overseas travellers.
They believe that, overall, a system of vaccine passports is “feasible” but that a lack of uniform international standards means one should not yet be introduced.
In a report, published on Friday in the Royal Society journal, the scientists said more information is needed on the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines in preventing infection and transmission, as well as duration of the protective immunity they provide, in order to establish how long a passport might be valid.
In recent days, government ministers have indicated that they would co-operate with a system of vaccine passports if it allowed Britons to travel abroad.
However, they have said there are no plans to introduce a domestic regime that could regulate whether people get entry to public spaces such as pubs or cinemas.
Christopher Dye, professor of epidemiology in the Department of Zoology at Oxford and one of the lead authors on the report said: “An effective vaccine passport system that would allow the return to pre-Covid activities, including travel, without compromising personal or public health, must meet a set of demanding criteria – but it is feasible.
“If we thought that the duration of protection was just a matter of months, then the sort of criteria that might be introduced – we’re not saying they should be – is that when one travels internationally for a short trip, going on vacation for example, that one is vaccinated each time on that occasion for that particular trip.”
The researchers stressed that a “broader discussion” was needed about some key aspects of the document, such as the need for legal and ethical standards alongside conversations about data privacy.
Prof Melinda Mills, the director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at Oxford and another lead author, said: “Understanding what a vaccine passport could be used for is a fundamental question – is it literally a passport to allow international travel or could it be used domestically to allow holders greater freedoms? Read Full Article >