Admitting to “uncertainty” over whether or not COVID-19 vaccines prevent transmission of the virus, the World Health Organization says that at the moment it does not recommend implementing so-called “vaccine passports.”
The WHO, through a spokesman Tuesday, also expressed concern about “equity,” noting that some people don’t have access to a vaccine for various reasons.
“We as WHO are saying at this stage we would not like to see the vaccination passport as a requirement for entry or exit because we are not certain at this stage that the vaccine prevents transmission,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said at a U.N. briefing, Reuters reported.
“There are all those other questions, apart from the question of discrimination against the people who are not able to have the vaccine for one reason or another,” she said.
Harris said the WHO plans to review two COVID-19 vaccines developed by China, Sinopharm and Sinovac.
The evaluation for possible emergency could be completed by the end of April, she said, but it’s “not coming as quickly as we had hoped because we need more data.”
The governor argued that vaccine passports would create two classes of people, and his aim is to protect the “rights and privacies” of residents and allow for the free flow of commerce in the state.
Last week, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., told Fox News that the Democrats’ move to require vaccine IDs to conduct “basic daily activities” undercuts their rationale for opposing voter IDs.
The Biden administration reportedly is working on a way to standardize a vaccine ID process, the Washington Post reported. The paper said the administration and private companies, “from cruise lines to sports teams,” could require the passports, which could amount to an app on a smartphone with a scannable code similar to an airline boarding pass.
In an interview March 29, liberal feminist author Naomi Wolf warned a vaccine passport would be “literally the end of human liberty in the West.”
In January, the Financial Times reported Microsoft is part of a coalition of technology and health organizations working on the development of a vaccine passport.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested last August that the vaccine would be mandatory for residents of his country but later backtracked.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top White House coronavirus adviser, said in August he would not support requiring the COVID-19 vaccine nationwide.
“We don’t want to be mandating from the federal government to the general population. It would be unenforceable and not appropriate,” he said.
States, cities and businesses, however, could require vaccination and impose penalties for noncompliance, such as a fine.
In early December, a bill was proposed in the New York State Assembly that would require COVID-19 vaccines for all residents who are able to safely receive it. The move came after the New York State Bar Association recommended the state consider making it mandatory for every resident, except for people exempted by a doctor. In Virginia in August, the health commissioner said the state would mandate the vaccine, but a spokeswoman later said there were no such plans.
The CEO of Australia’s Quantas said in December that proof of vaccination would be a requirement for all international passengers with his airline in the future and others likely would adopt the policy.
However, in a Reuters panel discussion with health experts and tourism authorities on Monday, World Travel and Trade Council CEO Gloria Guevara said she disagreed with “the approach from Qantas.”
“We should never require the vaccination to get a job or to travel,” she said. “If you require the vaccination before travel, that takes us to discrimination.”
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