Ethical Predicament of Mandatory Vaccines Passport for Traveling

A mandatory vaccine passport is an e-vaccination or a vaccine passport that one may require to comply with border crossing regulations. Such a vaccine passport is required before one is allowed to cross the borders seamlessly. The European Union and most of the countries around the world, for instance, Israel, have already developed their set standards. The rollout of vaccines is underway, and most of these vaccines have gone to the developed nations.

Up to date, there has been a fury over the vaccine passports which provides further heated debates and ethical considerations. Some of the states in the United States also create their digital pass, however, others, for instance, Florida and Texas, had already attempted to get rid of such policies and regulations. Thus, there is an afferent desire by everyone to return to normalcy.

A vaccine passport will, hence, reduce public restrictions for those who bear it. For example, most countries, the United States, the European Union, and the British government have already considered its feasibility. Sweden, Denmark, and Australia have also committed to the implementation of such a regulation. In addition, Israel, the large per capita income generator from the rollout of vaccines, has already issued green passes to all its citizens who have received the vaccination (Hall & Studdert, 2021). The main focus of this process is traveling. However, some issued passports regulate access to public gatherings, schools, or even workplaces.

The use of the COVID-19 vaccine passports to limit restrictions has brought about strong opposition. The reason is several weighty concerns. One of them is that the COVID-19 vaccine is limited in supply and can only be received by those lucky enough to have obtained the early access. In addition, even though more vaccines could be availed in the future, the rate of vaccination among the low-income population is most likely to remain low.

Protection of the vaccines, especially against the new strains of the virus, is poorly understood. Potential transmission of the virus by vaccinated individuals has also not been proven or thoroughly researched yet (Hall & Studdert, 2021). The fourth reason for the ethical debates over the issue of the COVID-19 vaccination is that when people privilege those vaccinated over those who have not been vaccinated, will only penalize those people with philosophical or religious objections regarding vaccinations. Finally, society lacks a clear consensus scheme for this vaccination program that can accurately certify vaccination.

Most people are deeply divided on this issue. A study conducted by the national representative panel showed that the COVID-19 vaccination passport was based on the presence or absence of the COVID-19 antibodies (Hall & Studdert, 2021). This was in contrast to most of the other pandemic control schemes, and the division of the views cut across racial, ideological, and social-economic lines. Therefore, the mixed views show that it would be precipitous to adopt the COVID-19 government vaccination policy, which would require the use of vaccine passports.

Access to vaccination is increasingly becoming accessible to disadvantaged groups. However, there is a need to understand better the natural herd immunity and the protection offered by the vaccines from the virus. It, therefore, means that there should be proper measures for the certification and vaccinations. Finally, those who refuse vaccination should bear the consequences for their refusal, especially if it hinders the development of herd immunity.


Hall, A. M., & Studdert, D. M. (2021). “Vaccine passport” certification – policy and ethical consideration. The New England Journal of Medicine, 2, 1–3.

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